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The Age of Edison

Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America

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A sweeping history of the electric light revolution and the birth of modern America
The late nineteenth century was a period of explosive technological creativity, but more than any other invention, Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb marked the arrival of modernity, transforming its inventor into a mythic figure and avatar of an era. In The Age of Edison, award-winning author and historian Ernest Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it and capturing the wonder Edison’s invention inspired. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility in which the greater forces of progress and change are made by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 17, 2012 – In his illuminating newest, Freeberg, a professor of humanities at the University of Tennessee, examines the social, technological, and political context surrounding the development of the electric light bulb and its transformative effects on American society. Though numerous early thinkers and innovators drove the technology to fruition, Freeberg (Democracy s Prisoner) demonstrates that it was Thomas Edison who, by founding the Edison Electric Light Company, established a modern industrial approach that synthesized scientific collaboration, entrepreneurship, and salesmanship in the development of a complete lighting system that could power an incandescent bulb of superior design. In effect, he democratized light. The excitement spread quickly, but Americans were torn: some celebrated while others reviled the undeniable ways in which their work and leisure life would be dramatically changed. Though most saw this innovation as a sign of human advancement and enlightenment, electric lighting was criticized by gas companies (for obvious reasons), labor groups, and cultural figures that saw in the ubiquity of illumination a frightful, unnatural way of life. Even though he would live to see his own innovations and patents made exponentially more productive and efficient, the Wizard of Menlo Park came to embody a vanishing heroic age of invention that laid the foundation of modern America. Illus.
The Age of Edison
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  • $4.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Engineering
  • Published: Feb 21, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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