The Edison Seminar

Rod Decker (
Fri, 24 May 1996 14:45:44 -0500

>Nearly 2,000 years ago, there was a fellow named Thomas Edison. We've
>decided to review the many texts about him to discover the "historical
>Edison." Our conclusions:
>1. Edison couldn't have been a close personal friend of Henry Ford. It's
>far too unlikely that two men of such stature would have known each
>other. It's a common literary tradition to link great figures who in
>reality never met. This friendship was a literary creation of Edison's
>2. Edison obviously didn't have hundreds of inventions and patents. He
>probably had one or two good inventions, and it then became a literary
>tradition to ascribe good inventions to him. Edison's followers obviously
>encouraged this, because it increased their power base.
>3. Edison was not "hard of hearing" or "deaf." This is a melo-dramatic
>touch added by a later redactor or editor of the Edison story. The irony
>is too great, that a deaf man invented the modern phonograph record. This
>is clearly a literary touch added at a later date to increase the
>dramatic effect of Edison's inventiveness.
>4. Having established that Edison was not deaf, it is clear that the
>story about how he lost his hearing (being thrown from a moving train) is
>also a pure fiction. This must have been added at a very late date by the
>last generation of redactors/editors.