Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Edison and the light bulb

Further on Edison and the light bulb, Mike Madison wrote the following:

Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb. But he perfected and (most important) commercialized it. Ditto for Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. Isaac Newton is famous for saying, "If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants," but Newton, too, was a borrower, if not a plagiarist. The idea behind that quotation, if not the text itself, has been traced to Bernard of Chartres, who died in the 12th century. If everyone is held only to their "own" ideas, we would never get anywhere -- culturally, economically, and politically. Everyone borrows. One of the most famous borrowers of all? Pittsburgher Andy Warhol, who copied the Campbell's soup can label lock, stock, and barrel and didn't ask for permission or (originally) pay any royalties.

Edison is credited with inventing a light bulb based on a filament of high resistance/low area. The aspect that allowed commercialization, the use of carbonized bamboo, was not even disclosed in the patent that issued in 1880.

See for example Getting the Patent Reform Wars on Track.

The Alexander Graham Bell story is different from that of Edison. By the way, Edison made notable contributions as to the telephone. Of plagiarism and Newton, contemplate issues between Newton and Leibnez over calculus.


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