Lienhard 4: Genius

Note on short lived technologies (or not): Amazon is now offering Alexa eyeglasses, though with audio only, not video

how the modern era was different
where did those new ideas come from?
Braque Woman with a Guitar (1913)
tradition became weaker
what caused the change?
what caused peoples' view of the world to change at the beginning of the modern era?
How did the people at the time understand that? (historians try to understand how things looked at the time, not just use a present perspective)

Romantic discontent:

Thomas Edison

Edison was a genius hero, but he still did many things in old ways, though he is a part of the transition
consider particularly the role of science


Edison's vote recording machine
vote recording machine, Henry Ford Museum, PEM photo
Thomas Edison contemplating a machine
 Thomas Edison
Finally he decided that the big problem to solve was electric light--made a big announcement in 1878
  Edison's first light bulb
Edison's light bulb
a row of electrical generators
 Generators at Pearl Street Station
Competition popped up very quickly electric chair story :
a man blindfolded and strapped in a chair
 Artist's rendering of Kemmler's execution
Edison went on to work on motion pictures, an ore separator, synthetic rubber, and concrete houses .
Edison's special talents:
 PEM photo, Henry Ford Museum
statue of liberty holding up light

Nikola Tesla

A contemporary, Joseph Henry, said that "Nikola Tesla was possibly the greatest inventor the world has ever known."  On the other hand, his interest was in "the elegant but abstract concepts associated with invention," not solving practical problems.

Early life:

  Tesla as a young man
Nikola Tesla Inventing a better electric motor: In the US:
Tesla with some of his inventions
 Tesla inventions
  Telsa's AC motor
diagram of Tesla's motor
Development of the electric motor at Westinghouse: On to the Tesla Coil:
artificial lightening
 Tesla in Colorodo
bulky radio tower behind building
 Tesla's Long Island Station
Tesla became isolated and embittered:


Einstein's theories:
Relativity, by Escher
relativity, by M.C. Escher

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
HIST 1220
last updated 9/27/19