Thomas Alva Edison was a prolific inventor.
In his lifetime he held over 1,000 patents in his name. He is most famous for inventing the practical incandescent light bulb. His many inventions included the phonograph for sound recording, a mechanical vote counter, the motion picture camera and a system of electric-power generation and distribution. He is credited with the creation of the first modern research laboratory. His work and ideas have had an enormous impact on the way we live and communicate today.
When he demonstrated his light bulb on 31 December, 1879, he said “we will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles”. Edison was right about candles. Today we spend millions each year on scented candles. In the UK, the market is worth an £90 million, according to research company Kantar. However residential electricity prices are still not cheap. They have actually increased year on year. Consumer NZ report that, “Since 2002, average residential electricity prices have risen by 4.7 percent a year in “real” terms (over and above the general rate of inflation)”.
Nearly 100 years ago,Thomas Edison promoted the idea of solar as a renewable source of power. In 1931 he told Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone “we are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy – sun, wind and tide.”
He is also quoted as saying “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
As the cost of solar comes down and the technology and software supporting it becomes more sophisticated, it is time we started powering our lightbulbs using sustainable energy from the sun’s inexhaustible power. And not wait for peak oil.
We remember this great inventor, born 170 years ago today. To find out more how solar can help you, click here.