Thomas Edison is one of the most famous inventors in history. He had over 1,000 patents and countless inventions.
Many of his inventions changed the world. But how different would our world look if he never existed?
Would we still be living in the dark? Would we have the radio? And would we have Star Wars?
Yeah, we know. Thomas Edison wasn’t the sole inventor of the lightbulb. Some people would say he stole it from other inventors like Nikola Tesla or Joseph Swan.
Many of Thomas Edison’s biggest breakthroughs were creations that other inventors may have been striving towards around the same time. Multiple Discovery is a hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions — like the lightbulb — are made independently, and around the same time frame by multiple scientists and inventors.
That is to say, if it weren’t for Edison, many of his inventions probably would have been invented anyway. But what if they weren’t?
Remember when we said Edison owned over a thousand patents? Yeah, this guy kept busy, inventing tons of different things. Some incredibly useful and others… not so much.
Edison even invented a version of the telephone. If it weren’t for Alexander Graham Bell, we’d be saying “Ahoy” as we answer the phone, instead of “Hello.” That’s because Edison thought that’s how we should address people when we pick up the phone.
We’re most familiar with Edison as the inventor of the light bulbs we use today. Now, what if we didn’t have those? Without them we’d pro,bably be hundreds if not thousands of years behind compared to where we are today.
They allowed us to see at night easily. Compared to all the technology we have now this might not sound all that special but it’s one of the most important inventions of all time.
Having a convenient light source changed peoples lives. Gone were the days of not being able to go out at night.
This vastly changed nearly every industry. Restaurants, cafes and even offices. With a convenient light source, people were able to work longer which led to even more technological innovation. It’s safe to say that without light bulbs we wouldn’t have our smartphones, 4k TVs or even our cars.
The phonograph was another Edison invention. It allowed people to record their voices and play them back.
Eventually, this was used to record and playback music. Over time a smaller version was invented, and soldiers took the phonograph to war, almost like an old-school boombox.
Without this invention, we wouldn’t hear much music on the radio. There would have been no record players, walkmans or eventually I-Pods. Would Michael Jackson, as we knew him, have even existed?
Thomas Edison invented the alkaline battery. Throughout history, alkaline batteries have been in nearly every wireless device, from flashlights to Xbox controllers to computer mice.
The world would look vastly different without these devices in our life. Most of the toys you played with as a child may not have existed without alkaline batteries.
Now, as we said, Edison is considered the father of a lot of these things, but taking Multiple Discovery into consideration, it’s safe to say that without him the world would look pretty similar to how it does today.
But one thing that would look completely different without Edison is Hollywood. Edison’s lab invented one of the very first movie cameras, and in 1893, Edison invented the very first movie production studio known as the Black Maria.
Short films were made here featuring vaudeville performances, magic tricks, and even the world’s first cat video.
With several patents involving filmmaking, Edison would sue any other filmmaker he saw as a threat.
Other film studios created camera technology of their own to avoid being sued. Edison decided to join forces with them and established the Motion Picture Patents Company.
Filmmakers had to pay the company to make films, and even then, they were saddled with tons of restrictions. Sick of Edison’s rules; artists decided to pack up shop and move to a little agricultural town known as Hollywood.
A perfect spot for rogue filmmakers. The land was cheap, the weather was great, and most importantly, California lawyers didn’t take Edison’s patents as seriously as they did on the east coast.
Hollywood was born. Feature films were made, then television shows. What if it never existed? No Citizen Kane? No Star Wars? No Avatar? The television would still be invented, but would there have been any good shows to watch?
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