My note book is so full of observations made during a recent visit to Edison’s laboratory, that I feel on looking it over as if I had struick an intellectual gold mine. The genius of Menlo Park is so exuberant, and his frankness we may say nazvete-so unbounded, that we came into possession of many facts which we might almost commit a breach of confidence in exposing. I found him reserved, however, when the conversation was turned to the subject of the arc electric light, and avoiding criticism of the operations and machines of those inventors who have devoted themselves to its improvement and utilization. But he made quite merry over the opinions expressed to him by many of the sight seers who swarm to the laboratory. “‘Would you believe it possible,” said Mr. Edison, ” that in spite of the general and interesting descriptions I have seen in various publications of this and other countries, few of the visitors really know what they come to see when they ask to be shown the electric light? Many are disappointed, because we do not have a kind of inland light house with a 300 or 400 candle-power light in each pane of glass in the buildings.Order now
Others think it a ‘poor show’ when they examine an in- candescent thread of 14 to 16 candle-power in bright sunlight.” There was one suggestion thrown off by him, while conversing about the arc electric light, which I think should not be suffered to remai nundeveloped; Mr. Edisoni is so devoted to ‘ his liglht ‘ that he only has time to give an occasional thought in the other direction, and his power of concentration prevents the dispersion of his genius through a different medium.
So I repeat, I do not think I am committing any breach of confidence in describing a sketch which grew up under my eye, drawn by his rapid and luminous pencil; for Edison possesses that peculiar quality of pictorial illustration which we have never seen, except in the sketches of that inventorartist, the great Leonardo da Vinci. ” Our dynamo-machines,” said he, “‘ as we now build them, are especially constructed for the purpose of furnishing current for the incandescent lamp; but they are, of course, as easily adapted to the arc light as to other purposes. You see our lamp factory and electric railroad are run bv them. A very simple addition to a machine would allow of its use in illumination where the production of reverse currents is necessary.
Imagine the wire of a Gramme helix cut half way through the solenoid, the four ends joined two and two to a commutating wheel, and pairs of conductors leading to an arc light, say Jablochkoff’s candles. Now, by intermittently joining the ends of the separated helices, by an appropriate arrangement on the ordinary commutator blocks, you will be able to use your main current for the small incandescent lamps, and the surplus for the arc lamp; thus supplying continuous and reverse currents from the same machine.” I hope this chance scintilla from the mind of the great inventor will be allowed to sink through the pages of my note book into your columns, without any violation of the proprieties. If it incite Mr. Edison, en revanche, to a development of the idea, we will bear the brunt of a, perhaps, just resentment.