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Edison, Thomas Alva

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MatC
151999.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:55 am Reply with quote

In 1891, Edison unveiled the Kinetoscope, one of many rival systems which were around at a time when everyone knew that moving pictures were going to be big, but didn't know quite how.

The Kinetoscope was essentially a “peepshow” system; viewers peered into the camera itself to watch the film.

Edison had purpose-made building set up - the first “sound stage,” some say - which he called the Black Maria, because it looked like the inside of a police van.

His first film was called “Fred Ott’s Sneeze,” which involved an Edison employee called Fred Ott, sneezing comically.

In 1894, the studio came up with another blockbuster: “Boxing Cats.” It was 30 seconds long (very tempting to those of us who find modern pictures interminable). It starred the trained cats of a Vaudeville showman, Henry Welton. He dressed two of his cats in boxing gloves and shorts, and had them stand up on their hind legs and spar with their front paws.

Source: Absolutely impeccable, high-class source this time: a book called “Uncle Johns’ Bathroom Reader: Cat Lover’s Companion” (Portable Press, 2006).

 
MatC
152001.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:56 am Reply with quote

 
Frederick The Monk
152177.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:02 am Reply with quote

have you seen his delightful movie 'The Electrocution of Topsy the Elephant'? Stills from it here.

 
eggshaped
152178.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:03 am Reply with quote

picture researchers

 
MatC
152221.  Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:29 am Reply with quote

Yes, I'd forgotten that was him as well! Topsy was executed for manslaughter, wasn't she? So if we had a question about Topsy under Elephants or Electricity or Executions, we could then as a supplementary show a picture of the boxing cats and ask "What had these poor bastards been charged with?"

 
Frederick The Monk
152861.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 4:26 am Reply with quote

Yup - Topsy was the Elephant that Went Bad, having killed three people at the Coney Island Zoo. Originally they were going to hang her but the SPCA thought that was a bit nasty (not to mention quite an engineering feat). At this point Edison stepped in and poor old Topsy became embroiled, and indeed emboiled, in the War of the Currents. She was first fed cyanide laced carrots to calm her down (I find they help) and then 6,600 volts were put through her via copper-lined wooden sandals.

According to the Commercial Advertiser of New York which covered the public event "The big beast died without a trumpet or a groan.”

The footage that Edison shot of the execution is a little more disturbing however and Topsy doesn't look to be having a great time to me. One should never have to witness an elephant 'riding the lightning'.

 
Frederick The Monk
152871.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 5:19 am Reply with quote

Picture researchers:

The footage of Topsy 'riding the lightning' can be found here

and even on YouTube here

It's IMDb entry is here.

 
Molly Cule
153220.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:45 am Reply with quote

Here are some of the less intuitive things that Edison said

"The talking motion picture will not supplant the regular silent motion picture. . . . There is such a tremendous investment in pantomime pictures that it would be absurd to disturb it." (Munsey's Magazine, March 1913.)

"It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago was thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere." (New York World, November 17, 1895.)

"The radio craze . . . will die out in time so far as music is concerned. But it may continue for business purposes." (Quoted by Conot in his biography of Edison, page 424.)

"Sammy, they will never try to steal the phonograph. It is not of any commercial value." (Edison to Sam Insull, an assistant, as quoted by Conot, page 245.)

"In fifteen years, more electricity will be sold for electric vehicles than for light." (Quoted in Science Digest, February 1982.)

from The Experts Speak (1984), by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.

 
Frederick The Monk
153228.  Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:27 am Reply with quote

Molly Cule wrote:
Here are some of the less intuitive things that Edison said
.........

"In fifteen years, more electricity will be sold for electric vehicles than for light." (Quoted in Science Digest, February 1982.)

from The Experts Speak (1984), by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.


So if Edison had been right we'd have lower sea levels, better skiing and, best of all, we'd all go to work on milk floats.

 

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