5 Unknown Inventions from Thomas Edison that Changed the World

May 16, 2016

Thomas Edison is one of the most famous inventors in the history of the known world, and you probably are familiar with many of his inventions like the light bulb or the modern electric power system, but there’s a lot more he did that you may not know about. Edison accumulated a total of 1,093 patents throughout his entire life, from good to bad, but his work could be considered essential to the modern way of life. We have put together some of his most unknown, yet important inventions, check them out!

Electrographic Vote Recorder

voting machine edison[Image Source: Wikimedia]

The vote recorder was actually Edison’s first patent, and he came up with the device after working with the U.S. Government trying to find a better way to record votes in elections. The device was primitive, but it provided a level of security beyond paper ballots. The device would have been placed in front of a clerk, who would select the candidate, and the user would select yes or no based upon how they wanted to vote. Yes and no wheels would keep track of how many votes were cast for each.

Pneumatic Stencil Pen

electric tattoo gun[Image Source: Wikimedia]

Tattoo guns can be attributed to Edison, as he patented the world’s first electric stencil gun in 1876. The electric stencil gun would have been used strictly for paper copying at the time, and this device was also the first predecessor to the modern day copy machine. An ink tipped needle would move up and down, perforating the paper being copied and mark the sheet below. The first tattoo machine was patented just a few years later, and it was believed to be based on this design by Edison.

Alkaline Vehicle Battery

car batteries[Image Source: Wikimedia]

Being the forward thinker that he was, Edison foresaw that cars would one day be powered by electricity, so he set out to develop an effective storage mechanism for portable power. As gasoline became more abundant in the early 20th century, Edison gave up on refining this technology, but his work didn’t go without result. His development of alkaline storage batteries soon became his most profitable invention, even if they weren’t used to power electric cars like he originally thought.

Fruit Preservation

Fruit preservation[Image Source: Wikimedia]

Edison received a patent for what was essentially the first vacuum sealing device for fruits and other perishables. The fruit would be placed inside of a glass container, then the air would be pumped out, and the opening capped off with a glass plug. This proved to be one of the best methods of food preservation at the time, and vacuum sealing is still used today.

Electric Power Meter

Edison power meter[Image Source: Wikimedia]

Edison is considered the father of electricity by many, and after inventing the modern power distribution system, he saw the need for a way to measure electricity usage. This device would work by transferring zinc solution between two electrolytic cells at a constant rate. A meter reader would come around, weigh out the amount of zinc transferred, and charge the customer accordingly. So you have Edison to thank for that bill you get every month.

SEE ALSO: 10 of the Most Interesting Failed Inventions from the Past

Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

We'll keep you posted!

Comments