Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Day With Edison

Fort Meyers, Florida
26 39.09 N  081 52.49 W

Mission accomplished!  Libby and I both spent the day at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates.  It was great fun.  We're glad we did it, and sorry that we missed it before.

It was especially meaningful for me, because I'm a disciple of Thomas Edison.  You see, Edison hired Nikola Tesla to invent electric dynamos for him.  Tesla said that Edison offered to pay him a $50,000 bonus for key patents.  When the patents were won, Tesla went to collect his bonus but Edison reneged.  An angry  Tesla stormed out, and later worked with George Westinghouse to pioneer AC electric power.  After a long struggle, AC beat DC.   Edison and his GE company were forced to switch to DC to meet the competition.   Edison hired Steinmetz to be his chief engineer in Schenectady.  Steinmetz was the first to understand and document the mathematical basis of AC power.  After that, engineers could analyze designs analytically.  From  Steinmetz  , to R H Park, to C Concordia, to G Kron, to FP deMello, the tradition of analytical engineers continued in Building 2 of the Schenectady Works. From 1900 until the 1970s, those guys in Schenectady produced more than 50% of the whole world's patents. It was the Mecca of engineering. In 1966, I started in the Schenectady Works in Building 2, under FP deMello.  I took the desk of Gabriel Kron who retired the day I started, and I learned from Concordia.  I was a very privileged young engineer.

Below is a slide show of today's expedition.

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