Another side of Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, possibly the greatest inventor of all time. Picture from Wikipedia

Thomas Edison, possibly the greatest inventor of all time. Picture from Wikipedia

What does one leave behind after death? Well, there are grieving family and friends. Occasionally there is a small amount of money. Very occasionally there is a body of work that has influenced society or history. And very, very occasionally there is a precious seed – a quotation that seems wise or prescient.

Thomas Alva Edison left all of the above, but there is one quotation in particular to which I would like to draw your attention.

We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

Wikiquote attributes this to a conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone (1931).

There are many other fine quotations to be found from Thomas Edison, but this one surprised me. I had imagined that this kind of conception was essentially a modern concern, from the latter half of the 20th Century. That his mind should have been so directed nearly 100 years ago impresses me enormously.

We could do with someone of his ilk today. In his own words:

I find out what the world needs. Then, I go ahead and invent it.

Thomas Alva Edison: we need you now!

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One Response to “Another side of Thomas Edison”

  1. Solar Installer Boston Says:

    An awesome, powerful quote by the father of electricity. This country could learn a thing or two of the sophisticated beliefs of this man that gave us the start of it all, but instead humanity is racing around in mustangs and using our fossil fuels to power hot tubs and such.

    -Sharone Tal

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