Friday, October 22, 2010


My favorite inventor is Thomas Edison. He invented the machine that brought us The Beatles, Caruso, Paul Whiteman, Rhapsody in Blue, and so many other countless phonograph moments.

But yesterday was the anniversary of a different invention - the invention of the electric incandescent light bulb. On October 21, 1879, Thomas Edison invented the first long-lasting GE electric light bulb. Coincidentally, it was also the first time a woman was heard to say "TURN OFF THAT LIGHT AND COME TO BED!"

Before Edison's time, every time someone had a brilliant idea, they'd have to watch out for the wax. In colonial times, at a time when the Forefathers were coming up with the Federalist Papers, the Articles of Confederation, The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and endlessly on - a copious cascade of great ideas. And, because there were no light bulbs, each and every time someone had a good idea, a candle would light up over their head. So spoiled are we with our light bulbs, we can't imagine.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison -- same deal. Every time one of the Founding Fathers came up with a great idea, there would be that candle. (And there was also a time crunch -- they all died in their forties back then, so there wasn't that much time to work with). It had to be hard on the old noggin - the slightest bit of jostling, and a darn candle is going to burn you with melted wax for sure right in the middle of your epiphany.

But, our Founding Fathers were not deterred. They devised hairpieces made of white asbestos, and with these, they could come up with all the ideas they wanted, and not worry about the dripping wax from the candles over their heads. One guy would say, "Hey, let's hold a few truths to be self-evident" -- and that was enough to send them all scrambling for the wigs.

All the Founding Fathers wore this protective headgear, as you can see from the actual photograph above. All, that is, except for Ben. Oh, no, the protective wigs were not for him - he was a daredevil! And we all know what happened to him - The Old Brazilian Pate-Wax!

Life Liberty and the Perfuit of Happineff!

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