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  Nevertheless,disregarding the 'worry hunters'' the Pearl Strret Central Station was started on September 4,1882,and the Edison system and underground conductors service for decades.  Another somewhat similar incident of a different character happened at the corner of Nassau and Ann streets.As is known,Edison placed cast-iron junction boxes at the intersection of the streets,in connection with his underground conductors.Late one night when he was still at the station,a policeman came running in and in an excited voice said that the iron box at the above-mentioned corner had exploded.Edison and one of the 'boys' went there to see what had happened.He found that the cover on the manhole,which weighed about a couple of hundred pounds,had vanished,but everything inside the manhole was in good order.Edison concluded that gas from a gas main might have got into the manhole, or it might have been the acid used in picking the casting that gave off hydrogen that mixed with the air leaking in to make the explosive mixture.   The incident worried him;there were many such manhole boxes in the system,and if one should explode in a crowded street and life a few oersons into the air the company might be compelled to pay damages.Edison got his thinker in action and soon solved the problem.He placed a little bottle of chloroform with a small hole in the cork each box.The chroloform evaporated and, being heavy,settled in the box,displacing the air that may have got in.Edison said afterward that he had never heard of an explotion in a box that had a bottle of chloroform in it.


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  • ddeana
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こうしたことにもかかわらず、「心配ごとを探し回る奴ら」を無視して、パール通りの中央発電所は1882年9月4日に運転を開始し、エジソンの送電網と地中ケーブルは何十年もサービスを提供している。  もうひとつの、別の性質によるやや似たような事件が、ナッソーとアン通りの角で起こった。知られているように、エジソンは各通りの交差点に地中ケーブルに関連する鋳鉄の接合蓋を設置していた。ある晩遅く、彼がまだ発電所にいた時、一人の警察官が走りこんできて、先に述べた角で、鉄の蓋が爆発したと興奮した声で言った。エジソンと「小僧たち」の一人がなにが起きたのか見るためにそこへ行った。彼は何百ポンドもある数個のマンホールのカバーが消えてなくなってはいたが、マンホールの中のものはすべて正常な状態であることをみつけた。エジソンはガス本管からのガスがマンホールの中にたまったか、酸が、爆発性混合物を作る漏れて入った空気と混ざった水素が発する役割のものを拾い上げたのかもしれないと結論づけた(※1)。  この出来事は彼を不安にさせた。なぜなら送電網には多くのそうしたマンホール蓋があり、もし交通量の多い道路でひとつが爆発し数名の人が空中に飛んだら、会社は損害賠償を支払うことを余議なくさせられるかもしれないからだ。エジソンは考えを行動に移し、まもなくその問題を解決した。彼はコルク製のふたの小さな穴に、小さなクロロホルムの瓶を設置した。クロロホルムは蒸発して重くなり、蓋の中に沈殿し中に入っているかもしれない空気を移動させる。エジソンはそれ以後、クロロホルムの瓶を入れた蓋の爆発というのは聞いたことがないと言っていた。 ※1:acid & hydrogen 酸と水素が結合して、酸水素ガスができると高圧で爆発することがあります。





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    Maxim didn't run to New York and give his opinion to a newspaper,but went to his laboratory and began trying to make a lamp after Edison's ideas.He had no success,however,and after a few weeks sent to Menlo Park an emissary who got in touch with Boehm.It was also said that the agent approached another of our men.The deportment of Boehm changed perceptibly and soon begame suspicious. Hw was changing his allegiance to that of Maxim.In fact,he soon departed Menlo Park and entered that electrician's employ.This as far I am aware was the only defection that ever occured at our laboratory in those early days.In a few months Boehm managed to place the Maxim laboratory incondition so that it was able to produce some incandescent lamps that had their light-giving element made of paper.While at Menlo Park Boehm had had the oppotunity of watching all the various processes by which Edison made a practical lamp,and that acquired knowledge he imparted to Maxim.With the compensation he received,he was enabled to return to Germany and study.After receiving the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Freiburg in 1886,he returned to America.

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    'Then he showed me the lamps burning in the shop.He said they were obliged to keep them burning eight months before they could do anything. 'We then went into the glss-blowing department,a separate building,out back. Two men were at work there.Edison had enlarged the bulb of his lamp about 33 per cent and they were at work blowing them,and parts of these vacuum pumps. Edison is working a vacumm pump of glass entirely .They were putting some of the carbon horseshoe into the lamps.There was only one man at work putting the carbon in(Batchelor). 'From there I went into a photo-lithographic concern that Edison has just got up,and they were at work pictures.There was one picture of Edison surrounded bu about thirty-five of his workmen taken by this process;and they had a man at work with chemicals,etc.Every now and then my conductor would point out a lamp with remark,''How nice that is burning!''ect.Then he would turn a little screw to turn the light off or on.He couldn't regurate it intermediately.It was eighter all off or all on.I asked him if they could regurate to any intermediate point and he said they couldn't.''These horseshoe burn very well,''he said. '''Some of them burn on an average about 800 hours continuously.''My conductor then took me where the dynamo machines were working and showed me the engine which he said was 80HP-150,I should think,judging from the size of it.He said they had a hundred lamps burning,but I am positive there weren't over 50,even if as many as that,everywhere,in the shop and out of it;and to run them he had 3 dynamo machines worked by this engine,those big upright machines of Edison's,that my conductor said had a capacity of 50 lightseach

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    The operative then sums up by saying that Edison seemed dissatisfied and looked as if he had been sick.He thought Edison was all right but was a tool for his bankers,who wanted to make money out of the company. That there was great excitement and speculation in the district about Wall Street at the time,the following clipping(one out of many)proves:THE EDISON BOOM.HOW LONG,HOWLONG!!(under the above heading,The New York World in one of its early issues of January,1880,runs the following comment): Kirkland&Milliken,of 47 Williams Street,reported yesterday that speculators are anxious to trade in Edison Electric Light Company stock,and that investors are picking up five and ten share lots.Mr.Laportas,of the firm,said to a World reporter that two shares were sold vesterdav at $3,500 each,but that lots of ten shares, which are more desirable,are in strong demand and are worth $5,000to $5,000 a share.Our of the largest shareholders,who was offered $700,000 last week for 200 shares,was bid $800,000 cash last night,and says that he won't sell under $1,000,000.

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    I have never been able to find out who the parties were that employed this detective agency.If I may venture a guess,those interested in gas had something to do with it.It all shows the pitfalls that are laid for an inventor when paramount interests are at stake. It is thus no wonder that G.P.Lowrey counseled prudence in showing people round and at the same time took precautions without Edison's knowledge for the company's sake.Yes,Lowrey was ever on the watch,and as we approached the busy termination of work atMenlo Park,the Edison Electric Light Company knew perfectly well which men at the Park were loyal and which were not,even before Edison had any idea of it.It was one these gum-shoed gentleman whose report on Boehm caused the latter to leave Menlo Park with lightning rapidly.I remember one of this company's shadowers well;his name was Russell.He once got into a jam and was beaten so severely that he had to cover his whole back with a large porous plaster;his nickname after that was 'Porous-plaster Jim'.

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    You may see the 'corpse revier'in the Edison laboratory at Dearborn.Even Edison when visiting his friend Henry Ford in 1929 smiled at sight of it.'There is nothing missing here,'said he.When the 'corpse revier'is operated before ladies that visit the laboratory,occasionaly one inquires where such a machine could be obtained,while their husbands look sheepishly on Without blinking. Visitors were many at that period and they came from all parts of the world. Edison was often annoyed by by the constant interruptions to his work when he had to do the honors by showing personages round.The callers were rated by their consequence and accordingly either Edison,Upton,Batchelor,or one else wes assigned them.In mentioning these visitors I must explain that were the extra and special ones not included in the crowds that came every evening to see the exhibition.

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    Here I mention another visitor,well known at that time,who appeared at the laboratory one day.His name was Hiram S.Maxim.He had made an arc lamp and generator which he exploited and which was known as the Maxim arc light system. He,too as I already mentioned,dabbled about wity an incandescent lamp idea in 1878 and like others had no success.His lamp was of very low resistance and possessed many other defects-it was simply an abandoned experiment of no practical value. Maxim was very much interested in what Edison showed him and the two spent almost a day together.Edison explained to him how the paper filaments were made and carbonized and all about the glass-blowing part.In fact,Maxim spent nearly two hours with Edison in the glass house where Boehm,Holzer and Hipple were working.He,too,like the 'celebrated electrician of Cleveland' took leave with the most touching cordiality.

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      Many things came to pass,and it was only Edison who could and had to ferret them out.It seemed that destiny hinted to him that he now had his system working on which he had labored some years,but it would have to pass through the infant period during which so many changes take place.   Edison was everywhere,for his occupations were multifarious;and all looked to him for advice when anything went wrong.The memorable day when the Pearl Street Central Station was started in regular operation happened to be September 4,1882.On that day John W.Lieb,the electrician of the station,was deputized by Edison to close the main switch,thereby permitting the current to flow into the underground conductors,and thus to start the regular operation of this novel enterprise.This act required that Lieb stand on his tiptoes,and finding that the catch of the switch didn't work properly,he had to hang on to its handle untill William D.MacQuesten,Lieb's assistant at the time,brought a bench and pushed the catch into the pawl that locked and held it.

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    I have given all these details in order to show what privileges and protection an inventor enjoys when,like Edison,he conducts organized research for a strong company.He has everything at his disposal and can devote himself,without worry, his work.If he is successful,he gets his liberal share and has no expence.Edison had stuck to the stocks received from the Edison companies for his work he would, no doubt,have been the largest sharer in electric lighting interests in the country. But Edison wasn't after money solely.No! He considered it a means of exchange and in that spirit turned it into new activities,new endeavors and new lines of experiment.It was important that he should do so:otherwise history might have had a different course.He didn't wait in leisurely luxury until his electric light shares should grow fat with returns,but from the start took all the money he could raise to his place his great achievements upon a solid commercial foundation under his personal supervision.That was necessary considering the epoch.With him it was push,push,and push again,and with the help of loyal servants the gigantic results of his Menlo Park labors were soon safely set on a manufacturing foundation;in a few years they were fortitled to an impregnable strength.Then the time arrived for others to carry his work of expansion further-this,however,only after a decennium,In 1892 the General Electric Company took up his program of expansion and has been developing it ever since.

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    One day while making such a test, I made a very interesting discovery,described as follows in the words of Wilson S.Howell: 'Mr,Edison's judgement and prevision were generally so excellent,so accurate,that a miss was rather disturbing to him. After he had carefully thought out a plan,he wasn't always meekly patient if the test or demonstration upset his calcurations. He wouldn't hesitate to question a test and request its repitation,carefully going over the methods and conditions of the tests to find a flaw or error which would upset the conclusions. 'Mr.Jehl was asked one day to make a test for Mr.Edison, the results of which were very disappointing.The test was repeated but still the figures were nor pleasing.Each step in the test was questioned and carefully gone over by the great inventor, but its accuracy couldn't be shaken.As a last resort, Mr.Edison asked Mr,Jehl if he had made any allowance for the friction against the air of the light beam from the mirror of the Thomson Reflecting Galvanometer used in the tests. Jehl acknowledged he hadn't but would calculate it at once if Mr.Edison would give him the constant.' In such cases,when Edison joked he gave a broad smile, put his left hand behind his neck,scratched his right ear and marched away.

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    Maxim,having thus studied Edison's ideas,announced in the Scientific American of October 23,1880,his new lamp,which in reality was but a bad imitation of the Edison paper lamp Instead of making a carbon in the shape of a horseshoe,Maxim made his at first in the form of a Maltese cross and later in the form of an M. His company,the United States Electric Light Company,made several installations during its struggling existence,and then passed away, as did also Maxim the electrician-through Maxim the gun maker survived in England where he found it more congenial to live than in America.The trouble with most of the early imitators of Edison's ideas was that they had no system,while Edison had worked out a fundamental one which embraced all the necessary accessories and of which the lamp was but one of principal parts. In those days spies were plentiful;it appeared that there existed a regular inaugurated system of espionage for years.Later we obtained conclusive evidence of the existence of printed confidential reports from private operators-of which I hope soon to tell you more.