Last year I almost electrocuted myself by grabbing some exposed wires on a lamp I had forgotten I’d just plugged in a minute before. Luckily I escaped with just a tingling hand and a bruised sense of immortality, but the incident forced me to stop and reflect on the immense power of electricity. Be Electrific Day is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Thomas Edison, in order to pay homage to his electrical inventions and explore our own “body electricity.”
Chris and I would have loved to visit Electricity Hall in the National Museum of American History to celebrate today’s unofficial. But due to our work schedules and my lingering cough, we opted instead to view the museum’s online exhibit, Lighting a Revolution, which compares Thomas Edison’s light bulb with his competitors and today’s modern bulb. The exhibit made for an interesting read and I have to admit that I was taken aback by how little I knew about the famous inventor and the history of the light bulb. If you had asked me I would probably have dated the first commercially successful bulb closer to the turn of the century, instead of a full 100 years before my birth. I also was ignorant of the fact that Edison held over 1000 patents and was even voted the most important person of the past 1000 years by Time-Life, or that he founded General Electric. I think I need to brush up on my history! Of course the antique lover in me really enjoyed the marketing section of the exhibit, which showed eighteen lighting-related ink blotters that were created as marketing materials for early light bulb makers.
All the reading about light bulbs inspired me to change a burned out bulb that has been bugging me for awhile. When I was through with that chore, Chris blew up a balloon and we rubbed it on our heads to create our own static electricity. I think we’re on the verge of coming up with some fabulous new hair-do. Now we’re just taking bets on which dog will pop the balloon first.
Check back tomorrow as we celebrate another man who changed science forever, on Darwin Day!