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September 14th, 2010
08:26 AM ET

THE BIG I: An Inventor's Paradise

Today's Big I is about an inventor's paradise in California.  TechShop is a do-it-yourself-type workshop.

To read up on the workshop, click here.

To link up to TechShop directly, click here.

And to see the video of the actual segment we did on CNN, click here.

Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • The Big I
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Gene D. Clifton

    You just gave credit to Edison for inventing the lightbulb, when in fact, he did not. The first lightbulb was actually invented in 1802, 77 years before Edison's version, by Sir Humphyr Davy (an English chemist). Davy never pursued any practical use for his invention, and the world stayed dependent on candle power and oil lamps for many more decades. In 1845, J.W. Starr (an American) developed a lightbulb using a vacuum bulb and a carbon filament, very similar to Edison's later design. When Starr died at the age of 25, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (an Englishman) continued work on Starr's design. The problem he was facing was that the filament would burn for only a short time, making the lightbulb impractical for any real use. In 1877, Thomas Edison looked for a filament that could stay illuminated for a longer period of time. He finally found one, a carbonized cotton thread. Joseph Swan had discovered using a carbonized piece of cotton also, 10 months earlier than Edison. Swan filed a patent infringement suit against Edison and won. Edison, being the smart man that he was, made Swan a partner in his lighting company, and eventually bought him out. He may have marketed the lightbulb better than the others....but he definitely did NOT invent it!

    September 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  2. Producer

    Thanks for the heads up, Gene.

    September 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  3. Pappy

    This is really a seorius issue, more seorius than just the idea of a light bulb ... it is the issue of whether the government should have the right to make any arbitrary thing illegal? The traditional light bulb is very safe. It's made of glass, a little metal, tungsten for the filament and some argon gas (one of the principle constituents of the atmosphere, 3rd most abundant). Instead we have to have florescent bulbs which have mercury vapor in them as well as other toxic substances and the only advantage is less power consumption per lumen of light. Florescent bulbs produce about 4 to six times more light per watt. But they are also more environmentally unfriendly. You have to ask whether it isn't your decision and not the governments. If you want to pay for the power and use incandescent lights why should the government be able to interfere? Where does it end? The whole nanny state tyranny should be stopped.

    August 31, 2012 at 1:52 am |

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