Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 of Edison's Other Inventions

Stacy Conradt

Thomas Edison was a busy guy "“ you know he invented the incandescent lightbulb and the phonograph, of course, but he also had 1,092 other patents to his name (although some were inventions of his employees that were credited to him). Some were pretty genius and we still use them today. Others"¦ not so much. Here are a few from both categories.

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4. Paraffin Paper, AKA wax paper. Yep "“ amongst all of these very technical and scientific electric devices, Edison came up with the idea of coating some paper with wax to make it moisture-proof. Well, actually, this is one of the inventions thought to have been created by one of his assistants. The first use of this amazing paper was to wrap candies.

5. A method of extracting rubber from plants. And not from rubber plants, oh no "“ from herbs and shrubs "having a small content of rubber."

6. The Kinetophone. You can see where he was going with this one "“ the kinetophone was a phonograph inside of a cabinet, and while it played through a couple of ear tubes "“ very primitive headphones, I suppose "“ the viewer would watch images. After a few failed attempts, he gave up on the idea of "talkies."

7. Cement as a design substance. Edison tried building lots of things with cement, including the cabinets for his phonographs and a mail-order concrete house. He was definitely ahead of his time with this one, because now you see cement being used for all kinds of unconventional things (including houses). But at the time, it was simply too expensive to waste on seemingly frivolous things.

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