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Thursday
Dec272007

We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison (1910)

The January 28, 1910 Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) ran portions of an interview with Thomas Edison titled, "We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison: Inventor Predicts Cheaper Clothing and Less Manual Labor." The entire piece appears below.

In an interview published in the Independent, Thomas A. Edison speaks of future inventions and refers to the problem of getting the most out of fuel as one of the important problems of the day. He has something to say about the clothes of the future.

 

CHEAP CLOTHES.
"The clothes of the future will be so cheap," says Mr. Edison, "that every young woman will be able to follow the fashions promptly, and there will be plenty of fashions. Artificial silk that is superior to natural silk is now made of wood pulp. It shines better than silk. I think that the silk worm barbarism will go in fifty years, just as the indigo of India went with the production of indigo in German laboratories.

THINGS TO LEARN.
"There is much ahead of us. We don't know what gravity is; neither do we know the nature of heat, light and electricity. We are only animals. We are coming out of the dog stage and getting a glimpse of our environment. We don't know - we just suspect a few things. Our practice of shooting, one another in war is proof that we are animals. The make-up of our society is hideous.

NO MANUAL LABOR.
"Communication with other worlds has been suggested. I think we had better stick to this world and find out something about it before we call up our neighbors. They might make us ashamed of ourselves. Not individualism but social labor will dominate the future. Industry will constantly become more social and interdependent. There will be no manual labor in the factories of the future. The men in them will be merely superintendents watching the machinery to see that it works right. Less and less man will be used as an engine or as a horse, and his brain will be employed to benefit himself and his fellows."

Regarding the possibility of using radium as a fuel, Mr. Edison says that is only speculative.

NEW FUEL.
"Radium has great power," he adds. "It has no appreciable limit or end. It is not combustible. A carload of radium would have as much energy as all the millions of tons of coal mined in the United States in a year. I have a spinthariscope, which contains a tiny bit of radium of a size that will go through the eye of a needle. It has been shooting off millions of sparks for six years that I have had it, and I expect it will be shooting sparks the same way for thousands of years. Some day we might find immense deposits of it, then it will be a problem how to handle it without dangerous consequences."

See also:
Edison Battery Solves Old Problems (1909)
Moving Sidewalk (1900)
In the Twentieth Century (Newark Daily Advocate, 1901)

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Reader Comments (7)

Wow, I'm impressed. He really was a smart cookie. I mean, not 100% spot on, but quite interesting.

December 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWutzke

In an interview with The Merry Fornicator Monthly, Edison once said, "My new-fashioned "Lightning Bulb" shall revolutionize the way men and women go about intercoursing with one another. Mark my word, in years to come women and men alike of all sizes, creeds, and races - even the prudish people of Prussia, no less! - will occasionally insist on partaking in what they'll then call "Doing it with the lights on.""
If my Mormon fiance is any indication, Mr. Edison was a dreamer and a fool.

December 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWilliamVanLandinghamIII

"The Merry Fornicator Monthly"?

I'd like to see evidence of this Edison quote, please.

In any case, porn agrees with Edison...

January 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMysterius

I think William Van Landingham (The Third, my dear boy) was making a joke. And he's obviously a Mr. Show fan.

January 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

"The Merry Fornicator"?

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAliasUndercover

Tom Edison is my new hero.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Too bad for that nasty bit of business between him and Nickola Tesla and his own opposition to alternating-current.

September 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSome Guy

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