Thomas Edison and His Spirit Communication Device: A Fascinating Chapter in Invention

Thomas Edison and His Spirit Communication Device: A Fascinating Chapter in Invention


Thomas Alva Edison (1847~1931) was a great American inventor who never gave up in his pursuit to improve people’s lives with his inventions. Edison was born in the small town of Milan, Ohio, in February 1847.

As a child, he was full of curiosity and asked endless questions about the workings of almost everything he encountered. At the age of 8, he began to attend school where his curiosity only grew stronger. The teacher eventually lost patience with the boy and labeled him “addled” or “confused.”

On hearing this, Edison’s mother pulled the inquisitive child out of the school and began to patiently teach him at home. Edison quickly learned how to read, write, and calculate. One day his mother gave him a book entitled, “The School of Natural Science,” containing instructions for all sorts of scientific experiments. Edison was overjoyed and the basement soon became his laboratory.

To support the costs of his lab equipment and chemicals, Edison convinced his parents to let him sell newspapers and other goods on the railway when he was 12 years old. One morning, Edison saw a small boy playing on the train tracks in the direct path of a moving train carriage. Edison jumped on the tracks and pulled the boy out of harm’s way. The boy was the stationmaster’s son, and as a reward for Edison’s heroism, the grateful man offered to teach him the use of Morse code and the telegraph. It was the “age of the telegraph,” and the chance was similar to learning how to operate a state-of-the-art computer today.

For several years, Edison worked as a telegrapher by day and continued his experiments by night. When he was 20 years old, he invented an electric vote-recording machine that would speed up the counting of votes.

But when he showed the machine to the members of the legislature, they told him, “this is exactly what we do not want.” They claimed that the invention would disrupt minority parties that relied on the slow counting system for the extra time to influence opinion. From that day on, Edison decided to be careful to only create things that people would want.

Edison’s first successful invention was a “stock ticker” which could receive the news of the gold price through the telegraph, record the fluctuations in price, and print them out on paper. Edison nearly fainted when a corporation bought his rights to the device for the amazing sum of $40,000. With his new fortune, young Edison first sent money to his parents and then put the rest into his next inventions.
Having built his own laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Edison hired a team and began working full time on inventing. Edison was actually completely deaf in his left ear, and eventually became 80% deaf in the right. He tried,however, to see this as an advantage, saying that it allowed him to concentrate on his work. His difficulty in hearing may have encouraged the creation of his next invention, the phonograph, which could record and play back sounds.

In Edison’s first trail, he recorded the song “Mary had a little lamb” and played it back to an amazed audience.

His next goal was to create and perfect the electric light bulb. It took over two years and over a thousand experiments, but he never gave up.

Finally, Edison and his team successfully created a bulb that stayed lit for 48 hours.
The laboratory was overjoyed with success.

A new laboratory was built in West Orange where they invented all kinds of devices such as the prefabricated house, storage battery cells, and the motion picture camera. But one winter day, when Edison was 67, the laboratory caught on fire. Later, Edison told reporters with a smile, “I am still only 67 years old. I can start again. The great laboratory will be rebuilt!”

Interestingly, in the 1920s, Edison began to work on a device to communicate with the spirit world. He discussed his efforts to build the device in scientific journals and continued to work on the device until his death.

In 1931, the great inventor passed away at the age of 84. His last words to his wife as he drifted in and out of consciousness were, “It is very beautiful over there.” On the day of his funeral, countless individuals, communities, and companies, dimmed their lights or briefly turned off their electric power to honor him.

The Past Lives of Thomas Edison

The past lives of Edison are T’sai Lun of China, who invented paper, and Johannes Gutenberg of Germany, who invented the printing machine.

T’sai Lun (AD 50~121) is regarded as the inventor of paper and the paper making process. He was born in Guiyang, China, during the Eastern Han Dynasty and worked as a paper secretary for Emperor He. After trying a variety of materials
including bark and silk, T’sai Lun eventually produced the formula for modern paper in AD105. The emperor was pleased with his invention, and T’sai Lun was granted a title and great wealth. Immediately paper became widely used in China, enabling civilization to develop much faster than with earlier writing materials such as bamboo. It was not for another 600 years until the techniques of papermaking spread to the West.

Johannes Gutenberg(AD 1400~1467) was born in Mainz, Germany. In 1455 he perfected the method of printing with moveable type. This caused a revolution in the development of culture as books could be mass- produced rather than copied by hand, leading to the education of the general population. Using his new printing machine, Gutenberg began printing copies of the bible so that it could be widely distributed. He managed to print close to two hundred bibles in three years, the same amount of time it took to create one bible by hand. Gutenberg’s revolutionary invention remained little changed into the 19th century.


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