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    Thomas Edison Printed Light Bulb Patent Signed in Bold Ink "Thomas Alva Edison", one page, 16" x 22". This is one of Edison's actual patents relating to the incandescent lamp filed in Bolivia. It is identified as "Lamina 3" in the upper right. This patent is also signed in ink by "Testigos" (Witnesses): "Chas H. Smith" and "Geo. T. Pinckney" beneath Edison's rare, full signature. Tape, 0.75" wide, on verso at perimeter strengthens the edges. Slightly rippled with creases.

    Throughout his lifetime, Thomas Alva Edison filed 1,093 United States patents for his inventions. He also filed and received patents in other countries. Most of them duplicated the U.S. patents but protected his work in those countries. The series of 12 original patent schematics for Edison's Incandescent Lamp, now known as the "Light Bulb", of which this is one, was filed in Bolivia in 1880. "Bolivia" is written in pencil in the upper right. Edison's first successful test of his invention was on October 21, 1879; it lasted 13.5 hours. Edison continued to improve this design and applied for patents in 1880.

    Edison was very lucky that the United States Patent Office did not keep track of all patents filed in every country. From the U.S. Department of the Interior: "An invention must be 'novel,' or unique, to receive a patent. That means inventions must not be described in printed publications before the patent is awarded. Otherwise the inventor might lose the patent application. This happened to Edison in 1878 when he filed a patent application at the same time in Great Britain and the United States. The British patent was approved first (number 1644). Unfortunately, the U.S. Patent Office decided that this constituted 'prior publication' and therefore rejected the U.S. patent application. This had devastating consequences for Edison, because it included several important innovations to the phonograph, including the making of disc-shaped records. Since the U.S. rejected the patent, Edison's American competitors were allowed to copy it. If Edison had won the U.S. patent, there might still be an Edison recording company today." If Edison had lost his U.S. light bulb patent because of his patent filed in Bolivia, would GE (originally formed as the Edison General Electric Company of New York in 1889) have become the world's second-largest company (according to "Forbes" 2006 listing of "The World's 2000 Largest Public Companies")?

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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