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    Thomas Edison's 400 AMP battery

    Thomas Edison Manufacturing Company, Pencil Drawings, Schematics and Blueprints Concerning the Edison 400 AMP Battery. This lot consists of 13 schematics, blueprints and original drawings executed during the development of the 400 AMP battery. The four original pencil drawings appear to be the working drafts on which the later schematics and blueprints are based. Two of the four pencil drawings are signed by Edison, and one of these two has instructions in Edison's hand, which have been partially trimmed out, but repeated in a different hand in the lower portion of the drawing.

    The most significant drawing (16" x 10.5") in the group was originally executed on March 26, 1912, and is numbered "P-104" along the right margin at bottom. Although it is unknown whether or not Edison made the drawing, he does add his signature; and a part of his instructions/corrections remain in the right margin: "Chang / see trac / Dated / Marc". The drawing has been trimmed, truncating the text; but the notation is repeated in another hand in the bottom left area: "Changed see tracing dated 3/30/12." Another direction written beneath Edison's that is also truncated is repeated in this same area: "Used this as a base for new zincs 12/16/12". Based on the multiple dates and notations, this appears to be a working draft for later printed schematics.

    A second drawing (15.75" x 10.5") signed by Edison is numbered P-105 and is titled "EXPERIMENTAL ZINC PLATE / 400 A.H." in the lower right margin. Like all of the drawings, there are numerous computation is a few different hands. All four drawings have written "400 Type" in green wax pencil somewhere on the drawing. It is likely that all were executed contemporaneously and were the working drafts of the printed schematics and blue prints included in this group.

    Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), considered by many as America's greatest inventor, held over one thousand patents, including ones for the phonograph, movie camera, and the incandescent light bulb. In addition to the phonograph, the movie camera, and the incandescent light bulb, his many inventions included the stock ticker, and the mechanical vote recorder. His inventions impacted the movie industry, recorded music, and the field of electricity. Edison was a pioneer in apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention. He is often credited with establishing the first industrial research laboratory.

    Edison organized the Edison Manufacturing Company in December 1889 as his business enterprise for making and selling the Edison primary battery. The company made and sold batteries for use in telegraph and telephone systems, and for phonographs, dental and medical equipment. In fact, it is possible that these batteries were developed for use in an electric car; a project that he was collaborating with Henry Ford with at around the date listed on these drawings.

    In addition to batteries, the Edison Manufacturing Company made kinetoscope films, phonograph cylinder wax, x-ray equipment, medical instruments, and electric fans. The company was formally dissolved in November 1925.

    Although it is not known if these drawings were made by Edison, the partial note and signatures indicate he was materially involved in the process of their origin as drawings, to final iteration as schematics and blueprints. The group provides a fascinating glimpse of the inner workings of one of Edison's companies and how his ideas evolved into commercial products.

    Condition: The schematics are printed on oilcloth and are slightly soiled, but otherwise in good to fine condition. The pencil drawings, on light card stock, have been trimmed along the edges and show signs of wear and pencil rubbings, but retain crisp lines and good detail. The blueprints have a center fold and show signs of wear but are in good condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,114

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