One day, I am happily navigating the streets of 1700s Philadelphia, and the next, I’m suddenly 300 or more years in the future, without any say in the process. And here I am, still, wondering if this odd phenomenon will happen again … and when?
In the meantime, I have chosen to bring myself up to speed on some of the history that has transpired since the colonial days of America.
One particularly interesting discovery for me has been the further evolution of electricity, which has come a long way since my original experiments with kites and lightning.
I am very excited to report that there was a famous inventor in the late 1800s-early 1900s who built upon my own foundations, and took the potential of electricity far beyond the simple curiosity which it was when I was first attracted to it.
Shedding light on Thomas Edison.
The gentleman’s name was Thomas Alva Edison -- described as the "Wizard of Menlo Park." Mr. Edison, as a prolific tinkerer and inventor like myself, greatly improved the quality of living for many people, present and future. Why, his invention of the light bulb alone was a work of genius! Little did I imagine, when I puttered around in my humble laboratory in Philadelphia, that whole cities would later be illuminated by Mr. Edison’s electrically-powered devices.
And Edison, like myself, had fairly wide-ranging interests – reflected, of course, in his variety of inventions: the phonograph player (the forerunner of today’s CD players), motion picture cameras (the predecessors of video cameras), a battery for electric vehicles, the fluoroscope (an early X-ray machine allowing physicians to see inside the human body), and many more.
It is also somewhat gratifying to learn that Edison’s work was performed not too far away from my beloved Philadelphia, in the state of New Jersey. (Ironically, in the same state as the beleaguered Gov. Chris Christie!) Had both Edison and myself lived in the same century, I could conceivably have hired a horse and dropped in on him for a pleasant afternoon of scientific and philosophical discussion.
It is truly unfortunate that I cannot simply turn a switch, and be transported backwards in time to have that conversation with Mr. Edison. Alas, my time traveling is something too mysterious to fathom, and totally out of my control, at least for the moment.
So I shall have to content myself with living in the present (actually, the “future,” for me), and marveling at the many wonders of the America of 2014.
Your humble servant,