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Edison's To Do List

Throughout his life, Thomas Edison kept "idea books" filled with to-do lists, sketches and other notes on current and future projects. On January 3, 1888 — just over a month after opening his new lab in West Orange, New Jersey — Edison created a five-page list of "Things doing and to be done." That year alone, Edison would execute 45 patents, primarily concerned with the phonograph and cylinder records. Alexander Graham Bell and his associates had begun to make improvements on Edison’s decade-old phonograph, which pushed Edison into action. Despite this competition, Edison's "To Do" list shows that the phonograph wasn’t the only thing on the inventor’s mind.

Image courtesy of Rutgers University, from the collection of Thomas Edison NHP


Thomas Edison's To Do List

TAE                 Jany (January) 3 1888

Things doing and to be done:

Cotton Picker
New Standard Phonograph
Hand turning phonograph
New Slow speed cheap Dynamo
New Expansion Pyromagnetic Dynamo
Deaf Apparatus
Electrical Piano
Long distance standard Telephone Transmitter which employs devices of recording phonogh
Telephone Coil of Fe [iron] by tt in Parafine or other insulator
Platina Point Trans using new phono Recorder devices
Gred Battery for Telephones
“ “ “ “ Long Distance
“ “ “ -- Phonoplex
“ “ “ Jump Telegraph
“ “ “ Voltmeter
Improved Magnetic Bridge for practical work
Motograph Mirror
“ Relay
“ Telephone practical
Artificial Cable
Phone motor to work on 100 volt ckts
Duplicating Phono Cylinders
Deposit in vacuo on lace, gold + silver also on cotton molten chemical compound of lustrous surfaces to imitate silk— also reg plating system
Vacuous Ore milling Large Machine
Magnetic Separator Large
Locking material for Iron sand

Page 2
Artificial Silk
Artificial filiments [sic]
New [illeg.]
Uninflammable Insulating Material
Good wax for phonograph
Phonographic Clock
Large Phonograph for Novels, etc.
Pig Iron Expmts with Electricity + Magnetism
Malleablizing Cast now in Vacuo
Drawing fine wire
Joy phonograph for Dolls
Cable Motograph
Very Loud Motograph telephone with 1/3 siz phonogh motor.
Magneto telephone with actual contact end magnet compression of an adjustable rubber press as in new phones
Snow Compressor
Glass plate water ore repeator
Tinned faced [illeg.] for Stove Castings
Refining Copper Electrically
Quad neutral relay
Cheap low induct Cop Insulating material for Lead Cable people
Constant moved for nonfoundry

Page 3
200 volt 20 cp lamp
Cheap [illeg.] Indicator
Recording Valt Indicator
Box balancing System
Alternating Machine + Transformer
Sifua Surface Switches
Vulcanizing [illeg.] African Rubber adullement
Platinum wire [illeg.] cutting Machine
Silver wire wood cutting system
Silvering or Coppering bathing cloth in Vac for durability
S Mater attend own with new devices for c speed
Expansion mirror plat… wire in vacuo
Photoghy by camping heat after central points
Boron fil.
Hg [mercury] out of Lamp
Phonaplex Repeater
Squirting glass sheet tube etc. Nickel [illeg.]
Artificial Mother Pearl
Red Lead pencils equal to graphite
India Ink
Tracing Cloth
Ink for blind

Page 4
Fluffy Incandescent Burner for gas
Regenerative Kerosene Burner
Centralized arc in arc Lamp
Cai--[illeg.] Tesla arc lamp test
Strengthening alternating cli by sternt Dynamo
ERR Cont [illeg.] reducers
Electroplating Machines for Schenectady
Condenser Transformer
Sqr ft difraction gratings in silver by 5000 [illeg.] tool special [illeg.] lathe for ornamental purposes
Photo Scant--[illeg.]
Cheap plan produce Mimeograph surfaces
Miners battery + lamp
Sorting Coal from Slate Machine
Butter direct from Milk
Burning asphalt Candles by high chimney
Magnets RR signals
Soften [illeg.] of books transfer to Cop plate + plate to [illeg.] matrix
Telephone Repeater
Substitute for Hard rubber
Artificial Ivory
Soften Vegetable Ivory to press in sheets
Various batteries on [illeg.] Type
Revolving Thermo

Page 5
Caller Indicator for Jump Telegh
Marine Telegraphy
Long distance speaking tube filled H20 2 dia pressure
Lend plate battery for modifying attending Current
Two revolving bands in battery Lead faced press in liquid close together + out into separate chambers to [illeg.] reduce by gas the other
Siren phonogh
Perm mag like an electromag of [illeg.] hand steel high polish separately magnetized + forced together powerfully [illeg.]
Telephone working more [illeg.]
Eartubes formed crescent [illeg.] wire
Long strip 50 cp carbon under stress [illeg.] for
Cheap Voltmeter
Chalk Battery
Dynamo or motor long tube in long magnetic field top + bottom contacts forcing water through generator current by – passage.
Thermo battery slick Copper oxidized then plated over surface oxide nailed to make good contact [illeg.]
Disk Phonogh

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