Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thomas Edison's To-Do List

When I was in third grade, I wrote a spectacular paper on Thomas Edison that got an A, becoming the foundation of much later scholarship, if I may say so. My father refers to this paper (and everything else I write) as "Thomas Edison and His Toads and Frogs", or occasionally as "Black Holes, Toads, Frogs, Thomas Edison, and What I Did for Summer Vacation". Thanks, Dad.

Below, you can see one of Mr. Edison's to-do lists for January 3rd, 1888. List items include "Deaf Apparatus", "Electrical Piano" and "Ink for Blind". The list goes on for a number of pages—I was
initially concerned that this was the list for the day, but another subsequent list appears in the same book for April of that year, so I assume he got through the several hundred inventions in about three months, a comparatively leisurely pace. This particular page is also notable for the legible handwriting, which declines as we move through the notebook; it's a relief that old Thomas Alva may have been a workaholic genius, but also had poor penmanship.

image from the Rutgers collection of Thomas Edison's papers
Click to embiggen.

No comments: