We’re gathered here in this room, and around our devices, to celebrate the 1847 birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, famous for development of such innovations as the motion-picture camera and the electric light bulb. Also known as ‘The Wizard of Menlo Park,’ he held more than 1,000 U.S. patents.
It’s hard for people today to realize the impact of his advances in technology and communications. For that reason, in 1983 Ronald Reagan designated this date as National Inventors’ Day in the U.S.
We should remember not only his inventions and patents, but other modern technology that expanded on his pioneering work. Many of today’s inventors owe a great debt to Edison.
To make that point most dramatically, a demonstration is in order. When I pull this lever, I’ll connect the circuit to a pulse generator that will temporarily halt all technology based on Edison’s one thousand patents — that includes his inventions, and all variations and permutations developed since.
Of course, I wouldn’t be broadcasting here from a meeting room inside the Children’s Wing if we hadn’t taken precautions. All hospital equipment nationwide will remain operational. I’ve been assured my cardiac pacemaker won’t be affected either — or I’d never pull the switch. And roadways and air traffic control equipment will be similarly exempt from interference.
Now, watch the countdown on your screens. Please don’t be frightened when all goes dark, since all functions will be restored after a thirty second pulse. But there’s really no better way to demonstrate the essential contributions of Edison and other inventors to modern life.
Ready? Here we —