Energy & Power
The Museum's collections on energy and power illuminate the role of fire, steam, wind, water, electricity, and the atom in the nation's history. The artifacts include wood-burning stoves, water turbines, and windmills, as well as steam, gas, and diesel engines. Oil-exploration and coal-mining equipment form part of these collections, along with a computer that controlled a power plant and even bubble chambers—a tool of physicists to study protons, electrons, and other charged particles.
A special strength of the collections lies in objects related to the history of electrical power, including generators, batteries, cables, transformers, and early photovoltaic cells. A group of Thomas Edison's earliest light bulbs are a precious treasure. Hundreds of other objects represent the innumerable uses of electricity, from streetlights and railway signals to microwave ovens and satellite equipment.
- Description (Brief)
- Thomas Edison and his team at Menlo Park, NJ, demonstrated a commercially-practical incandescent lighting system in December 1879. However, their work did not stop there and they continued to improve and refine the system. In March 1881, Edison received US Patent #239,373 for this variation on his bamboo-filament light bulb. This lamp could be disassembled to replace a burned-out filament. Edison never put this design into production.
- Date made
- Edison, Thomas Alva
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History