Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Important Sci/Tech History Up For Auction In UK

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the I-bet-the-light-bulbs-still-work dept.

Science 97

mikey_man380 writes "Reuters reports that some original Edison light bulbs and extremely important scientific documents will be auctioned off in the UK. The box of original light bulbs used in court by Edison to defend his patent rights will be up for auction in the United Kingdom. Other important historical items to be included in the auction are Albert Einstein's first scientific essay, a first edition of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" and an alchemical manuscript by Isaac Newton."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Antique Christmas Lights Museum (4, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140820)

On a related note, if you happen to be interested in the history of Christmas Lights, check out this site. [oldchristmaslights.com] George Nelson has a very detailed history of Christmas Lights per his table of contents. [oldchristmaslights.com]

While my Controllable Christmas Lights for Celiac Disease [komar.org] are a bit high-tech & over-the-top, George's site is a nice trip back in time of the last 100+ years when even electricity itself was a novelty - one interesting tidbit - "The world's first practical light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879, and a mere three years later in 1882 an associate of his, one Edward Johnson, electrically lit a Christmas tree for the first time. The tree was in the parlor of Johnson's New York City home, located in the first section of that city to be wired for electricity. The display created quite a stir"

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17141130)

That is the ugliest web site I have ever seen. Were you trying to make the most annoying site in existence? You succeeded.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (2, Funny)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141184)

That is the ugliest web site I have ever seen. Were you trying to make the most annoying site in existence? You succeeded.

Wow, I guess he just didn't see the light...

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

im_dan (887241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141474)

Are you responsible for this by any chance? Christmas Lights [youtube.com]

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142348)

On a related note, if you happen to be interested in ugly Christmas lights, check out this site [uglychristmaslights.com] . Both the parent's [uglychristmaslights.com] and my [uglychristmaslights.com] decorations are featured there.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143450)

Are they real this time?

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143864)

How many of you are still using *candles* for tree decoration?

In my (european) opinion, it's the only Right way to have lights on the tree. With kids in the house, the tree tends to be wired too, but the candles are used when the kids are in check (ie. during dinner, etc).

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145010)

Yeah, cause it's the kids being around that will cause the tree to suddenly burst into flame. Lol.

Fire + Dead Coniferous Tree = Really Good Chance For A Fire

That is a fact that has been proven repeatedly. As long as you realize that you're choosing to do something extremely dangerous for the sake of nostalgia or whatever, no problem. But if you actually harbor delusions about this fact...Please put some serious thought into this.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148382)

I get the feeling you're trolling, but I'm not offended.

I think we can all agree that candlelight *is* different than Edison light (even on Slashdot...).

And I certainly make NO argument that fire+kindling is not = bigger fire, I am quite aware of that fact. But then again, the candles do have appropriate candle holders, it's not like we just put them on the pile of presents. No sir, *that* would be a task for tree-shaking youngsters (should they get a chance to). Which is why I'd say that unsupervised kids+fire+kindling is almost centainly = bigger fire, but fire+kindling = pretty.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17148504)

While candle light may be prettier than electrical lighting, the *reason* most people don't use candles, especially on a dead tree, is the risk of fire. If a single branch happens to droop into that open flame, you can kiss the tree (And likely the room) goodbye.

I would never endanger my house and family just because open flame looks prettier than electric lighting.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148622)

A candle has been shown to be able to ignite dry needles on a limb a foot away.

Further, many fires are started when simply _lighting_ the candles.

There is a very good reason for the term "Up like a christmas tree". If you've never seen a christmas tree burn, I suggest you google some vids.

Candles in a christmas tree are dangerous, period. No trolling about it. It's a fact. You have kids so I feel obliged to do what I can to see that you understand this...this isn't just darwin material we're talking here...

Note that I'm not disputing the inherent beauty of a tree lit with candles. But just because it's beautiful does not make it safe, there is simply no correlation between the two whatsoever.

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159608)

To clarify, I don't have kids (they're guests for xmas eve); but anyway I, my parents, and their parents have survived (so far). It's not like we're not aware, we do put the candles in sane places *and* keep water around just in case. Plus, the candles and holders you can get in Europe (don't know about US) are self-extinguishing, so no danger in letting them burn down. And we always watch the tree until everything is out.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you very much for your concern! (This being /. that may have sounded ironic; it's not.)

Re:Antique Christmas Lights Museum (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17155456)

...Fire + Dead Coniferous Tree = Really Good Chance For A Fire
That is a fact that has been proven repeatedly....
You might have something there. That could explain why our house has burned to the ground for the past four Christmases.

Should be in a museum (5, Insightful)

kisanth88 (593283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140856)

These things should be in a museum and on display for all people to see.

All of the above are some of the foundations of the modern world.

They are some of the building blocks for the technological revolution of the 20th century.

It would be a shame for these to be in some private collection out of view of the world.

-John

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

riceslimbo (737901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141004)

Don't worry, i'm sure they're going to take the money and build a museum for ig nobel prize winners. Now those guys are developing building blocks for 21st century and beyond! http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ws99HFtvrAM [youtube.com] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ig_Nobel [wikipedia.org]

Re:Should be in a museum (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141032)

Yeah that was my first thought, too. I hope that whoever ends up buying them, will at least loan them out to a museum where they can be properly protected and exhibited.

I can't blame the person who found the Edison lightbulbs in their attic for wanting to sell, though, considering what they're probably worth.

Re:Should be in a museum (5, Interesting)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141178)

Why? The Edison lightbulbs are just junk, the 1st edition "Origin of Species" is interesting only as a novelty for librarians. The alchemical manuscript by Newton is possibly interesting, but only if the text is not preserved elsewhere, and even if its not the text is really only of interest to Biographers. The text itself almost certainly is of no scientific worth.

Better that they be in some private collection, so that at least then SOMEBODY could enjoy them. Very few people go to museums, University or Otherwise, and while many Museums and University Anthropology Departments house some fascinating treasures, nobody gets any enjoyment out of them. The sit around mouldering in drawers, boxes and crates. Most of the interesting stuff is never, ever put on display, and often nobody even knows it exists (Anthropologists being notoriously piss-poor at actually publishing anything).

I'm not just pulling this out of my ass either. If you know anybody who works at a major University with a Significant Anthro dept. see if you can talk to them. I am personally aware that the University of TN has literally metric TONS of artifacts scattered in crates throughout the campus. What's in them? Who knows? They aren't even really of any archaeological value any more, having been completely removed from their context.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141452)

The manuscripts could be scanned at a high-resolution, and be available for all to see.


Just because we're not 'biographers', doesn't mean we wouldn't be interested.

Re:Should be in a museum (2, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141662)

And what, precisely, would you do with it? Unless you are literate in the Latin used for technical literature in the 17th century (which all of Newton's official work is written in) It'd simply be a matter of, "Ayup, these scans contain images of one of Newton's treatises on Alchemy, isn't that awesome?"

I don't even really disagree with you, I'm enough of a pack rat of information that I would want to have such scans, or even the original book, but it would merely be a curiosity, as I lack the expertise to DO anything with it at all.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145244)

Just because YOU can't do anything with it...

Your arguments make zero sense at all. What's your point?

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153558)

Could you do anything with a Latin work on Alchemy by Sir Isaac Newton? Even the other reply to my post, who claims to be doing graduate work on Newton (although in an unrelated field of newton's work) admits to being unable to read Latin. My point is that the number of people in the entire world capable of doing anything with it is vanishingly small. Let's suppose that scans of the work were available on-line (which I have nothing against), who is going to use them? A very tiny number of historical expects.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Warg! The Orcs!! (957405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17154376)

you could enlarge it several times and make geek wrapping paper for Chrimbo. What better to wrap your son/daughter/artifically-created podform's new microscope or electronic set in than Newtonian Latin wrapping paper? I claim 10% of gross profits as my licensing fee for the idea (got to protect the IP....)

Re:Should be in a museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145654)

Not an art gallery type, are ya?

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

ZippyKitty (902321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148222)

Some of us are studying just that. I just finished a graduate course on Newton - my paper will use sources in latin (unfortunately I don't read latin - but the math, which is what I will be writing on,I can follow). I need to learn the latin obviously though. Having sources online is a big help. I was thrilled to find that Bernoulli's, Huygen's and Leibniz's solution to a particular problem have all been scanned in. I am doing this degree while working full time and having a young son - so if I can get the sources in my house without heading into campus (a multi-modal transportation trip for me) then so much the better. Going to the library is fun. But online scans allow researchers all over the world to examine documents. Not everyone who uses the 'net use it solely to read /. and view porn. Some people also use it as an active tool to do serious research and they do have the expertise to use the information. And they can put it into a format that you can use - if you are interested.

ZK (who really should be reading Acta Euridium and Euler's Opera Omnia - but is instead reading /. - probably won't bother with the porn though :) )

Re:Should be in a museum (5, Interesting)

0-9a-f (445046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142090)

I've often felt that as the rift between Science and Religion appears to become more divisive, the closer the two become in most people's minds.

There seems to be an awful lot of attention paid to the artefacts of science today - a nostalgic yearning to touch something of the vitality of the process of discovery. It's as though "science" and "discovery" are unattainable, except through contact with the objects of the past.

There is likewise a lot of effort put into seeking out the artefacts of religion - whether through archeology, or by personal pilgrimage. Spiritual growth is quickly lost or forgotten in the desire to simply encounter an object of the past, as though the modern world provides no access to the joy of spirit.

But what can we expect, when people "believe" the "miracles" of medical science, and at the same time "know" that science proves the power of prayer. Even scientific discussions in popular media can easily turn into acts of faith - obesity, global warming, cigarettes, and evolution are all fuelled by emotion instead of logic. For most people, science is religion and scientists are the High Priests.

Auctions such as this only increase the desirability of owning a piece of the past. To what end? Well, it certainly serves little scientific purpose - as has already been pointed out.

Re: Above poster's "To what end?" (1)

kisanth88 (593283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143276)

I personally find looking at artifacts that were created by great minds and craftsmen of ages past as an affirmation of humanity.

It makes me feel like we might actually be going somewhere - if these peices of history (and humanity) mean nothing - all the things we do in this life mean nothing.

They are a testament to the human mind, craftsmanship, or faith (generally one of those three). It makes me feel better about the fact that I will die one day, because hopefully something of the age I lived in will be left. And just maybe some wierd guy like me will look at some artifact from this time and feel connected to the past, and perhaps, some measure of responsibiliy for ensuring a future for our species.

-John

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

ZippyKitty (902321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148386)

There are other purposes besides scientific though. Is history a totally invalid field? How about art? I'm studying history of science - yet I have not intention of giving up my engineering career. The two are complementary and allow me to develop different aspects of my character and interests. Also by studying the history of science and technology I become more aware of the hidden agendas that are physically embodied in our everyday life and technology and I learn that such things do not HAVE to be that way. I found reading "The Measure of All Things" (a pop sci book - but quite good) very informative for examining different political aspects of measurements (both historically and in general) and that there are valid and good reasons for using non standard (as in varying) measurements. ZK

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149796)

The difference between a scientist and a high priest is that anyone, ANYONE can become a scientist. You don't have to have the word "scientist" on your business card to examine your surroundings, to apply scientific principles to information you receive, and to develop and test theories about your world.

Science is a process, not a school subject, and anyone who applies it is a "scientist".

Don't know what to believe about global warming? Look up the information for yourself.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143606)

Better that they be in some private collection, so that at least then SOMEBODY could enjoy them.

Or they could end up in a bank vault as part of an elaborate tax avoidance scheme

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145076)

I've been to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates Museum in Florida.

It is like he went home from work last night, and could be returning any moment to continue his work.

I'm appalled that you have this kind of viewpoint...the number of things in that museum that most people will never even know existed, let alone see...

I will point out one single thing from the museum that sums it all up:

It is lighted with the very light bulbs that Edison himself made, well over a hundred years ago...STILL BURNING TODAY!!!

When was the last time you bought ANYTHING electrical that lasted over a hundred years? Never mind a freaking light bulb!

Re:Should be in a museum (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145766)

first edition "origin of species" only interesting as a novelty for librarians? You are clearly unaware of the thousands of people who visit the British Library every year to view "novelties" such as this. Would you consider the gutenberg bible, magna carta, and DaVinci's notebook to also be "novelties?"

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17148868)

> The text itself almost certainly is of no scientific worth.

Don't you find it curious at all that a man who evidently was more intelligent than any of us here found it worthy of his time to dabble with alchemy?

We are mere philistines and fools in comparison to great minds such as Newton, barbaric and uncivilized. All we have in form of a candle to hold to them is some accumulated quantitive fact, which approaches zero when compared to how much we still have to learn.

What if the formulas of alchemy are no more intelligible to us than those of the mathematical field of topology is to a child? Would it then not be permissable to wonder and amaze what Newton really did see in his studies of alchemy?

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17153434)

You're making an argument from authority, which is a logical fallacy. Newton was a genius in the Mathematics and Physics of his day (which he by and large created). He was not an authority on modern chemistry. Sure, I might be wrong, I'm willing to concede the faint possibility that there may be profound scientific insights in a Paper on Alchemy by Newton, BUT in the absence of any evidence supporting that claim, I'm willing to bet quite a large sum of money that there are no such scientific insights at all. At most the document may contain historical information on what Alchemists of his day believed to be true.

Re:Should be in a museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17149406)

I am personally aware that the University of TN has literally metric TONS of artifacts scattered in crates throughout the campus. What's in them? Who knows? They aren't even really of any archaeological value any more, having been completely removed from their context.
Yes, I am sure you guys up at UT are way more interested in moonshine, tick-hounds and copenhagen/skoal.

Re:Should be in a museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17141386)

Yes, it belongs in a museum, an American museum. GE, you should help in this.

This brings me to the British. Return the stuff you STOLE from Greece, Italy, India, China, and Egypt (I'm sure there are more)!!!! Slimey theives.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17144128)

The British have been better caretakers of historical treasures than any other country in the world.

What other country's capital hasn't been invaded for nearly 1000 years?

Re:Should be in a museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17147408)

What's that, an invitation? Keep holding onto the stolen goods, you crooks, your days are numbered.

Re:Should be in a museum (1)

TheFoolishOne (1008229) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141920)

"It belongs in a museum!" "So do you!"

As Indiana Jones would say... (1)

saxoholic (992773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142526)

As Indiana Jones would say, "That belongs in a museum!"

Ok, Indiana! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145896)

Sheesh.

Re:Should be in a museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17181364)

That belongs in a museum?

So do you.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17140858)

...wouldn't selling these infringe on Edison's design copyright? :-)

Re:Hmm... (1)

Phantombrain (964010) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140950)

...wouldn't selling these infringe on Edison's design copyright? :-) He's dead. I don't think he cares.

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

MikeWasHere05 (900478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141072)

I don't think the RIAA got that memo...

Re:Hmm... (0, Offtopic)

Phantombrain (964010) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141292)

LOL! Mod the Parent up!

Learn to Crack! (-1, Offtopic)

SmackPants (troll) (1036628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140880)

Want to learn how to crack your own XXX passwords? Http://www.XXXtremePasses.com is the resource for you!!! Register for free to join the community of elite password crackers that guide you along the way to fame!

Original?... (0, Offtopic)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140910)

With original lightbulbs, there must come original fingerprints...
Wait for big comeback of Edison in your local bank ;) (btw: wasn't using Elvis' fingerprints when committing crime in movies an overused idea?)

Re:Original?... (1)

pev (2186) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143186)

With original lightbulbs, there must come original fingerprints...

Wait for big comeback of Edison in your local bank ;)

Nah, more likely at a big broth^W^WDHS fingerprint checkin station at your local airport...

~Pev

Values.. (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140938)

The sad thing is that Audrey Hepburn's dress has fetched more than any scientific memorabilia ever could. I'm a film buff, so can appreciate the significance of it, but still wish that the less glamorous sciences would bring on the same bidding frenzy.

Re:Values.. (0)

kafka47 (801886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140964)

You bought Audrey Hepburn's dress??? Post pics pls.

/K

Just goes to show... (-1, Flamebait)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17140970)

Reuters reports that some original Edison light bulbs and extremely important scientific documents will be auctioned off in the UK.

Science... perpetually at the mercy of capitalism.

Re:Just goes to show... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17141200)

Oddly enough, many key technological inventions from lighting to radiotelephony happened in Russia first. Funny how it took American capitalism to deliver almost all of the technology you actually used to compose that pointless message.

Re:Just goes to show... (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141544)

Well, who wants a lightbulb that uses you ?
It's all about the marketing.

Re:Just goes to show... (1)

idugcoal (965425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143120)

The Russian wanted a lightbulb that uses him! Who else?

Yes, Ivan, (0, Troll)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141984)

Y'all discovered flight, fission, fusion, philately, flattery, fishing, phishing, fraternity, f-etc., ahead of *all* of us, and yet you are Europe's fastest-dying nation.

Here's the deal: get the general population interested in something other than (V)Wodka for a couple of generations, and then come back to the table.

Re:Yes, Ivan, (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17144210)

Uh...
Am I interpreting you right, that you think Russia is an European nation?

At capitalism's mercy? Nope, at its service (2, Informative)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143454)

Aside from being a bright guy Edison was a businessman. The lightbulb was an attempt to make a freaking pile of money (successful) by taking an existing profitable industry (oil-fired lamps) and destroying it utterly, then transferring the proceeds to Edison and company. He also attempted to capitalize on that whole inventing-several-related-industries thing by founding the Edison Electric Light Company, among others, and as those are capital intensive businesses absent the initial outlay of a large amount of money from his backers (including some of the robber barons, like JP Morgan) it never would have gotten off the ground. This followed previous successful deals such as solving a business problem for Western Union by producing a quadruplex telegraph, which saved them enough money to license the rights to the invention for $10,000, which was a considerable sum of money at the time.

Re:At capitalism's mercy? Nope, at its service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17143670)

Haha...Edison...bright guy...

Re:At capitalism's mercy? Nope, at its service (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146124)

Edison wasn't above creating FUD. In a scenario [wikipedia.org] eerily reminiscent of todays battle of Open Source vs. Closed Source, Edison sought to promote his (technically inferior) direct current system in which he had a lot of money already invested, by casting aspersions on the (technically superior) alternating current system which everyone else was investing in. In order to do this, he used alternating current to kill the unfortunate stray cats and dogs that wandered into his Menlo Park complex; thus "proving" that AC was more dangerous than DC (which just made them meow / bark a bit).

I sometimes have visions of Ballmer and co. using Open Source software to kill stray animals around Redmond .....

Note for sake of completeness: DC has been a little bit less unviable ever since the invention of the switched-mode power supply [wikipedia.org] ; but that in all probability would never have been invented in the first place without the wide uptake of electricity which could only ever have been brought about by the use of AC.

Re: Nope, at its mercy (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17156382)

Aside from being a bright guy Edison was a businessman.

Yes, a businessman that ripped off Tesla (the real man of science) as much as he could. Furthermore, his dirty tricks in promoting DC over Tesla's AC did nothing to promote the superior solution, but they did serve to fatten his bank account.

Edison was a businessman, and a great one. He made all the money. But Tesla was the genius, and died penniless after Edison forced the AC patents out of him.

So, tell me again, how science is not at the mercy of capitalism?

c08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17140990)

part of GNAA if dying' crowd - bulk 0f the FreeBSD direct orders, or

Brush Electric Company Headquarters - built 1872 (4, Interesting)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141034)

The light bulb may be up for auction, but the original manufacturing plant, equipment and all, is still here in Cleveland - I'd know, I work there. Came across prints today dating back to 1895. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=&ie=UTF8&z =19&ll=41.508798,-81.655616&spn=0.001426,0.002511& t=h&om=1 [google.com] Unfortunately, significant artifacts of this type get not only auctioned off, but junked and lost all together. It's a tragedy at times, really.

Re:Brush Electric Company Headquarters - built 187 (1)

JollyRogerX (749524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142958)

I am a graduating (next week) EE from Case Western. Do you guys have any openings?

Re:Brush Electric Company Headquarters - built 187 (1)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17144696)

Not at this plant specifically, but there are jobs with GE. Email me - timothy.cyders@ge.com.

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17141106)

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!!

MOD THE TROLL UP!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142238)

MOD THE TROLL UP!!!

Create backups for history (5, Insightful)

JavaManJim (946878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141278)

I worry about the occasional fire disaster overtaking museums and their irreplaceable contents. This happens more often than we think. For example the Library at Alexandria Egypt fire, the 1988 Leningrad Library Fire, the Duchess Anna Amalia library fire, and many many more.

So imagine the 23 bulbs be divided up into several batches and distributed to have a couple on each continent. Taking the large view we should create two Smithsonian type museums with approximately duplicate contents.

Biblical fragments (i.e papyri, uncial fragments, and minuscules) have been distributed thusly. There are more than 600 fragments that compose modern bibles and those fragments are all over the world.

It never hurts to have backups. Even outside of IT.

Thanks,
Jim Burke

Re:Create backups for history (4, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141456)

Three Bulbs for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows no longer lie.
One Bulb to rule them all, One Bulb to find them,
One Bulb to bring them all and in the light bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows no longer lie.

On light, electricity, computers and the geek (2, Funny)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141740)

Joy, thou glorious bulb o' heaven,
Daughter of Ediso-nian
We approach electricity-drunk,
Patently one, your light.
Your technology in all ways unites
What the Great Nub Cannon separates
Klingon becomes the Federation's brothers
Where thy healing magic alights.
Whoever succeeds in the great attempt
To beat down the Zerg
Whoever has won a lengthy lawsuit
Let him add +3 Polymorph!
Yes, whoever calls even one line
His own on the glassy dome!
And who never has, let him steal
Yellow sparks, away from the group.
All nerds drink at the flickering light
At the shiny screen of Un-Na-ture,
All the Doom and Quake and C-S
Follow her pasty legion's trail.
Computers she gave us, a-aand cola,
A partner, proven unto Blue Screen of Death,
Pleasure was to the geeky granted
And the LARPer stands before the DM.
Glad, as the light-sabres fly,
Through Hoth's wretched hive
Run, you players through your race
Joyful, as Anakin to vic'try.
Be embraced, you programmers,
This loop for the world!
White-hats, beyond a blinding canopy
Must the mighty War-hammer dwell.
Do you bow to the numberless Borg?
Do you sense the Force, padawan?
Seek him behind the force-canopy!
Beyond all copyright He must dwell.
White-hats, beyond a blinding canopy
Must the mighty War-hammer dwell.
Do you bow to the numberless Borg?
Do you sense the Force, padawan?
Seek him behind the force-canopy!
Beyond all copyright He must dwell.
Joy, thou glorious light from heaven,
Daughter of Ediso-nian,
We approach electricity-drunk,
Patently one, your light.

(butchering of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_to_joy [wikipedia.org] )

Re:On light, electricity, computers and the geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142004)

OMFG Randal Graves would so kick your ass.

Re:On light, electricity, computers and the geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142622)

He'd better hurry. If Alex from A Clockwork Orange gets to him first, there won't be much ass left for Randal to kick.

Re:Create backups for history (1)

specific_pacific (904746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143576)

kekekeekekekekeke

Re:Create backups for history (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146980)

I think Linus's statement applies here:

"Only wimps use backup: _real_ men just upload their important stuff on FTP, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)"

Re: Create backups for history (1)

JTS1 (1040014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17246408)

Heck, I'll go for that. Send one my way! John W. Howell, the Edison engineer who built those 23 bulbs in court, is my great grandfather. I've got his rolltop desk and Edison Medal -- and yes, one old light bulb. I'd love to see a photo of the 23 that they tried to auction -- wonder if I already have one from that batch (J. Howell actually made 30-40 for the trial) I doubt it. I think mine is of newer vintage.

I was delighted to read the news of these bulbs being found. Making those 23 bulbs was probably John's finest hour in his 50 year career w/Edison. Wondering now that they didn't sell, how I might chance into them... jes dreamin', man. :)

- John

FWIW, this from John Howell's 1930 memoir "stories for my children":

In 1890 the Edison patent covering his high-resistance lamp was being litigated in a suit brought by the Edison Electric Light Company against the United States Electric Light Company. A similar English patent had previously been litigated in England. The patent law requires that the patent specification must describe the article so well that a man skilled in the art can make the article using only the information which is in the specification. In the English case the court appointed three men, supposed to be skilled in the art, to make the lamps following the specifications. These three men were unable to make the lamps. The lawyers who were against the patent in this country knew of this and they put good experts on. These testified that the lamps could not possibly be made by following the instructions contained in the specifications, and they gave good scientific reasons why, but these reasons were based on a wrong assumption.

The Edison lawyers asked Mr. Edison to have men in his laboratory make the lamps. He put two of his men on the job, and, after working some time, they said they could not make them. Knowing all this, I undertook to make them. I got tar from the gas works. I made lampblack by letting kerosene lamps smoke their chimneys. I mixed these, kneading them until they made a very thick mixture, like thick putty. This I rolled on a glass plate with a stick about 1 inch wide, and I rolled out threads of the mixture which were 14 inches long and six thousandths of an inch thick. I coiled these and carbonized them as the patent directed, and thus made filaments for the lamps. Everything came out just as the patent described, and I made 30 or 40 lamps with no trouble at all. A number of these lamps were burned on life test for 600 hours and were good lamps. Our lawyers were immensely pleased and I got a raise.

Then I testified about making the lamps and stood my cross-examination well, and I got another raise. During the argument my testimony was bitterly but unsuccessfully attacked. The court sustained the patent, and the judge said in his decision that my testimony had completely refuted the claims that the patent did not give sufficient information to enable a man skilled in the art to make the lamps. Then I got another raise. Three raises for this work! I also received many congratulations for this work, some from lawyers and officers of the defeated company. This patent decision helped bring about the consolidation of the Edison Company and the Thomson-Houston Company to form the General Electric Company, for the Thomson-Houston Company was infringing the Edison patent in making incandescent lamps.

During subsequent years there has been a great deal of litigation of patents on incandescent lamps and in many of these I have given testimony which has been of considerable importance."

The Missing Link. (4, Informative)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141520)

The entire catalog of the items being auctioned is here [christies.com] . If I had an extra 4 to 6 thousand pounds I think I'd go for the particularly beautiful An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of its Medical Uses [christies.com] .


I've never really understood paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for pieces of art, but I could imagine buying things from this action had I the means.
Maybe I'm more of a boorish nerd than I previously imagined.

Re:The Missing Link. (3, Interesting)

derubergeek (594673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17142180)

What do the mod guidelines [slashdot.org] state again? Oh yeah - mod down for crap like "Me Too!". Okay - I guess I'm destined to be modded down for this, but definitely "Me Too!".

If you're every near Detroit, make a point of visiting Ford's Greenfield Village [hfmgv.org] . Henry Ford built a replica of Edison's Orange Park laboratory (as well as other things like the Wright Brother's Dayton, OH bicycle shop) and it's really awesome to wander the lab and imagine what it was like during its brief heyday. The movie "Edison: The Man" starring Spencer Tracy was filmed at that location.

I bought a replica of Edison's original light bulb at the gift shop which is most likely as close as I"ll get to having an original (although I do have some wax cylinders for the Edison phonograph). As an aside, the bulb runs on - God forbid - A/C! Ewwwwww!!!!

In regard to Einstein paraphernalia, it's still possible to find first editions of Einstein's "Über die spezielle und die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie" at ABE and elsewhere for a somewhat modest price. I paid $25 for mine (it's got some waterstains but is intact and readable) several years ago.

Move 'em out of Europe. (-1, Troll)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17141950)

The Louvre is already moving some of its bits to Atlanta, working as hard and as fast as it can to move as much of Europe's artistic heritage out of Europe ahead of the incoming muslim dark ages.

As far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier.

Frist st0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142020)

is also a miserable kkep, and I won't Juggernaut either unless you can work GNAA (GAY NIGGER to have regular would you like to butts are exposed

And down under, in Australian Sci/Tech News.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142046)

More important than hundred year old dusty lightbulbs, Lynne's Sci Fi News has decided to go off the air... Lynn Griffon, an Aussie girl with a distictive laugh, had a long running Sci Fi podcast for hardcore Science Fiction geeks. She finally decided to pull the plug on this week as she no longer had time for it because of a new job...

http://lynne.libsyn.com/ [libsyn.com]

einstein
http://anarchy-tv.com/ [anarchy-tv.com]

Of specian note to slashdot fans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17142486)

Lot #41

Estimate: 1,200 - 1,800 British pounds

VINTON G. CERF (b. 1943) AND ROBERT E. KAHN (b.1938)

VINTON G. CERF (b. 1943) AND ROBERT E. KAHN (b.1938)
'A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication', in: IEEE Transactions on Communications. Vol. COM-22, no. 5 (May 1974), pp. 637-648. 4 (281 x 216mm). Diagrams in the text. (Occasional light marginal creasing.) Original printed wrappers (a few light marks, corners slightly rubbed and creased).

FIRST PUBLICATION

(Do reply here if you end up winning it!)

Edison credited with the light bulb? (1)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143108)

I always think that Joseph Swan got there just ahead of him, although it was a crowded field at the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Swan

Re:Edison credited with the light bulb? (1)

firebird (32164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143372)

Quite.

The article does not mention which patent suit this was. But if it was the Edison vs Swan
litigation, I had the impression that this case ended up being settled rather than 'won',
and that the settlement led to the merger of the two sides companies.

I hate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17143262)

I hate when things that belong to a museum and must be accessible by anyone end up in some rich person's private collection. I really hope this is not going to be the case.

Let there be light! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17143400)

I bet those bulbs still work!
I read somewhere that there is an original light bulb, still working, in a L.A. fire station that was installed back in the 1910's.
Can anyone shed any light on this story? (Duh - sorry, bad pun)

Edison's patent rights? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17143438)

Joseph Swan invented the filament light bulb in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, in 1878; a year before Thomas Edison. Assuming he filed his patent application and shew his prototype -- 'cos in those days, you had to -- at Sunderland Town Hall within a reasonable time of the invention, the rights should have been his. Not Edison's.

What's sick is that people are still using them for illumination today. If everyone switched to energy-saving fluorescent lamps, we could close down a power station. Filament bulbs for use on mains power should be taxed at not less than £0.02 (€0.03) per watt.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17143654)

If everyone switched to energy-saving fluorescent lamps, we could close down a power station.
That's Homer J Simpson's job, you insensitive clod!

Re:Edison's patent rights? (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17144134)

Swan did patent the light bulb before Edison. Edison went into partnership with Swan in the UK to avoid a patent battle (which he would have lost). See:

http://americanhistory.si.edu/lighting/bios/swan.h tm [si.edu]

What seems surprising now is that Swan did not exploit his priority in the US. I don't have the facts to hand (I'll actually go and find a book) but I suspect that he simply didn't have time to file a US patent. Which is much the same situation as the original Wheatstone/Morse telegraph patents.

It's amazing that over 100 years later we still haven't solved this fundamental weakness of the patent system: in awarding the victor of a patent race all the spoils it hinders R&D as much as it helps.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (3, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17144348)

If you read the article you'd see that Swan's patent for his lamp differed from
Edison's in one VERY important detail. His bulb used a LOW resistance carbon rod
instead of Edison's HIGH resistance filament. This small detail made all the dirrerence
in the world, Edison's lamp was a pratical device while his was a laboratory demo.
Swan's lamp would NOT have been practical in commerical use for the same reason
that carbon arc lamps were not useful indoors. They were short lived, high current
devices.

This small difference between the two bulbs should have been enough for Edison to prevail
in a patent court case, but Edison wisely decided to not waste money on the lawyers.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (1)

xoyoyo (949672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145370)

Given that his patent was invalidated by the US Patent Office in 1883, it was indeed a wise decision not to waste money on lawyers.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146694)

It doesn't matter that Edison's design was superior, the fact is that he is not the inventor of the filament light bulb though he often gets the credit for it. A more accurate description would be the inventor of the first practical filament light bulb.

In contrast John Logie Baird is widely recognised as the inventor of television, even though his mechanical system was vastly inferior to the CRT design that became ubiquitous.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145098)

The solution is to find a better way of rewarding innovators than the present system of granting inventors a temporary monopoly over their invention in exchange for ultimately sharing their ideas with the world.

Re:Edison's patent rights? (3, Informative)

gordguide (307383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17147144)

The incandescent (1) light bulb was invented, apparently independently, all over the world at roughly the same time. Edison partnered with the holder of the UK patent (2), for example. Nor did Edison "invent" the light bulb; he bought the US patent from the inventors, two men from Toronto, Canada (3). Edison's company did, however, improve on all the light bulb prototypes, including the versions that existed in all the patent applications granted at the time, by making a filament that worked long enough to be useful (before Edison's improvements, a few hours), as well as other improvements that made manufacturing practical and prices low enough for the concept to begin being used in industry. Thomas Edison is given credit by popular and textbook history for much that he did not actually do. For example, most of the improvements were actually invented and patented by Edison's staff rather than the man himself (5). The only thing I find somewhat unfortunate is for some reason, all the great things Edison did are somehow not enough in the eyes of those who decided to make him a hero, and thus the embellishments. Personally, I find that he accomplished a great deal.

In the end, Edison was the one who either accumulated all the relevant patents or entered in joint ventures (eg with Swan) that enabled the light bulb to actually come to market. Personally, I see this as more important than whom the actual inventor(s) might be. Too bad history books need to tell these stories in two-sentence summaries and educators need to lecture in "sound bites".

(1) "incandescent" is an important part of the story; other forms of artificial light, including electric light (eg: arc lighting) (4) were well known and in some cases reasonably common for much of the 18th century. By reasonably common I mean that those who could afford them sometimes did; eg City of London and Gas Lighting. Significant patents were granted in Russia and I would not be surprised to learn of many more patents being granted elsewhere in Europe, possibly Australia and New Zeland, and who knows where else.

(2) John Swan, 1878, as others have mentioned.

(3) James Woodward, US Patent filed 1874, granted 1876. Woodward partnered with a Hotel owner, Matthew Evans, basically a source of funding, and the patent was granted to both of them. Between 1875, when Edison bought a half-share from Woodward (one quarter share of the patent) and 1885 Woodward, Evans, and all those whom they had partnered with, again as a source of funding, all sold their shares of the patent to Edison. This patent was invalidated in 1883 by the USPTO, citing Swan's prior art, despite Swan's actual patent coming after the Woodward & Swan patent. Oh, the joys of IP and Lawyers.

(4) Invented by Humphrey Davey, UK, 1809. Other electric lighting: Platinum filament within evacuated tube ( a vacuum is critical to the incandescent light's operation); 1820, Warren De La Rue. 1835, James Bowman Lindsay demonstrated, but never patented, an incandescent electric light. 1850, Edward Shepard, incandescent lamp with charcoal filament; pointing the way to carbonized filaments. 1854, in what some call the first "true light bulb", referring to the bulb instead of other constructions, a German inventor named Henricq Globel (nice name; should we be calling them GlowBells?) with carbonized bamboo filament inside a glass bulb. The Englshman Swan's light bulb had a filament that burned for 13 hours; Edison then made a 40 hour filament in 1879. The main improvement here was an improved vacuum; totally evacuating the air from the bulb. By 1880, Edison bulbs, going back to the carbonized bamboo filament of Globel, were lasting 1200 hours.

(5) Most of the Edison patents were granted to a black employee of Edison's, Mr. Lewis Latimer. (Naturally, just like today, when you perform "work for hire" the patents are the property of the employer). Latimer's patents include the various versions of Edison's carbon filaments, the screw socket, and much of Edison's manufacturing equipment such as the glass blowers, ovens, and chemical processes. Latimer also oversaw most of the early incandescent installations such as the public lighting systems in New York, Philadalphia, Montreal, London, etc.

Everything must go! (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145412)

Why buy just one lightbulb?!
Buy two get the third one free! Yes! You heard that correct, get the third one free!

Call now and get a first edition of Charles Darwins origin of species FREE!* Yes! FREE!**



* First five callers get a free copy. ** Buyer must pay delivery charge for free item. Terms and conditions apply.

Photos (1)

dale ohio (1035456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149632)

Does anyone have any links with some photos of these auction items?

Please don't smash these valuable antiquities (2, Funny)

raygunz (577841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17149760)

The Yahoo news headline about the auction of the bulbs said "Original Edison lightbulbs to go under hammer" My first thought was, "Don't smash 'em! They may not work too well but they're a valuable piece of history!"

I'd go for (1)

peetm (781139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17159402)

I think I'd go for the Feynman [christies.com] - Atomic Energy for Military Purposes. The Official Report on the Development of the Atomic Bomb Under the Auspices of the United States Government.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?