Perseverance: Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult. Cub Scouts will discover that they need to try and try again to master a skill such as knot tying. As they work hard for advancement, they will recognize in themselves and in others the quality of perseverance..
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Thomas A. Edison
Many thanks to Pat Hamilton of Baltimore Area Council and Jim Jones, of Great Salt Lake Council, both long time friends of mine, for putting the last two issues together
Well my stay here in Vicksburg, MS, is about over and I will be back in NJ be May 8 or so. Sorry I never made a RT down here but my schedule at Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant kept me hopping. CD
When he was a young boy, Thomas Edison’s parents pulled him out of school after teachers called him “stupid” and “unteachable.” Edison spent his teenage years working and being fired from various jobs, culminating in his termination from a telegraph company at age 21. Despite these setbacks, Edison never deterred from his true passion, inventing. Throughout his career, Edison obtained 1,093 patents. And while many of these inventions -- such as the light bulb, stock printer, phonograph and alkaline battery -- were groundbreaking, even more of them were unsuccessful. Edison is famous for saying that genius is “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Of course, Edison's most famous invention to come out of Menlo Park was the light bulb. Edison didn't invent electric lights--there were arc lights already, which were similar to today's street lights. They were very, very bright so people didn't want them inside their houses. At home, people used gas lights, but their open flames were dangerous and they flickered a lot.
Edison didn't just invent a light bulb, either. He put together what he knew about electricity with what he knew about gas lights and invented a whole system of electric lighting. This meant light bulbs, electricity generators, wires to get the electricity from the power station to the homes, fixtures (lamps, sockets, switches) for the light bulbs, and more. It was like a big jigsaw puzzle--and Edison made up the pieces as well as fitted them together.
One tough piece was finding the right material for the filament--that little wire inside the light bulb. He filled more than 40,000 pages with notes before he finally had a bulb that withstood a 40 hour test in his laboratory. In 1879, after testing more that 1600 materials for the right filament, including coconut fiber, fishing line, and even hairs from a friend's beard, Edison and his workers finally figured out what to use for the filament--carbonized bamboo.
The first large-scale test of the system in the United States took place when Edison’s Pearl Street station in New York City’s financial district sent electricity to lights in 25 buildings on September 4, 1882.
One of Edison’s greatest stories of perseverance occurred after he was already wildly successful. After inventing the light bulb, Edison began a quest to find an inexpensive light bulb filament. At the time, ore was mined in the Midwest, and shipping costs were incredibly high. To combat this, Edison opened his own ore-mining plant in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. For roughly a decade, Edison devoted all his time and money to the plant. He also obtained 47 patents for inventions designed to make the plant run more smoothly. And after all of that, Edison’s project still failed thanks to the low quality ore on the East Coast.
But as it turned out, one of the aforementioned 47 inventions (a newly-designed crushing machine) revolutionized the cement industry and earned Edison back nearly all of the money he lost. In addition, Henry Ford would later credit Edison’s Ogdensburg project as the main inspiration for his Model T Ford assembly line, and many believe that Edison paved the way for modern-day industrial laboratories. Edison’s foray into ore-mining proves that dedication and commitment can pay off even in a losing venture.
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I took Thomas Edison 3,000 attempts to create the light bulb. When asked about it years later, he stated, "I didn't fail 3,000 times. I found 3,000 ways how not to create a light bulb." Mr. Edison's logic is profound, enlightening and liberating; it gives us permission to try new things without fearing that it won't go well. It allows us to try and try again.
"The electric light has caused me the greatest amount of study and has required the most elaborate experiments..Although I was never myself discouraged or hopeless of its success, I cannot say the same for my associates..Through all of the years of experimenting with it, I never once made an associated discovery. It was deductive.The results I achieved were the consequence of invention - pure and simple. I would construct and work along various lines until I found them untenable. When one theory was discarded, I developed another at once. I realized very early that this was the only possible way for me to work out all the problems.
From "Edison The Man And His Work"
by George S. Bryan 1926