Ernest Freeberg: "The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America"

Ernest Freeberg: "The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America"

A historian places Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb in the context of a period of intense technological creativity in the U.S. More than any other invention, he argues, electric light ushered in modernity.

Thomas Edison is widely remembered as the man who invented the light bulb. As with many singular events, there's much more to the story, and a new book places the invention in the context of the time. In the mid-19th century the U.S. was in a period of intense technological creativity. Edison and a team of high-level assistants at his New Jersey laboratory benefited from a vibrant exchange of ideas among scientists in the U.S. and across the Atlantic. When Edison finally unveiled the incandescent light bulb in 1879, Americans witnessed the birth of a new age. Diane and her guest discuss how an invention we take for granted today transformed American life.

Guests

Ernest Freeberg

history professor at the University of Tennessee and author of "The Education of Laura Bridgman" and "Democracy's Prisoner."

Slideshow: The Age Of Edison

Photos from "The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America" by Ernest Freeberg. All rights reserved.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from "The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America" by Ernest Freeberg. Copyright © 2013 by Ernest Freeberg. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Press HC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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