6 Pages

The medium of invention: Edison and G.B. Shaw

If the science of alchemy was pressed into the service of making gold, or, in Faust, of producing paper money, “new” science inventions sought the paper money of the patent. During roughly the same period as Mme. Blavatsky’s free performances of phenomena, others were racing to patent their inventions. In 1877, Edison filed a patent for the phonograph-the record of the human voice. In 1876, Bell’s invention of the telephone created a public sensation at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, but it was Edison who filed several patents on his elements within the telephone. It seems Edison could “own” the mode of transmission and archive of the voice.