Edison—one of several names that matter

When you think of electricity the name Edison might come to mind.

He’s the man credited with harnessing current (not as in “timely” but the science behind it) electricity in the manner to become widely used (over 70% of the market) and affordable. It was 1878 when Edison produced the incandescent light bulb affordable to the general population that would replace the gaslight. Edison’s hairpin filament bulb (1888) features the screw-type base we still use today.

The man had a lot of ideas and a record number of patents for his work (over 1,000) for inventions including the phonograph (record player) and the first motion picture cameras plus the alkaline battery.

But Edison wasn’t the only player in the electrical sphere. Most we’ve never heard of including:

  • As far back as the mid-1600s, Otto Von Guericke created the first static electricity generator using a ball of sulfur.
  • Alessandro Volta (b. 1745; d. 1827) invented the electric battery providing the first source of continuous current.
  • Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology. (Tesla is not related to Elon Musk by DNA but the electric vehicle called the Tesla is named for Nikola Tesla of which Musk is a co-founder.)
  • Kim Gerard spent 20 years in the petroleum industry before retiring to start 360 Electrical (headquartered in Salt Lake City) where she came up with the idea of a rotating outlet to ensure that bulky plugs can ft together. Today 360 offers multiple product lines including cords, strips, taps, mobile, smart, and heavy duty. Kim has moved on from electrical inventions to pursue her next passion: physical fitness.

Mankind continues to pursue new ideas in electrical devices or systems.

22 System—a round wall outlet that is plateless—was conceptualized by Omer Arbel and launched in 2007 by BOCCI, a design/manufacturing firm in Vancouver and Berlin. Honored with a 2009 Red Dot Award, a Yellow Pencil Yearbook Entry and iF Design Award, these outlets are used in high-end residential and commercial projects.

CoverPlug was invented by Steve and Ann Moore as a protective device to deter children from outlets. The cover plate is a blank plate, easily removed by an adult but not a child. It outpaces the current child outlet protector inserts in both safety and looks.

Allstar Founder Gary Stone fondly refers to his techs as “Sparky” sometimes. That’s an electrical term used pervasively (and positively) in the industry. Interestingly, there’s a Spark Museum in Bellevue, WA dedicated to the history of all things electrical. Visit www.sparkmuseum.org and be sure to contact the pros at Allstar Electrical for your electrical needs at home and for your commercial buildings.