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E. Wickenden of the Case School of Applied Science recently put it, at least five thousand mi lion human s'aves in America—more than double the population of the whole earth! • it | p the abolition of machinery would enslave I mankind by thrusting back upon flesh and bicod the innumerable chores now performed by mechanical energy, may we not assume that the introduction cf machinery can bring great er freedom?” continued Dr. Compton. "I like to think that the great races—China and India, for example—with their underpriv ileged millions, may 3'et find away to larger life through labor-saving machines. No one imagines that the engineer, by the introduction of mere engines, can solve the intricate prob- * lems of politics, religion, custom, caste, pre- ' cedent —the complex of traditions which com plicate life for the submerged populations of these ancient lands. But assuredly the engi neer can help solve some of the economic prob lems. He can eliminate plague, banish fam ine, control floods. By raising the standard of living in these lands he can raise the demand for products of the machine and so enormously increase the markets of the world. “The paradox of overproduction in the Kan sas wheat fields and of underconsumption in China or in India or on the Bowery is not the fault of machinery. Rather it is the fault of our system of economic exchanges and or ganization by which wheat can rot in Kansas while men starve in Arkansas, just a few hun dred miles away. Going back to Athens and , Thebes will not adjust the faulty exchanges Dor restore the economic equilibrium.” Dr. Gilbert Murray of Oxford, who knows his Greece as few moderns know it, has ex pressed the contrast in these words: "The average clerk who goes to town daily, idly glancing at his morning newspaper, is probably a better behaved and an infinitely better in formed person than the average Athenian who sat spellbound at the tragedies of Aeschylus.” We crowd and elbow into our huge mechan ised cities, but, says Dr. Murray, the Greeks “lived in pretty little towns, like so many wasps’ nests, each at war with its next-door neighbor and half of them at war with them selves.” But is it not preferable to be a slave, and work and eat, than to be a free citizen, with no employment and no prospect of honestly eating except by the bounty of charity? This is what the issue hardens into, in some minds, at the prospect of this third-consecutive Winter of unemployment for millions. CERTAINLY the machine has displaced workers. Indeed, is not its prime purpose to save labor? Messrs. E. R. Weidlein and Wil liam A. Hamor of the Mellon Institute point out in their recently published book, "Science in Action,” that in some lines of industry machin ery has made 1 man as productive as 64 a few years ago. “The iron and steel industry produced 81 tons a year for each operator in 1879 and 1,250 tons a year for each operator in 1925. • • • Research Thomas Alva Edison as a Man, a Genius and a Myth BY JAMES WALDO FAWCETT. THOMAS ALVit EDISON, like Abraham Lincoln, in tribute to whom the phrase was originally used, belongs to the ages now. Time will have its way with him, and as his figure re cedes into the shadows its outlines will grow dim. Finally there will be only his name, a mere label, an impersonal thing, ac cepted, taken for granted, a commonplace de tail in the long history of human progress. Such is the fate of all great men, and Edison win not be exempt from the universal rule. But there Is, undoubtedly, an Edison legend which may survive more accurate representa tions of the inventor’s life and work, an Edi son myth which may replace more scientific conceptions of his personality. The romance Inherent in his career is so dear to the human heart that Edison the Wizard may be remem bered when Edison the Man has utterly dis appeared from recollection. This Edison created by popular imagination is “a culture hero” of the modem age. Like Apollo, St. George, Sieg fried and William Tell, he reproduces the chief virtues of an era, mirrors a national psy chology and expresses a national aspiration. Edison watched the growth of this gigantic prodigy and stood aghast at its dimensions. But as the years passed he gave up trying to do anything about it. He submitted to it. And the Wizard blithely outgrew the Man. SOME variations of the myth are exceedingly novel. For instance, there are those who believe that Edison was of Aztec descent. How the story started no one remembers, but it has been perennial. With clock-like regularity some one says that Edison had in his veins the imperial blood of Montezuma. Edison denied it, his family denied it, his friends denied it, but the myth persists. People wanted him to be an Aztec. It did not matter what he wanted. A contradictory legend has made him of Spanish origin. Perhaps his middle name is responsible for the idea. But he really was of Dutch extraction, and he was called Alva in courtesy to Capt. Alva Bradley, a friend of his father, not in remembrance of the noto rious duke who vainly tried to subdue the Low Countries. Edison was the seventh child of his parents, but the suggestion that he was "a seventh son” is Inaccurate and would have doubtful sig nificance if It were true. As a child the in ventor was frail and sickly, and the myth by which he was later on to be represented as a veritable monster of physical energy and strength bad no proper foundation in fact. The Edisons are a long-lived elan, but they do not have more than a normal quota of physical capital. Edison as a boy gave little promise of bis future eminence. A school Inspector considered hfcn “addled,” and people commented on the large size of his bead. He attended regular daeaM for only three months, and "that was TT?F SUNDAY STAR. WASHINGTON. D. C., OCTOFFR 25, T9?T. carried on by a manufacturer of small metal appliances enabled him to eliminate nine tenths of his labor requirements in preparing his product for finish.” Even the fish industry is going in for mass production and mechaniza tion: "One man. using an automatic fish-scal ing machine, can seal? about 40 fish a minute, regardless of their size, compared to about 3 fish a minute by hand operation.” In operating open-hearth furnaces 1 steel worker today, with machines. does the labor that a few years ago required 42 men. In ma chine shops, 1 man with semi-automatic ma chine tools can do the work of 25 with the old hand-controlled equipment. In the brick in dustry a machine now turns out 40,000 bricks an hour, whereas under handicraft methods one man in eight hours could make only 450 bricks. In the manufacture of boots and shoes, cites William Green, 100 machines have taken the places of 25,000 men, and in the manufacture of electric light bulbs there is a machine which turns out 73,000 bulbs in 24 hours, whereas as recently as 1918 one man a day could make only 40 bulbs. They call it "technological unemployment,” this effect of machinery in reducing the num ber of human units employed in a given in dustry. Os course, the charge is as old as the power machines themselves. Did not Har greaves, inventor of the spinning jenny, have to flee from the mob of displaced textile workers who broke into his home and smashed ma chines? And were not Stephencon and his suc cessors, the early pioneers of the steam rail road, the object of revilement and attack on the part of stagecoach drivers and canal boatmen? But technological unemployment is a tran sitory hardship, says Dr. Compton, and is com pensated for—in normal times—by the techno logical creation of new employment, "Thus, the railroads have multiplied opportunities for em ployment many times that afforded by the stage coaches and the canal boats; and so with other industries. "The United States census shows that dur ing the last 30 years, when the population of the country increased from 75,000,000 to 121,- 000,000, the percentage of the population gain fully employed remained constant at 39 per cent. The group employed in factories, how ever, increased from 6 to 7 per cent during this period, and factory wages increased 300 per cent. 11 /'~'LEARLY, the introduction of labor-saving machinery and methods, which was most rapid during the 30 years, has not on the whole displaced human workers, since the rec ord shows that the proportion of the population engaged in factory work has actually Increased. "What happened is this: Just as fast as a labor-saving device enabled one man to do the work which formerly required three workmen, his wages increased to the total amount former ly paid the three; and the other two workmen, thrown out of employment in that industry, found other employment in new industries which in the meanwhile had been created by scientific and engineering development. "The president of one of the largest of the American manufacturing concerns recently / The Great Inventor , IVho Died Last Sunday , tVas the Object of Legend and Romance as JVell as an Unwilling Culture Hero of the Modern Age, all the formal education he ever received.” Recent biographers have made much of what they term his “faculty of observation” as a lad, but this is just another myth. A story is told to the effect that he once sat on some goose eggs with the Intention of hatching goslings, and this is cited as evidence of his perceptive powers, whereas, of course, it is just the oppo site. Had the youthful Edison possessed the “faculty” attributed to him, he would almost surely have noticed that while geese may sit on eggs, little boys, being somewhat heavier in weight, do not. His mother is commonly represented as hav ing been friendly to her son’s tendency to "ex periment,” but in sober truth she had little patience with his "messes” and discouraged them with some violence. Edison himself al ways believed that he Inherited his talents in large part from his father. It Is true, how ever, that Mrs. Edison did give her boy some rudimentary instruction at home; she had been a school teacher, and she had the spirit to resent the notion that "little Al,” as he was called in the domestic environment, was in any way "addled.” There are several myths about Edison’s read ing as a boy. For example, it Is soberly claimed that before he was 12 he had gone through such solid works as Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and Hume’s "History of England.” A casual glance at these ponder ous tomes will prompt the opinion that "gone through” is merely a polite exaggeration. Lads of 12 may "go through” volumes of this kind, but to assert that they properly read or under* stand them is too romantic. The book which really did Influence Edison as a child was Parker’s "School, Philosophy,” with its dis cussion of elementary physics. THE legends about Edison’s deafness are legion in number; The facts were these: That a trainman none too gently lifted the boy out of a burning baggage car at Mount Clemens Station—lifted him out by the ears, according to one version of the story—cuffed him soundly about the head, according to an other. But there are people too imaginative to credit such a simple explanation. They insist that Edison’s deafness was cau.esd by a prema ture explosion of chemicals, by listening over long to his own phonograph, by listening to the incessant ticking of a telegraph instrument, by going without sufficient sleep, by falling down stain when exhausted from overwork, etc. And closely related with these notions is the compankm idea that the inventor found his stated that 30 per cent of his 1930 business was derived from products that were ue known 10 years Ego. The manufacture of these new products—ell of them fruits of scientific re search—provided employment for thousands of workmen. Many other establishments can tell the same story. "Radio is an example of what research and invention may do to create jobs. The whole business of broadcasting dates from 1920, and it is now a world-wide industry, with some hundreds of stations in the United States alone, each employing its corps of electricians and other skilled and unskilled workers In addi tion to the thousands indirectly employed—the makers, installers and servicers of radio sets. "One needs to go back only 50 years to span the whole development of the electric light, the telephone and the automobile. Undoubtedly the producers and distributors of kerosene, the postal and other communication services and the lost some business to the new contraptions, but the eventual gains In employment are many, many times the losses.” However, it does not fill an empty stomach in 1931 to assure the workman that these lapses are temporary. He may reflect that life Itself is temporary and may resent the suggestion that he be sacrificed on the altar of present unemployment for the future gain of posterity. Posterity is no more sacred nor privileged than its parents. And yet, isn’t it? Isn’t it almost instinctive with parenthood to assume for its children a better chance, more privileges, more opportuni ties, than the parent enjoyed? It is here, thinks Dr. Compton, that the machine has functioned with indubitable beneficence, for he sees the wider educational opportunities of the present as a direct result of the mechanization of In dustry. "Universal education came with the machine and is a fruit of the machine,” said Dr. Comp ton. "Under the old handicraft system children were early pushed out into common labor or apprenticed in the skilled trades. Child labor in the mills and factories had its prototype for centuries in child labor in the fields, mines, sculleries, shops. The idea of devoting 4 to 12 years of a child’s life —of every child’s life—to education did not come until the machine had economized labor and multiplied production so that there was a surplus, a margin which has freed the children.” But our educational system Itself Is under fire In some quarters, branded as mechanized, materialistic, barren. Count Keyserllng dashes through the'American scene and then, lecturing In Paris on the dominance of the machine age, characterizes the civilization of the United States as the “tragic misconception of the mod em epoch, traceable to a failure to recognise that man Is essentially spiritual.” H||K may be right,” answered Dr. Willis R. 11 Whitney, who Is In charge of research for the General Blectric Co., “but all former civilizations were still more tragic misconcep tions, If knowledge and truth are criteria. deafness a Messing. This was rankly false. But It Bad for Its basis the fact that Edison, always a cheerful soul, did not whine about his infirmity. When it pleased him so to do he would Joke about it, and some of his hearers took him seriously. There is mi anecdote to the effect that a man came to see him one day when he was past 60 years of age and promised to restore his hearing providing only that Edison would consent to obey orders in the matter of the technique of the cure. Edi son had no faith in the idea, but he did not quarrel with the stranger. He simply said: “I’m afraid you might succeed, and then think of all the nonsense I would have to listen to!” The man went out to tell the world that Edison did not want to hear, that ha considered his deafness an advantage. The truth is that Edi son really could hear very well on occasions when it would have pleased others for him to have been actually stone deaf. Like many other persons similarly afflicted, he had seasons when his hearing temporarily improved. At such times he could distinguish words spoken at a considerable distance. Some of his workmen once said in his presence, "He could hear all right if we asked him to have a drink.” Edison did hear them, and he turned around to say, “Yes, and I might accept.” Really his deaf ness bothered him a great deal. Any one who is deaf will understand this, for deafness does not mean silence; on the contrary, it all too often means constant noise. But the legend has amazing vitality. According to the myth makers, Edison enjoyed being deaf, and there is no use in arguing with them. The legend of Edison’s capacity to forego nat ural rest is perhaps among the best known of all the romantic ideas connected with his name. In respect to sleep he certainly was unorthodox. He had no patience with the rule that one should go to bed at some certain hour of the evening and remain there until some certain hour in the morning. But he did rest when he felt like resting, and he probably got as much real sleep as most other people. Sleeping for sleeping’s sake did not interest him, but his « capacity to keep awake for days at a stretch is an Invention in many ways as remarkable as any he himself created. nDISON’S deliberate preoccupation with elec tricity probably started the phrase, “Wizard of Menlo Park,” so long and so persistently used in describing him. Electricity, to use a commonplace, was three score years ago some thing so marvelous and so mysterious in Its “There never was a time when so many people In one nation, or so many nations in the world, were trying to advance. There never was ft time when technical and material progress was more constructively attempted and critically examined. There never was a time when any one’s efforts for good were so quickly and SO generally broadcast. There never was a time when youth was more earnest or fearless to seeking the essentials of truth. The accumu lated data of all material progress never were so great and never so uniformly appreciated. “Man is essentially spiritual,” concludes this researcher of electricity, “blit his tokens of value, his media of exchange, call for material— even mechanical—devices.” This means that “it is futile to expect ft world that is already enlightened to the ad vantages of material knowledge, mechanical substitutes for physical labor and the promts* of freedom for better growth in the future, to reduce its efforts or change its direction.” It does not mean, however, that we have ar rived. “Our international technical possibil ities are like the sinews of the child, not easily broken, but not yet tested or developed. Wa use radio for mere amusement and noisy ad vertising, our wealth for armies and scheme#' for destroying our neighbors. We cannot change at once, but we realize that there la ft gradual tendency to get together and live to peace.” The experimenting physicists, chemists and engineers have dene their part when they sup ply new or improved means of doing useful work better than it was even done before. But It cannot be said that the Industrial executive* have done their part fully until they have planned the use of these innovations, having to mind not only their own pocket books, but also the general good. The engineers realise this. A statement Just issued by a committee of the presidents of the national engineering societies, and published by the Engineering Foundation, says: “The painful present effects of our neglect of the Immaterial or spiritual consequences of our progress are demanding a reckoning.” Obviously, the problem is one for business and not for science. Undoubtedly hampering laws and restrictions have had a hand in bring ing about the present disorder. But the horse power of industry is not wild—the kilowatt* have conspired against no one—and the labor saving machine is not master nor slave, nor 1* It a weapon. It is a tool—a wealth gaining tool to be used. Until we come to some intelligent understand ing of who is to be included among the benefici aries of Its use. there will be Inevitable peaks of over production, slumps of underconsumption, unemployment, relief committees, bread lines, cycles of torture for millions. Hence the de mand, among the thoughtful ones, for a na tional Industrial program—yes, far even more, an international economic plan. For to the future to which the machine is bringing us, N th* whole earth is the field and must be regarded as a unit in orderly production and consump tion. J facts as well as In its elemental character that - naturally enough any one who did interesting things with it must be a magician. But Bdisoo himself never for a moment took any such poetic view of either himself or his enterprises. A man without pretense, he deplored those con ceptions of his personality which found expres sion in the word “genius.” To him, as to Hux ley, science was simply organised common sense; and his method was to follow the logic of his thought. Inspiration had little part in Ids endeavors. He was intensely realistic. “Geni uses,” he said, “are of two kinds—freaks and super-hard workers.” He spoke of himself as one of the latter class. For years he conscien ciously denied that he was a genius at all; later he gave up trying to escape the phrase. Mtoon the Genius and Alison the Wizard were cre ations of the popular mind. He waved no magic wand, he had no Jovian capacities. Ho was just a man, earnest, sincere, deliberate, direct and very patient. One more myth deserves to be mentioned. It has been estimated that the material value at his inventions exceeds fifteen billion dollars; and it has been supposed that Edison, there fore, must have had a tremendous personal fortune. For this reason thousands of people wrote to him for aid. He was a legitimate tar get for appeals for charity. But though he was comfortably circumstanced, he was never wealthy. The value of much of his work lay in its development or exploitation, not in its original performance. The carbon transmitter of the telephone, for instance, Alison is sup posed to have sold for SIOO,OOO, a relatively small sum. Those who manufactured and ap plied the Invention reaped a far larger profit from it. Edison did not pile up vast personal wealth, but neither did he suffer poverty. He probably received a more adequate return from his labors than any of his historic predecessors did from theirs. He lived in unpretentous com fort and was free to spend his time in the oc cupation he loved. He was a happy man. The world into which Edison was born was a world waiting to be filled with new values. How many of these he contributed is apparent from the fact that he held literally thousands of patents. These may be classified under the following headings: Moving pictures, telephones, electric railways, electric lighting and power, electrical supplies, phonographs, elec tric dynamos and motors, storage batteries, cement, telegraph and wireless telegraph. Take out of our modern life the telephone, the elec tric light, the radio, the phonograph, the mov ing picture and all their innumerable by products and we have left the world as Edison first knew It. To give us these things was hie business and his pleasure. Edison the man, as he knew himself and as his friends knew him, may fade; Edison the legend may replace Edison the worker. But the monuments he reared for himself, the prime values he added to life, will remain, and even If nothing but his name en- , dures in relation to them the mei* repetition of the word win be eternal tribute to his memory.