Editor's note: The following is the 10th in a series of posts on
the historical record that can be tracked through U.S. coins. The
subject is the cover story of our July monthly issue.
To read other stories in the series, click here.
No inventor may have had a broader effect on modern life than Thomas
Proceeding from the phonograph, stock ticker, motion picture camera
and long-lasting electrical light bulb, Edison’s imprint is felt in
nearly every home in America.
The “Wizard of Menlo Park” received more than 1,000 patents for his
inventions, which helped establish multiple industries across various
platforms. There are detractors, however, who point out other
contributors to the sciences, and electricity specifically, that are
overlooked (like Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse).
In 2004, the U.S. Mint issued a silver dollar in celebration of the
125th anniversary of Edison’s first successful light bulb, which was
developed in 1879.
An image of the inventor appears on the obverse of the coin, with
his light bulb on the reverse.
Besides war and inventions, American coinage reflects also the
societal and cultural changes that have shaped the nation for the past century.