Address of President Hoover

October 21, 1929
Entire Report

Fellow Country Men and Women:

This ceremony is a part of the celebration of Mr. Edison's invention of the electric lamp. It is also the dedication of the Edison Institute of Technology, the gift of Mr. Ford. Both arc in fact national tributes to Mr, Edison.

The multiplication of the amount of light in the world a thousandfold is worthy of celebration, for darkness is a forbidden limitation upon righteous human activities.

When Mr. Edison invented the electric lamp he may perhaps have thought just to produce plain light and more of it at less cost. I surmise that his wildest ambition was to relieve the human race from the curse of always cleaning oil lamps, scrubbing up candle drips, and everlastingly carrying one or the other of them about. He may have thought to add safety to Chicago against a second accident from an oil lamp. But the electric lamp has found infinite variety of unexpected uses. It enables us to postpone our spectacles for a few years longer; it has made reading in bed infinitely more comfortable; by merely pushing a button we have introduced the element of surprise in dealing with burglars; the goblins that lived in dark corners and under the bed have now been driven to the outdoors; evil deeds which inhabit the dark have been driven back into the farthest retreats of the night; it enables the doctor to peer into the recesses of our insides; it substitutes for the hot-water bottle in aches and pains; it enables our cities and towns to clothe themselves in gaiety by night, no matter how sad their appearance may be by day. And by all its multiple uses it has lengthened the hours of our active lives, decreased our fears, replaced the dark with good cheer, increased our safety, decreased our toil, and enabled us to read the type in the telephone book. It has become the friend of man and child.

In making this, as in his other great inventions, Mr. Edison gave an outstanding illustration of the value of the modern method and system of invention, by which highly equipped, definitely organized laboratory research transforms the raw material of scientific knowledge into new tools for the hand of man.

In earlier times, mechanical invention had been the infrequent aud haphazard product of genms in the woodshed. But science had become too sophisticated a being to be wooed in such surroundings. Nowadays a thousand applied science laboratories, supported by industries of our country, yearly produce a host of new inventions.

I can perhaps illustrate this modern method of invention. The fundamental natural laws of electricity were discovered three-quarters of a century ago by Faraday, Hertz, Maxwell, and other great inves

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Hoover, Herbert
Dec. 03, 1929  Message of the President of the United States
Dec. 03, 1929  Message of the President of the United States
Nov. 29, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Nov. 11, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Oct. 21, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Jul. 24, 1929  Address of President Hoover
May 30, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Memorial Exercises at Arlington National Cemetary
Apr. 22, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Annual Luncheon of the Associated Press at New York City
Powers and History of the Presidency