Celebrating Thomas Edison’s Birthday

Thomas Edison in 1887 signed photo University ProductsToday, electric light bulbs, recorded music, and motion pictures are so integrated into our daily lives that we take them for granted. We can thank Thomas Edison for these revolutionary inventions. He was one of American history’s most prolific inventors having 1,093 US patents bearing his name. He would be celebrating his 165th birthday on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

Edison was born and raised in Michigan, but by the 1870’s, he made the home of his inventions and research in Menlo Park, N.J. This facility was an innovation in itself as it was the first research laboratory of its kind stressing teamwork and scientific collaboration. The Menlo Park lab was built with the money Edison received from Western Union for selling his quadruplex telegraph in 1874. The entire lab was relocated and can be currently seen in Greenfield Village, part of The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.

thomas edison signed photo in polyester sleeve by university productsEdison’s additional inventions include the phonograph, electric light bulb, kinetoscope, and the carbon telephone transmitter among over a thousand others. The transmitter was still being used in telephones until 1980. Edison also helped advance film-making by pioneering the practice of copying films and widely distributing them. In an effort to better protect his copyrights and to ensure preservation of the films, Edison deposited prints of them on long strips of photographic paper with the U.S. Copyright Office.

University Products proudly owns several photographs of Edison, signed by the man himself, and we featured one of them on the cover of our catalog a few years ago. To protect your own photographic treasures, polyester sleeves offer a great storage solution. Our hand-held magnifiers with LED illumination give you an opportunity to get a closer look at your photos, and our white cotton gloves are essential in the handling of your collection.

Happy Birthday Mark Twain

Archives and Rare books, Mark Twain first editions, first printing, University of Cincinnati
Mark Twain first editions, first printing, Archives and Rare books, University of Cincinnati

Today, on the 176th birthday of one of the America’s most famous and mysterious authors of all time, we would like to talk to you about book preservation. Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, left numerous letters, writings, photographs and artifacts that are lovingly preserved in several collections around the country. We are fortunate enough to be located half an hour from Mark Twain’s amazing Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT.

Some of Mark Twain’s collections are being carefully and meticulously digitized. The Mark Twain Project and others, like his Childhood House and Museum Collection in Hannibal, Missouri, are dedicated to preserving priceless objects that used to belong to Twain and his family.

First Editions of Twain’s world-famous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are extremely valuable and some are even signed. Storage and conservation of rare books needs to be done with extreme care. Antique tomes’ spines can become damaged from exposure to the elements, improper storage practices as well as regular wear-and-tear. Using Adjustable Rare Book Boxes will ease the pressure on the spine and the book can be well preserved while stored either horizontally or vertically. Ripped off spines can be reattached using Spine Repair Tape.
Pressure Sensitive Mending Tissue is perfect for repairing torn or brittle pages.

We have collected some wonderful resources to help you identify, care for and preserve the literary treasures you may possess. Please feel free to download these PDF files on Care And Security Of Rare Books, How To Care For Bound Archival Materials, and What Makes A Book Rare? and read a comprehensive article on Display and Storage of Books. University Products offers numerous products, tools and literature for Rare Book Conservation.

Silent film of Mark Twain at “Stormfield”, Redding, CT 1909 (by Thomas Edison), courtesy of Online Archives and University of Cincinnati: