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托马斯·爱迪生在布隆克顿

2006-07-12 19:06

  Thomas Edison In Brockton

  As a young man, Edison had worked as an electrical technician for George Field_a distant relative and friend of Daniel Field's farther. Although the relationship between George Field and the often rash Edison had been notoriously strained, Daniel Field was one of the first to cordially welcome the now famous inventor to Brockton to construct his branch. It didn't take long, however , before the idealistic Field and the pragmatic3 Edison found themselves on a collision course on an issue that would make environmental history.

  Although he was a toughminded world class entrepreneur, Field was also a deeply committed, self-styled urban conservationist. “Somehow, he never had a problem in blending his lasting love of nature and community with his absolute faith in 'pure' capitalism.” He never wavered in his belief that “A city requires an abundance of natural and architectural beauty and goodness in order for its inhabitants to be truly happy.”

  One Edison's crew indicated that the branches of a number of the beautiful elm trees in the downtown area needed to be heavily trimmed to accommodate a 2000-foot extension cord, Field was asked to lead an opposition movement. Recalling how “decaying” layers of telegraph wires, arc light wires, and telephone wires were such a blight in New York City, Field and others argued that Edison was about to “introduce similar havoc” in Brockton.

  Regardless of the strong civic challenge led by the impassioned 28-year-old Field, Edison did not immediately change his plans. The cost of his Brockton branch of the Edison Ⅲuminating Light Company was over budgeted …… “The firm had already spent more than half firm had already spent more than half of its allotted resources on the facility.” Accordingly, he promptly dropped the issue into the hands of Garrison.

  Garrison was a highly articulate author and part-time actor. Edison greatly valued his unusual ability to win over an audience with humor and satire. On one occasion a group of local hecklers from the gas company tried to convince an audience that the “ mad wizard from New Jersey was about to blow up the whole village,” Garrison readily turned the tables and made them the laughing stock.

  Nonetheless, Garrison was hindered in his efforts to allay the local public's concern over the impact form Edison's proposed plan to use above-ground wiring. Field's warning that "…… a river of copper would cut through the branches of our ancient elm trees and eventually darken the blue sky over our beautiful village …“ was seared into the public mindset.

  The result was that, even though the decision involved a number of untested changes, Edison agreed to hide the one inch diameter cable at least 2 feet below ground. It was a decision that made his unique Brockton Standardized System even more singular than originally designed. For the first time in history, it combined the high energy efficiency associated with type H( three-wire) generation and distribution with the aesthetics associated with subterranean wiring.

  Finally, by mid-September of 1883, the remarkable Brockton operation was ready to go into service, The circuit, which involved 150 of Edison's lastes “600-hour 10-candle-watt bulbs,” was connected to more than a dozen retail establishments, including a barber shop and a popular billiard hall that had formerly used “buzzing and blinking” arc lights. On October 1, thirty-seven-year-old Edison and a troupe of famous associates arrived. By train, from Boston to oversee the first official use of “his latest and most remarkable contrivance.”

  By 5 P. M —even though the event had not been publicized — a relatively large crowd had gathered at the School plant. They anxiously watched as Edison and his assistants tinkered with the wires, batteries and huge dynamos. At 6:15 P.M., after being “ rather spontaneously introduced to the onlookers,” Edison stepped over to the panel and threw the master switch.

  托马斯·爱迪生在布隆克顿

  爱迪生年轻时,曾给乔治·菲尔德当过电工——他是丹尼尔·菲尔德父亲的一个远房亲戚和朋友。尽管乔治·菲尔德与常显鲁莽的爱迪生关系紧张,这是众所周知的了,可丹尼尔·菲尔德仍是最先热情欢迎这位于当时著名的发明家来布隆克顿组建分公司的人。然而没过多久,爱空想的菲尔德与务实的爱迪生就发现他们之间产生了分歧,而分歧焦点将会对生态的历史进程产生影响。

  尽管菲尔德是个坚强的一流企业家,他同时也是个忠实的,自封的城市自然资源保护主义者。“总之,他会将自己对自然和社区矢志不渝的热爱轻易地融入对'纯粹的资本主义'的绝对忠诚之内。对他的信念他从未动摇过,那就是:”一座城市需要丰富的自然与建筑协和统一的美,只有那样它的居民才能真正的幸福。

  一次跟爱迪生干活的人说城区有一片漂亮的榆树枝需要大规模剪枝以便能连接2000尺的延长线路,菲尔德就站出来反对了。当想到纽约电报线,弧光灯线,和电话线的架设者们对城市所带来的损害时,菲尔德和他人争辩说,爱迪生要给布隆克顿“带来相同的破坏。”

  尽管遭到情绪激昂的28岁的菲尔德所引发的强烈反对,爱迪生并没有立即改变计划。他在布隆克顿的爱迪生照明灯具公司分部的建设费用已超出预算…“该公司在设施上花费的调拨资源已经过半。”因此,他立刻把这个难题交给了加里森。

  加里森是个极有辩才的作家及兼职演员。爱迪生对他以幽默和讽刺赢得观

  众的超人能力倍加赞赏。一次,一群从煤气公司来的当地捣乱分子企图煸动观众相信“从新泽西来的发疯的巫师要炸毁整个村镇,”加里森敏捷地扭转了局面并使这帮人成为笑柄。

  尽管如此,对于爱迪生提出的使用接地线的计划给当地公众带来的冲击,加里森尚无法顺利平息这种情绪。菲尔德的警示“…一条铜河会穿越我们古老的榆树枝,最终将染黑我们美丽的村庄上空的蓝天…”已深深烙在公众的心中。

  工程结果,尽管含有一些未经测试的改动,爱迪生还是同意将直径一寸的电缆埋在地下至少两英尺处。这个决定使他独特的布隆克顿标准系统比最初设计的更加独特。这在历史上是首次,既要用H型(三根线)来产生高能效,又要在地下布线使之符合美学。

  终于,在 1883年的9月中旬,引人注目的布隆克顿业务准备投入运营了。整个线路,包括150只爱迪生最新的“照明600小时10根蜡烛能量的灯泡,”连接了超过十二个的零售店铺,包括一间理发馆和一家受欢迎的台球厅,此前它们使用的是“阴暗、兹兹响 的”弧光灯。十月一日,三十七岁的爱迪生和一班有名的同事们从波士顿乘火车到此,前来观看首次正式启用的“他的最新、最引人注目的发明物。”

  下午5点——即使这件事没有被公开——还是有相当多的一群人围在校办工厂前。他们焦急地看着爱迪生和他的助手们笨拙地捋着电线,装着电池和巨大的发电机。6点15分,爱迪生“被自发地介绍给观众”后,他迈向配电板并打开了总电闸。

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