Wrought Iron, One of Thomas Edison’s Failures

Thomas Edison certainly has a big place in our history books with so many innovations. Despite how many things Mr. Edison was successful with, he also had a few let downs in his successful career. He worked tirelessly for years trying to find a way to excavate iron ore. While he was very successful in his many inventions including: the phonograph, electricity and the light bulb, motion pictures, and many others. He actually has over one thousand patents registered.

Iron ore mining was something he worked trying to find a good solution for, for the duration of more than ten years and he even sold his stock in his company General Electric to fund his efforts.

Why iron ore?

Wrought iron is a very valuable product and very easy to mine in pure form. Mr. Edison would have been very wealthy if he had found a way to excavate iron ore. It was his entrepreneurial spirit and the vision of new enterprise, invention and jobs that likely fueled his efforts. Pure iron isn’t easy to manipulate into other items and turns grey after coming in contact with oxygen. Many different methods and experiments were performed in an effort to extract it for steel mills and a large staff was under Mr. Edison’s supervision. He became very determined to find a way to be successful in this and spent a massive amount of funds in these efforts.

Although Mr. Edison’s other inventions were very successful, the loss of GE stock and many years must have taken their tool. America needed steel but it was very expensive. Steel production was very expensive and Thomas Edison’s efforts to capitalize on a cheaper way to produce it would have meant a great deal to the American economy. When large amounts of iron ore were discovered in the great lakes region in 1844, it proved to be very positive for Pennsylvania and they became the main supplier for the U.S.

How iron extraction changed the U.S. economy

Thomas Edison’s steel production dreams were accomplished by Henry Bessemer of Britain who developed iron smelting procedures that allowed for vast productions of steel. This process is not yet obsolete but Abram S. Hewitt expanded upon those processes to further develop better ways to mine iron ore in an even more efficient way that allowed for mass change in manufacturing abilities. Lowering the cost of producing steel was detrimental to the American automotive industry and the new processes proved to be very beneficial to the American economy.