Thomas Edison’s Voice-Powered Sewing Machine (Phonometer) and Power Drill

Did you know that Thomas Edison, one of the world’s most prolific inventors, invented a sewing machine powered by human voice?

The idea was that pedaling the sewing machine was too exhausting, and women may have been able to sing instead to power their sewing machine. While the machine worked, and human voice and speech could indeed power the flywheel of this sewing machine, it was discovered that a loud consistent tone was often required to sustain the flywheel’s motion, and this, of course, was even more exhausting than pedaling. The machine was not a commercial success.

Edison had discovered the energy in human voice, and while this invention was not a commercial success, how fantastic of an idea it it to power things by human voice, even if we are to do so partially. Why not build hybrid machines, or batteries that can charge with human voice?

Something to think about for you future inventors reading¬†Stuff You Couldn’t Make Up.¬†phonometer human powered sewing machinesource


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