Revealed: Thomas Edison Shocks World With 1904 “Electric Automobile” Patent
In 1904, Thomas Edison shocked the world with his “Electrical Automobile” patent.
In fact, Edison held a number of patents related to the electric vehicle, including Electric Generator or Motor (1884), a Means for Propelling Electric Cars (1891), a Reversible Galvanic Battery (1900), an Electrode for Batteries (1901), an Alkaline Battery (1904), and an Electrical System for Automobiles (1912).
Edison’s patent on a Means for Propelling Electric Cars (1891) related more to trolleys than automobiles, but his general description laid the groundwork for his 1904 Electric Automobile Patent.
Here’s an excerpt from Edison’s Means for Propelling Electric Cars:
The combination of an electric motor, an armature having a driving-shaft, a sprocket-wheel thereon, one or more idle-pulleys supported by the field magnet of the motor, a sprocket-chain passing around said wheel and idle-pulleys, and a driven sprocket-wheel outside of the chain and in engagement therewith…
Edison famously stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Well, his Electric Automobile patent resulted in an electric vehicle that worked. So, here we present his patent filing it in all its glory. Note that his patent describes a vehicle that functions somewhat similar to today’s extended-range electric vehicles.
Edison’s patent was, without a doubt, ahead of its time. Enjoy this archived relic of the past.