40 More Critical Moments In American Business History

1. 1606: The Virginia Company is formed to seek profit from a new business: American settlement.

2. 1612: John Rolfe plants West Indian tobacco in Virginia, the cash crop that assures the colony’s success.

3. 1614: John Smith, finding no gold, sets his men to fishing for cod off New England, pointing the way to the area’s first economic mainstay. Read more »

10 Moments That Made American Business

How a debt-ridden banana republic became the greatest economic engine the world has ever known

It has been 400 years since European settlement began in what is now the United States. In that time a land occupied by a few million Neolithic hunter-gatherers has been transformed into the mightiest economy ever known, producing nearly one-third of the world’s goods and services. There are few economic sectors indeed, from agricultural exports to jet-aircraft production to entertainment, in which the United States does not lead.

Read more »

Florida: Fort Myers, Sanibel

To Plan a Trip

For help organizing your visit, call the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (888-231-6933) or visit its Web site, www.fortmyers-sanibel.com . Julie and Mike Neal’s Sanibel & Captiva: A Guide to the Islands is an excellent book to keep at hand; in addition to covering hotels and restaurants, it has chapters on identifying shells and birds. Edison’s house is now open after a major restoration; visit the Web site, www.edison-ford-estate.com .Read more »

Spring Break

Wildlife, Shells, and Thomas Edison’s Laboratory

 

The best family vacations combine mind-improving visits to museums and historic houses with enough recreation to keep the kids happy; the older and moodier your children grow, the more carefully you choose and apportion your ingredients.

Last April my husband, Kevin, and I took our two teenage boys to Lee County, Florida. A visit to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates would be the educational uplift, relaxing on Sanibel Island the reward.Read more »

Technology

The literature pants harder and harder to keep up with the dazof the innovations, but with a gun to my head this for the general reader looking for a short list of Jt are technically sophisticated yet comprehensible and the sense of being highly readable.

Steamboats Come True: American Inventors in Action Read more »

The Wizard Of Your Christmas Tree

THOMAS EDISON’S GIFT TO THE SEASON

The days were growing. shorter as the Christmas season of 1880 drew near. Many American families planned to decorate Christmas trees—a German custom that, although it had begun to catch on only a generation earlier, was spreading year by year. But travelers on the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early darkness of approaching winter were excited about a lighting display such as the world had never seen.

 
Read more »

Thomas Edison’s Deadly Game

It changed the course of capital punishment in America

Capitalism sometimes operates in unexpected ways and turns up in unexpected places. It can even be involved in what has been, legally, a monopoly of the state since the time of King Henry II—capital punishment.

Capital punishment has been much in the news lately. Its use has been increasing rapidly in this country in recent years. The number of people on death row, more than 3,500 currently, has been climbing steadily. Several states that abolished the death penalty in earlier years have reinstituted it. Read more »

Learning To Go To The Movies

The great democratic art form got off to a very rocky start. People simply didn’t want to crowd into a dark room to look at a flickering light, and it took nearly twenty years for Americans and motion pictures to embrace each other.

On July 5, 1896, the Los Angeles Times greeted the imminent arrival of Thomas Alva Edison’s moving-picture projector with enormous enthusiasm: “The vitascope is coming to town. It is safe to predict that when it is set up at the Orpheum and set a-going, it will cause a sensation as the city has not known for many a long day.” Read more »

The Power Of Patents

For two hundred years the United States patent system has defined what is an invention and protected, enriched, and befuddled inventors. As a tool of corporate growth in a global economy, it is now more important than ever.

In a decision of far-reaching significance, a federal circuit court in 1985 ruled that the Eastman Kodak Company had infringed the instant-camera patents held by Polaroid. The court ordered Kodak to cease making and selling its own instant camera, a product on which Kodak had sunk many millions of dollars in an effort to beat out Polaroid and bolster its position as a camera and film manufacturer.Read more »

The Sound Of Silents

The men and women who labored in the ghostly light of the great screen to make the music that accompanied silent movies were as much a part of the show as Lillian Gish or Douglas Fairbanks

If I ever kill anyone,” D. W. Griffith once exclaimed, “it won’t be an actor but a musician.” He had been arguing with Joseph Carl Breil, his collaborator on the score for The Birth of a Nation. Griffith wanted to change some of the notes in the music they were planning to borrow, and Breil was outraged. “You can’t tamper with Wagner!” he cried.Read more »