The Sound of One Hand Sketching

At right, the drawing credited as being the first visualization of the phonograph. After making this sketch, Thomas Alva Edison reportedly handed it to his head engineer, John Kreusi, and simply said, "Make this."

An excellent book by William S. Pretzer, "Working At Inventing," illustrates the physical and pictorial evolution from concept to creation in a chapter titled "Drawing As A Means of Inventing."

The extraordinary Edison National Historic Site -- in West Orange, NJ -- which includes the inventor's famous laboratory, library and revolving movie studio (The Black Maria), has recently reopened after decades of renovation. For me, growing up in New Jersey, there was no more magical place: a design, history and science lover's Disneyland.

Selected Reading