Truly remarkable vintage pearl-finish 5.25 x 7.25 photo of Edison cradling one of his batteries in his lap, affixed to a 6.75 x 10 mount, beautifully signed in fountain pen on the mount, “I believe time will prove that the Alkaline Storage battery will produce important changes in our present transportation systems. Thomas A. Edison.” Edison has signed with a particularly robust ‘umbrella’ signature. Pencil notation on reverse of mount reads, “Property of W. E. Holland, May 4, 1911.” In clean, fine condition, with scattered silvering to image, visible only at an angle, a few light scuffs to right side of image, and a few chips to edges of mount. Accompanied by an 8x10 unsigned portrait of Holland, also an advertisement from The Literary Digest, dated May 10, 1930, featuring Holland as the chief engineer for RCA talking about their new bulbs, and two books written by Holland, The 1910 Edison Storage Battery and an autobiography called Reflections from 1965 about his days working with Edison.
Walter E. Holland is closely associated with Edison's work on the battery. He was appointed Chief Electrical Engineer of the Edison Storage Battery Company in January of 1911, a position that set him in charge of the engineering, research, testing and service departments. Holland had great respect for Edison, having begun working at the company right after high school. In 1910, he would publish his lab reports in The 1910 Edison Storage Battery: A Test of the Edison Storage Battery.
Edison passionately believed in the power and usefulness of the alkaline battery. An avid automobile enthusiast, his initial inspiration behind the creation of the battery was to power an electric propulsion vehicle with a light-weight storage battery that would prove more efficient than the conventional lead-acid storage batteries. After a decade of research and development, Edison had his battery, but was too late to apply it to his initial subject; by the late 1890s, internal combustion engines ruled the automotive market. Regardless, a variety of very profitable uses were found for his latest innovative offering, including the lighting of railway cars and signals, maritime buoys, and miners lamps. This invention would prove to be Edison’s most lucrative yet, as the alkaline battery would grow to become one of the world’s most commonly used energy sources, even today. An exceedingly scarce and outstanding piece, featuring a bold prediction of success that would come to fruition in such different ways than its inventor could ever have dreamed. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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