DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A collection of items tied to famed inventor Thomas Edison, such as lightbulbs, court evidence, and the keys to the laboratory where he invented the phonograph, sold for a combined $64,375 at an auction Saturday held by Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
The keys were to Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
“These bulbs were entered as evidence when Edison sued three different companies for allegedly infringing on his patent for the incandescent bulb,” said Don Ackerman, a consignment director for Historical Americana for Heritage Auctions. “Edison’s own keys were used to open the doors of his laboratory was where the genius earned his nickname as “The Wizard of Menlo Park.”
One of the bulbs in the collection was created by German inventor Heinrich Göbel who claimed to have invented the incandescent lightbulb in 1868, which was years before Edison did in 1879.
Göbel’s bulb along with documentation sold for $23,750.
Göbel did not apply for patent but served as a star witness against Edison when Edison sued three manufacturers of incandescent lamps who he claimed infringed against his bulb patents.
The collection of five bulbs used in the court case sold for $30,000.
“Both ‘original’ Goebel lamps and reproductions were offered as exhibits, but there was no proof that any of them were made prior to 1880,” said Ackerman. “This tactic by defense attorneys became known as the “Goebel Defense” and it has since been used in other similar cases.”
The keys to Edison’s laboratory in Menlo Park sold for $10,625.
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