Jay Monroe, who invented the Tensor lamp, dies at 80.Mr. Monroe took a 12-volt automobile parking light bulb and stuck it into a reflector made from an ordinary kitchen measuring cup. He fixed the cup to a metal tube that was attached to a transformer, which reduced 115-volt house current to 12 volts. The current powered the small bulb, increasing the filament temperature and producing a brighter, whiter light. Because of the small bulb, the entire lamp could be made smaller, with a light-directing shade no more than two inches wide, focusing the bright beam onto a small area.
His other inventions included "an early telephone answering machine, a metal tennis racket, a disposable flashlight, a light bulb made to last for three years, a machine to remove indoor pollution and an electric pencil sharpener." He also developed a tennis ball sans fuzz, which, despite the promise of lasting longer, the product was not a success. We might suggest that success was denied by the millions of dogs who take pleasure in removing the fuzzy layer themselves!
Steve Portigal is the founder of Portigal Consulting. In the past 15 years Steve has interviewed families eating breakfast, rock musicians, credit-default swap traders, and radiologists. His work has informed the development of music gear, wine packaging, medical information systems, corporate intranets, videoconferencing systems, and iPod accessories. Steve is an accomplished presenter who speaks about culture, innovation, and design at companies like eBay, Adobe, Nokia, Hewlett-Packard, and Dolby Laboratories. He has a graduate degree in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Guelph and is an avid photographer who has a Museum of Foreign Groceries in his home.
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