100 Days Until Totality! 61 Days Left – The Last Great Wyoming Eclipse: Part 1

Out on the east coast in 1878, a great and renowned inventor by the name of Thomas Edison was developing a new project to test. What he lacked was the perfect opportunity to perform an experiment on his temperature-measuring device, the tasimeter. With a little bit of good news and encouragement from a friend, Edison was convinced he had to travel to Rawlins, Wyoming to test the capabilities of the tasimeter during the last “Great Wyoming Eclipse”.

Henry Draper’s Eclipse Party (Thomas Edison – second from the right)
Courtesy: Carbon County Museum

A couple weeks before the day of the eclipse, Edison joined up with a group of scientists led by a man named Henry Draper. Together they departed by train and journeyed westward. Upon arriving, the men spent each day waiting and aligning their goals for the eclipse. Draper’s was to be the first to photograph the sun’s corona during totality and Edison was hoping another of his inventions would pave the way in history. On the day of the eclipse, Draper was successful in his goal of capturing the beautfy of the sun’s corona and left the very next day. On the other hand, the temperature changes were too powerful during the eclipse for Edison’s tasimeter to work properly, and ultimately the invention was a flop. Don’t feel too bad for Edison though. Despite the setback, Edison was able to cut his losses and stayed out in the west coast for a month longer. Then, just a year after he witnessed the solar eclipse, Edison made history with his most well-known invention known today, the electric lightbulb!


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