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[Thomas Edison quote]

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15:50 Oct 28, 2006
German to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - History
German term or phrase: [Thomas Edison quote]
"Wenn es jemandem gelänge, die Bibliotheken und sämtliche Bücher zu vernichten – dreißig Jahre später könnte kein Schlosser mehr auch nur eine Schraube anziehen", schreibt Thomas Edison, der Erfinder der Glühbirne. Das Bild zeigt ihn in seiner Bibliothek mit dem vom ihm erfundenen Diktiergerät, etwa um 1920.

Does anybody know the original quote?
United States
Local time: 16:04

Summary of answers provided
3 +1s.u.
Bernhard Sulzer

Discussion entries: 3



5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1

Only find German references, one of them (just) attributing the quote to Edison (wikiquote):

here is my English rendering:

Should anyone (ever) succeed in destroying all libraries and books - 30 years later, not one mechanic will be able to (just) fasten a screw.

Today we might say - ...not one person will be able to (just) screw in a light bulb.

Note added at 5 hrs (2006-10-28 21:34:03 GMT)

or..every single library and book...

Note added at 6 hrs (2006-10-28 21:56:01 GMT)

PS: I don't expect any points - it's just a suggestion.

Bernhard Sulzer
United States
Local time: 17:04
Works in field
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Astrid Elke Witte: Excellent rendering, except that "just" should read "even" (on both occasions).
1 hr
  -> thank you Astrid, yes, "even" sounds much better
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20 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5

"If someone were to destroy all libraries and books - thirty years later not even a locksmith would be able to insert a screw"

Like the above, have tried to find the original English of this "quotation" and am unable to find one single reference to it - this is a slightly more literal (and maybe less imaginative) suggestion

United Kingdom
Local time: 22:04
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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