The American inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was among the most prolific inventors of his time. Edison's inventions demonstrate his ability to find practical applications for scientific theories; they include the telegraph transmitter and receiver for Western Union (c. 1877), the phonograph (patented 1878), and the first commercially viable electric lamp (1879). By the time of his death, Edison had acquired over 1,300 patents and had become a revered American figure.
Edison and his inventions provided a wealth of new subject matter for dime novel publications. In this issue number 134 of The Nugget Library, the fictional hero is none other than Tom Edison Jr., a young genius inventor who supposedly follows in his father's footsteps. The illustration shows Tom Jr. aboard his latest invention, the Electric Sea Spider, a crab-like precursor to the modern submarine. The hero is confronted by armed villains who attempt to take control of his invention for evil purposes.