Thomas Alva Edison
February 11, 1847
October 18, 1931
Place of Birth:
Thomas Edison was one of America's most prolific inventors holding over one thousand patents.
He was born to Samuel and Nancy Edison in a family of seven children where he was the youngest.
It is said he only had three months of formal education.
Because Thomas Edison was having difficulties with his school teacher, his mother withdrew him from school and began teaching him herself.
Edison's mother had great faith in him and considered him a superior child.
He was also given added support by his father who encouraged him to read library classics.
During the 1860's, he developed his skills by working as a telegraph operator.
Edison was handicapped in that he became partially deaf through Scalet Fever and a blow to the head.
Nevertheless, through self-learning Thomas Edison continued his personal education and developed a great interest in science.
He rose to the rank of an independent inventor in 1868 and moved to New York to do work for the telegraph companies.
He learned early that to make money from his inventions they had to have commercial value.
Edison soon became known as an accomplished inventor and invented numerous items including the quadruplex telegraph.
He founded an industrial research station at Menlo Park in 1876 and another research lab in 1887 in New Jersey.
The most famous of his early inventions was an incandescent light bulb in 1880.
Over the years, his firm continued working with electricity and sound and made numerous important inventions.
Thomas Edison became a friend to Henry Ford and encouraged Ford to incorporate the gasoline engine into his automobiles.
During World War I, he worked on military projects including submarine detectors.
Thomas Edison is credited with having invented the factory where products are created, manufactured, and shipped from the same building which became the example for industries in the United States.
For detailed research and more information, check out the following:
Thomas Edison's Home Page
The Edison Papers
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Last Updated: January 22, 2017
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