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Thomas Edison Biography (Thomas Alva Edison):
American Inventor
Famous for : The electric light bulb, work with electricity and more than 1000 patents.
Edison details : Born - 11th of February, 1847 Milan, Ohio, USA / Died - 18th of October, 1931 United States of America

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Thomas Edison Bio

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Thomas Edison was a well known American inventor in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His hundreds of inventions, including the light bulb, improvements on the telegraph, and the phonograph, helped influence modern technology and culture.

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio to middle-class parents. Edison, although an overall bright child, did not speak until the age of four at which time he started questioning every adult about the mechanical world around him. In 1854 Edison and his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan.

After 12 weeks at a schoolhouse, Edison's teacher determined his endless questions and curiosities were signs of a self-centered child. After hearing of the teacher's lack of support for her child's thirst for knowledge, Edison's mother pulled him from school and began teaching him at home. Her overwhelming belief in her son's intelligence helped Edison's confidence and self-esteem. He would later attribute his success to her persistence, love, and support. He was seven at the time.

Edison's mother, an accomplished teacher, and his father, a worldly scholar, helped shape his knowleddge, exposing him not only to the basics of education, but also to elaborate history and literature. As a result, Thomas Edison developed a keen interest in English literature and world history. At the age of 12, Edison's parents exposed him to the local library which would eventually shape his drive to find knowledge on his own.

Thomas Edison eventually fell in love with science, especially physics. After reading Newton's "Principia" about gravity, Edison was both hooked and jaded. He loved the simplicity of Newton's theories but hated the tone of voice used to deliver the information. As a result of his endless curiosity, Edison questioned his parents about the intricacies of physics. His parents decided to hire a tutor.

Young Edison's passion to learn continued and he started developing the physical strength to match his mental will. Unfortunately, he outgrew his tutor and his poor sense of hearing left him unable to study at higher levels within the traditional academic world.

At the age of 12, Edison's parents let him sell goods and candy at the local railroad. Edison even started selling his own version of the newspaper at the age of 14 to railroad patrons and started making enough money to start a small chemistry lab in his basement. His mother complained of the smells and danger so Edison moved some of his supplies to the railroad cars on which he worked. Unfortunately, one of the phosphorous sticks fell onto the floor of the baggage car and ignited the luggage. The conductor punished Edison and hit him on the head, causing even more damage to the boy's hearing.

Eventually Thomas Edison became totally deaf in his left ear and only retained about 20% of the hearing in his right ear. Later, when Edison would have the opportunity to have surgery to correct part of his hearing, he would refuse, citing that he wouldn't know how to concentrate in a noisy world.

Not long after his initial baggage car accident, Edison saved a young boy from being hit by a train. The small boy ended up being the son of the stationmaster who was so grateful to Edison that he taught him how to use Morse code and the telegraph. By the age of 15 Edison had mastered the machine and would serve to replace other telegraph operators who had left to serve in the civil war. This gave Edison the opportunity to experiment with the telegraph and make improvements in the speed of sending and receiving messages.

For the next few years Edison travelled the country working in the telegraph industry. When he returned home penniless in 1868, he found his mother suffering from mild insanity and his father filing for bankruptcy. To help save his family and his own future, Edison took the advice of a man named Billy Adams and left his home to take a job as a telegraph employee at Western Union in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thomas Edison spent 17 months in Boston working and inventing. His first marketable invention, the electric voting machine, could not sell due to the needs of politicians to exploit slow vote counting. Edison decided to focus on inventions that would sell in the market and began auditing classes at Boston Tech (later MIT) to learn more about new advances in electricity and science. He became acquainted with Benjamin Bredding, the man who would later help Alexander Graham Bell produce the first telephone.

Edison became dissuaded in Boston and, after borrowing money from Bredding, purchased a ticket to New York City. He went to go find markets for his small inventions and potential employment, but found none. Hungry and poor, Edison visited the financial district offices and found a man panicking over a broken stock ticker. Having spent a few nights in the office's basements and exploring the intricate workings of tickers, Thomas Edison helped him fix it and the man hired him immediately for $300 a month, a far better wage than he had earned at Western Union.

In his free time Edison still tinkered with the telegraph and added the stock ticker to his list. He began trying to sell some of his inventions and ended up selling all his rights to his ticker improvements to a company for $40,000. He sent some money back to his parents and paid back Bredding. Edison used the rest to help open a development laboratory in Newark, New Jersey. In 1876 he moved it to Menlo Park, NJ.

Although his ego was hurt when Bell beat him to the invention of the telephone, Thomas Edison did make improvements to the invention and introduced his own strides in technology with the electric light. In fact, Edison helped develop an entire system of distributing electricity and electric lights. His work led to the opening of the Edison General Electric Company which later merged with another firm to become General Electric Corporation in 1892. His work also helped create the first "talking pictures" that mixed sound with silent movies.

Thomas Edison fell ill in the late 1920s and filed for his last patent at the age of 83. Over the course of his life Edison managed to obtain almost 1100 patents for his inventions and was well known around the world for his work. Edison died on October 18, 1931 with his wife, Mina, by his side.

Edison had two marriages, the first to Mary Stiwell with whom he had three children before her death in 1884. His second marriage to Mina Miller lasted until Edison's death. They had three children as well.

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Thomas Edison Quotes Thomas Edison Quotes

The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn't like to do.
Thomas Edison - Failure - Commitment - Success

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.
Thomas Edison - Work - Commitment - Success - Inspirational

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