You are on page 1of 3

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 October 18, 1931)

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He was born on February 11, 1847 to middle-class parents in the bustling port of Milan, Ohio. Edison spent three months in school, then was taught at home by his mother. In 1854, his family moved to the vibrant city of Port Huron, Michigan, which ultimately surpassed the commercial preeminence of both Milan and Odessa. Tom especially enjoyed reading and reciting poetry. His life- long favorite was Gray's Elegy In A Country Churchyard. At the age of 12 Tom had already become an "adult." He had not only talked his parents into letting him go to work selling newspapers, snacks, and candy on the local railroad, he had started an entirely separate business selling fruits and vegetables. In 1862, using his small handpress in a baggage car, he wrote and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which was circulated to 400 railroad employees. That year he became a telegraph operator, taught by the father of a child whose life Edison had saved. Exempt from military service because of deafness, he was a tramp telegrapher until he joined Western Union Telegraph Company in Boston in

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) Thomas Alva Edison was an American


Probably Edison's first invention was an automatic telegraph repeater. From 1870 to 1875, Edison invented many telegraphic improvements: transmitters; receivers; the duplex, quadruplex, and sextuplex systems; and automatic printers and tape. He worked with Christopher Sholes, "father of the typewriter," in 1871 to improve the typing machine. Edison claimed he made 12 typewriters at Newark about 1870. The Remington Company bought his interests.

He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" (now Edison, New Jersey) by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) Thomas Alva Edison was an American

Edison is the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison originated the concept and

implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories. A crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Manhattan Island, New York.

Electric Light

implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories. A crucial development in the

Edison made the first practical incandescent lamp in 1879, and it was patented the following year. Edison and his staff examined 6,000 organic fibers from around the world and decided that Japanese bamboo was best. Mass production soon made the lamps although low-priced, profitable. Prior to Edison's central power station each user of electricity needed a dynamo (generator), which was inconvenient and expensive. Edison opened the first commercial electric station in London in 1882; in September the Pearl Street Station in New York City marked the beginning of America's electrical age. Within 4 months the station was lighting more than 5,000 lamps for 230 customers, and the demand for lamps exceeded supply. By 1890 it supplied current to 20,000 lamps, mainly in office buildings, and to motors, fans, printing presses, and heating appliances. Many towns and cities installed central stations. Increased use of electricity led to Edison-base sockets, junction boxes, safety fuses, underground conduits, meters, and the three-wire system. Jumbo dynamos, with drum-wound armatures, could maintain 110 volts with 90 percent efficiency. The three-wire system, first installed in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, in 1883, superseded the parallel circuit, used 110 volts, and necessitated high-resistance lamp filaments.


Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie's father, station agent J.U. MacKenzie of Mount Clemens, Michigan, was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator. Edison's first telegraphy job away from Port Huron was at Stratford Junction, Ontario, on the Grand Trunk Railway.

In 1866, at the age of 19, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as an employee

In 1866, at the age of 19, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as an employee of Western Union, he worked the Associated Press bureau news wire. Edison requested the night shift, which allowed him plenty of time to spend at his two favorite pastimes reading and experimenting. Eventually, the latter pre-occupation cost him his job. One night in 1867, he was working with a leadacid battery when he

spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor. It ran between the floorboards and onto his boss's desk below. The next morning Edison was fired. One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey home. Some of Edison's earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder, (U.S. Patent 90,646), which was granted on June 1, 1869.

Edison's motion picture camera, the kinetograph, could photograph action on 50-foot strips of film, 16 images per foot. A young assistant, in order to make the first Edison movies, in 1893 built a small laboratory called the "Black Maria,"a shed, painted black inside and out, that revolved on a base to follow the sun and kept the actors illuminated. The kinetoscope projector of 1893 showed the films. The first commercial movie theater, a peepshow, opened in New York in 1884. A coin put into a slot activated the kinetoscope inside the box. Acquiring and improving the projector of Thomas Armat in 1895, Edison marketed it as the Vitascope. The Edison Company produced over 1,700 movies.

Thomas Edison died at 9 P.M. On October 18th, 1931 in New Jersey. He was 84 years of age. Shortly before passing away, he awoke from a coma and quietly whispered to his very

religious and faithful wife Mina, who had been keeping a vigil all night by his side: "It is very

beautiful over there



Thomas Edison died of complications of diabetes The laboratory buildings and equipment associated with his career are preserved in Greenfield Village, Detroit, Michigan.