Thomas Edison was famous for inventing the telephone transmitter, light bulb and fluoroscope
He was primarily known and acheived fame as an inventor. His lab in Menlo Park was the first think tank and product development facility. A list of Edison's more important inventions is listed below with date of the patent. Strangely the electric light bulb was not an Edison invention. He bought that patent and improved it.
1868 Electrical vote recorder.
1869 Universal stock ticker, Unison stop.
1872 Motograph, Several telegraph systems, Paraffin paper, Carbon rheostat.
1876 Electric pen
1879 Improved dynamos and generators.
1885 Wireless induction telegraph
1891 Motion picture camera.
1896 Fluoroscope, Fluorescent electric lamp.
1900 Nickel-iron-alkaline storage battery.
1914 Electric safety miner's lamp, Synthetic carbolic acid.
Because he stuck to things and saw them to fruition. I believe he tried like 10,000 types of filaments to make the light bulb work reliably. He was a workaholic like very few (perhaps not always a good thing). He would work on something all day sleep a few hours and get up and work on it again maybe all night. He never gave up, if he couldn't get something to work he would go and try something else until it did no matter how long it took he would try and try again.
Twice, Mary and Mina were their names.
Thomas Edison From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edison as he appears at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C."Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration." Born Thomas Alva Edison February 11, 1847 Milan, Ohio, United States Died October 18, 1931 (aged 84) West Orange, New Jersey, USA Occupation Inventor, scientist, businessman Religion Deist Spouse Mary Stilwell (m. 1871-1884) Mina Miller (m. 1886-1931) Children Marion Estelle Edison (1873-1965) Thomas Alva Edison Jr. (1876-1935) William Leslie Edison (1878-1937) Madeleine Edison (1888-1979) Charles Edison (1890-1969) Theodore Miller Edison (1898-1992) Parents Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. (1804-1896) Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810-1871) Relatives Lewis Miller (father-in-law) Signature
Edison as a boy
Birthplace of Thomas Edison in Milan, Ohio
Historical marker of Edison's birthplace
Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. 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 teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrialresearch laboratory.
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 stationwas on Manhattan Island, New York.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Telegrapher
- 3 Marriages and children
- 4 Beginning his career
- 5 Menlo Park (1876-1881)
- 6 West Orange and Fort Myers (1886-1931)
- 7 The final years
- 8 Views on politics, religion and metaphysics
- 9 Tributes
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 External links
Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. (1804-96, born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810-1871, born in Chenango County, New York). His father had to escape from Canada because he took part in the unsuccessful Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837. Edison considered himself to be of Dutch ancestry.
In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him "addled". This ended Edison's three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint." His mother homeschooled him. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union.
Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical laboratory in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train inSmiths Creek, Michigan, along with his apparatus and chemicals. In his later years he modified the story to say the injury occurred when the conductor, in helping him onto a moving train, lifted him by the ears.
Edison's family was forced to move to Port Huron, Michigan, when the railroad bypassed Milan in 1854, but his life there was bittersweet. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and he sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis, and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident caused the prohibition of further work of the kind. He obtained the exclusive right of selling newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers. This began Edison's long streak of entrepreneurial ventures as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still in existence as one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.
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, Thomas 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 lead-acid 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.
Marriages and children
Mina Edison in 1906
On December 25, 1871, Edison married 16-year-old Mary Stilwell, whom he had met two months earlier as she was an employee at one of his shops. They had three children:
- Marion Estelle Edison (1873-1965), nicknamed "Dot"
- Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. (1876-1935), nicknamed "Dash"
- William Leslie Edison (1878-1937) Inventor, graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, 1900.
On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty nine, Edison married 20-year-old Mina Miller in Akron, Ohio. She was the daughter of inventor Lewis Miller, co-founder of the Chautauqua Institutionand a benefactor of Methodist charities. They also had three children:
- Madeleine Edison (1888-1979), who married John Eyre Sloane.
- Charles Edison (1890-1969), who took over the company upon his father's death and who later was elected Governor of New Jersey. He also took charge of his father's experimental laboratories in West Orange.
- Theodore Edison (1898-1992), (MIT Physics 1923), had over 80 patents to his credit.
Beginning his career
Photograph of Edison with his phonograph (2nd model), taken in Mathew Brady's Washington, DC studio in April 1878.
Thomas Edison reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
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Thomas Edison began his career as an inventor inNewark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him notice was thephonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," New Jersey. His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder, but had poor sound quality and the recordings could be played only a few times. In the 1880s, a redesigned model using wax-coated cardboard cylinders was produced by Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Charles Tainter. This was one reason that Thomas Edison continued work on his own "Perfected Phonograph."
Menlo Park (1876-1881)
Edison's major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was built with the funds from the sale of Edison's quadruplex telegraph. After his demonstration of the telegraph, Edison was not sure that his original plan to sell it for $4,000 to $5,000 was right, so he asked Western Union to make a bid. He was surprised to hear them offer $10,000, ($202,000 USD 2010) which he gratefully accepted. The quadruplex telegraph was Edison's first big financial success, and Menlo Park became the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement. Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development under his direction. His staff was generally told to carry out his directions in conducting research, and he drove them hard to produce results.
Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory, removed to Greenfield Village at Henry Ford Museumin Dearborn, Michigan. (Note the organ against the back wall)
William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, began his duties as a laboratory assistant to Edison in December 1879. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. However, Hammer worked primarily on the incandescent electric lamp and was put in charge of tests and records on that device. In 1880, he was appointed chief engineer of the Edison Lamp Works. In his first year, the plant under General Manager Francis Robbins Upton turned out 50,000 lamps. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting".
Thomas Edison's first successful light bulb model, used in public demonstration at Menlo Park, December 1879
Nearly all of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for a 17-year period and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. About a dozen were design patents, which protect an ornamental design for up to a 14-year period. As in most patents, the inventions he described were improvements overprior art. The phonograph patent, in contrast, was unprecedented as describing the first device to record and reproduce sounds. Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, but instead invented the first commercially practical incandescent light. Many earlier inventors had previously devised incandescent lamps, including Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy, James Bowman Lindsay,Moses G. Farmer, William E. Sawyer, Joseph Swan and Heinrich Göbel. Some of these early bulbs had such flaws as an extremely short life, high expense to produce, and high electric current drawn, making them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially. In 1878, Edison applied the term filament to theelement of glowing wire carrying the current, although the English inventor Joseph Swan had used the term prior to this. Swan developed an incandescent light with a long lasting filament at about the same time as Edison, as Swan's earlier bulbs lacked the high resistance needed to be an effective part of an electrical utility. Edison and his co-workers set about the task of creating longer-lasting bulbs. In Britain, Joseph Swan had been able to obtain a patent on the incandescent lamp; though Edison had already been making successful lamps for some time, his patent application was incompletely prepared and failed. Unable to raise the required capital in Britain because of this, Edison was forced to enter into a joint venture with Swan (known as Ediswan). Swan acknowledged that Edison had anticipated him, saying "Edison is entitled to more than I ... he has seen further into this subject, vastly than I, and foreseen and provided for details that I did not comprehend until I saw his system". By 1879, Edison had produced a new concept: a high resistance lamp in a very high vacuum, which would burn for hundreds of hours. While the earlier inventors had produced electric lighting in laboratory conditions, dating back to a demonstration of a glowing wire by Alessandro Volta in 1800, Edison concentrated on commercial application, and was able to sell the concept to homes and businesses by mass-producing relatively long-lasting light bulbs and creating a complete system for the generation and distribution of electricity.
In just over a decade Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. Edison said he wanted the lab to have "a stock of almost every conceivable material". A newspaper article printed in 1887 reveals the seriousness of his claim, stating the lab contained "eight thousand kinds of chemicals, every kind of screw made, every size of needle, every kind of cord or wire, hair of humans, horses, hogs, cows, rabbits, goats, minx, camels ... silk in every texture, cocoons, various kinds of hoofs, shark's teeth, deer horns, tortoise shell ... cork, resin, varnish and oil, ostrich feathers, a peacock's tail, jet, amber, rubber, all ores ..." and the list goes on.
Over his desk, Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not
He won several dozen awards and titles for his discoveries. Many of them no longer have names today.