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Thomas Edison-The Wizard of Menlo Park

Thomas Alva Edison is often called the greatest inventor of America and is accredited with grand inventions like practical electric light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera. He is also the creator of first industrial research laboratory. Apart from some major inventions, Thomas Edison has over 1000 patents to his name. Thomas Edison was also a successful businessman and laid the foundation of General Electric.

 Thomas Edison

Early Life of Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 to Samuel Ogden Edison Jr. and Nancy Matthews Elliott. He was the youngest of eight children. Though he was born in Ohio, his family moved to Michigan later. Thomas Edison was home-tutored by his mother. As the family's financial condition was weak, Thomas started selling candies and newspaper in trains. While he was selling newspaper, he started his own newspaper by the name Grand Trunk Herald, along with his associates.

Early Career of Thomas Alva Edison

Still in his teens, Thomas Alva Edison started working as a telegraph operator at Grand Trunk Railway at Stratford. He was given the job by a station master whose son was saved by Thomas by getting struck by train. A few years later, by the age of 19, he was briefly employed by Western Union. He focused on inventions and began making telegraphic devices and his first noted invention that got him attention was phonograph in 1877. It is when he was called the "The Wizard of Menlo Park". He got phonograph patented in 1878. He even showed his invention to US President Hayes, along with other Congressmen.

Thomas Alva Edison's Industrial Research Lab

Thomas Alva Edison set up an industrial research lab in 1876 at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He invented the quadruplex telegraph and sold it to Western Union for a good price. An electrical Engineer William Joseph Hammer, working with Edison was experimenting with incandescent electric lamps and helped produce the first line of 50,000 lamps. It was claimed that Thomas Edison had all kinds of materials in his lab ranging from chemicals, animal and human hairs to shark's teeth and peacock's tail.

Thomas Alva Edison's Carbon Telephone Transmitter

Earlier telephone microphones generated a weak current, Thomas Edison instead used carbon to change resistance with the pressure of sound waves and developed a Carbon Telephone Transmitter. He used the same concept to make an improved telephone for Western Union. This type of telephones were in use until the late 90s.

Incandescent Light Bulb by Thomas Edison

Earlier incandescent bulbs had a short life and some were not suitable for indoor use. Thomas Edison decided to make a bulb that would require less voltage and use high resistance. He was successful in making the first ever commercially practical incandescent light bulb in 1879. He used a carbon filament and later replaced it with a carbonized bamboo filament, which lasted longer. He eventually set up Edison Electric Light Company to commercially produce bulbs. The first use of Edison's bulb was at a new steamship, the Columbia. Thomas Edison formed another company called Ediswan with Joseph Swan, to sell bulbs in Britain.

Motion Pictures

Thomas Edison invented Kinetograph or motion picture camera around 1890. W. K. L. Dickson, an employee with Edison played a major role in developing Kinetograph. Edison developed another peep-hole viewer Kinetograph which could be used to watch short films. Thomas Edison started Edison Studios and made more than 1200 films.

Other Important Inventions By Thomas Alva Edison

Other than Carbon Telephone, phonograph and Incandescent Bulb Thomas Edison invented Acid-base extraction for a new form of rubber, A Nickel-Iron-Battery and tried his hand in Mining as well.

Personal Life of Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison's marriage with his first wife Mary Stilwell, ended with her sudden demise in 1884. Edison had three children with Mary. Then in 1886, Edison married Mina Miller and had three children with her as well.

Awards and Honors
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1890.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was named a Chevalier in the Legion in 1879.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was given the Edward Longstreth Medal by The Franklin Institute 1899.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was made a member of National Academy of Sciences in 1927.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was given the Congressional Gold Medal in 1928.
Trivia
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was a famous American scientist, inventor and Businessman.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 at Ohio.
➯ In his early years, Thomas Alva Edison started working as a telegraph operator at Grand Trunk Railway at Stratford.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was called The Wizard of Menlo Park for inventing phonograph.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison invented the quadruplex telegraph as well.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison also invented a Carbon Telephone Transmitter.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison invented Kinetograph or motion picture camera around 1890.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison made the first ever commercially practical incandescent light bulb in 1879.
➯ Thomas Alva Edison was married two times and had total of 6 children.
Personal Quotes by Thomas Alva Edison
➯ "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
➯ "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."
➯ "Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."
➯ "We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything."
➯ "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
➯ "Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."
➯ "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles".
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