Thomas Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) Home Page
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Early Life

Thomas Edison was a great inventor of the 19th and 20th century and he has lead us to various inventions that we use today. Thomas Alvan Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio unto Samuel Ogden Edison Jr., his father, and Matthews Elliott, his mother. He was the seventh child of his parents. He went to school as a child for a while but he began late because of his illness. He was thought to be addled, or just a little confused. He was removed from school and his mother started to home school him. His motherencouraged him to become interested in experiments and to read alot. She taught him lessons from R.G. Parker's School of Narural Philosophy book. He learned very well even though he was partially deaf, which affected some of his child hood and middle aged years.

Moving on Through
When Edison was around the age of seven, his family decided to move to Port Huron, Michigan. This is where he spent most of his younger life and they lived there until he was about sixteen years old. He only spent only a few months in school and only learned the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. He mostly taught himself by reading and being curious making self improvements. The idea of fixing things and finding out for himslef stuck with him throughout his whole life. Before Edison left home at the young age of sixteen, he had many jobs, like most men at the time would, and they varied from delivering news papers to selling candy in the railroad areas.

Learning on His Own
Edison got the important start of his life when he learned how to work and provide for himself. His first job was as a telegraph operator. He got this job around the peak of the communication revolution, and worked his way up in the telegraphing industry. He began to read various scienctific and technological books to get to the point he was at. The technology allowed people to start communicating across the country much swifter and gave the opportunity to migrate around the U.S. Edison soon went around finding jobs in many cities such as Boston, where he became an inventor. His first patent on an invention was a electric vote recorder. This was a comercial failure because it was not something that caught the interest of many people.

After he lived in Boston, he moved to New York City and continued working on various inventions. Alot of which were related to the telegraph because thats what was his specialty. He went on to create his first successful invention that improved stock tickers, and they were called the Universal Stock Printer. This invention earned Edison $40,000, which he used to start his first laboratory and manufacturing facility in Newark, New Jersey. Years after, he worked on inventions that made things more efficent. He found the love of his life durring his time in New Jersy, and married Mary Stilwell. He began a family durring his very productive life and sold his lab in consideration of his new family. They went to a small village near by called Menlo Park. This was the place where Edison made his most famous invention.

What he is Famous For
Thomas Edison created the first filament light bulb, a major accomplishment for him and society. Also at Menlo Park the Phonograph was invented and thousands of other patented inventions. Despite the lost of Edisons wife and a few failed inventions, Edison made huge advancements in his carrer. The light bulb, which we till used today, has not really changed that much since then. This is an inventor that has effected everyones life after his great creations. If it wasnt for Edison we might not have things from current electricity to recording musica devices. He surley was one of the greatest inventors of all time. He died on October 18, 1931.

About His Inventions & War of Currents

The phonograph was a huge first step in the invention recreating sound. This was the first time it was possibe to replay a recorded sound. He got the idea to start creating the phonograpgh while working as a telegrapher. He saw that the machine would give off a sort of talking noise while it moved at high speeds. This made him think about recording telegrams. He began to test out the diaphragm of a telephone, attaching a needle to puncture the paper in attepmt to record a message. He changed the design to tin foil and he recorded the first words of "Mary had a little lamb." His invention was made of tin cylinders and not the discs that we know of today. The machine had two needles one for recording and the other for playback. Since this was the first peice of machinary that could reproduce sound he became internationally known.

The Lightbulb was not created by Thomas Edison, but yet he improved upon and made it to last longer. He did this by using a weak current that provided the lightbulb with power. This was used and made safe for housing usage. He made it not only avalibale to peoples homes but made it affordable and safe for the people. Edison used a current called Direct current (DC) that was described by as peaceful and low power. The currents that were used another inventor, Nikola Tesla, were called Alternating Currents. This caused a scientific period between the two called the war of currents, a showing of whos electricity was better in order to get more people to purchase it.


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An ad for the phonograph
An ad for the phonograph