Inventors are inspirational. Thomas Edison was an inventor and businessman. He said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Yes, inspiration played a role in his success, but hard work and the time he devoted led to his success. Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio on February 11, 1847. He died in West Orange, New Jersey on October 18, 1931 at the age of 84.
Thomas Edison invented things that have made an impact around the world. A few of his inventions are the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb. He had well over 1,000 patents in the US, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. His work added to mass communication, mass production, and created an industrial research laboratory model. He brought electric-power to homes, businesses, cities, and factories.
He briefly attended school, however was homeschooled by his mother. Edison developed hearing problems when he was young. The family moved to Port Huron, Michigan where he sold candy and newspapers on trains. This work led to him obtaining the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, so with four assistants, his own Grand Trunk Herald, and other newspapers he became an entrepreneur and businessman. He later founded 14 companies, including General Electric.
He was trained and became a telegraph operator. He briefly worked for Western Union until an experiment he did on the night shift led to him being fired. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder in 1869. Edison married Mary Stilwell in 1871. They had three kids before she died in 1884. He remarried in 1886. Edison and his new wife Mina Miller had three children. By this time he had several inventions, but the first one that really began to make a name for him was the phonograph in 1877. He built his industrial research lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. He built it with funds from the sale of his quadruplex telegraph. He had a staff of laboratory assistants. He and William Joseph Hammer worked on the incandescent electric lamp. His Menlo Park lab grew to two city blocks. He invented and/or developed carbon telephone transmitter, electric light, electric power distribution, fluoroscopy, and more. He had moved from Menlo Park after his first wife died. Later he still lived in New Jersey, but began wintering in Florida. He became friends and worked with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.
Thomas Edison won many awards and honors during his lifetime. After his passing, the United States Congress designated February 11th National Inventor’s Day. There are several places and things named after him. There are museums and memorials as well. Awards have been named in his honor. He has made his way into popular culture. Be inspired! Have a bright day!