Thomas Edison

Thomas A. Edison earned his reputation as one of America's greatest inventors
and heroes. Full of innovation, ingenuity, and enterprise, Edison "embodie[d]
much of what Americans have felt was positive about the national experience.
" Edison can put claim to 1093 US patents in addition to thousands more
international patents. His works include such major contributions as
advancements in telegraphy, the phonograph, a perfected nickel-iron-alkaline
battery, and the first commercially successful incandescent lighting system. As
shown by his many patents, Edison not only contributed innovative technologies
to society, but he was also a successful entrepreneur. Edison's success with the
incandescent light was not only one of his greatest achievements, but also one
of man's greatest achievements. Edison began tinkering with the notion of
incandescence in 1876 up to 1878, when he dedicated his efforts to produce an
economical electric light. He combined both his stunning intellect with his
spirit for hard work to produce some of the world's greatest inventions. Finally
in 1879, after nearly four years of tedious work, Edison's first success came
about with the use of a carbonized cotton thread. History of Thomas A. Edison

Born on February 11, 1847 to Samuel and Nancy Edison, Thomas spent the first
seven years of his life in Milan, Ohio, his place of birth. In 1854, opportunity
took the Edison family to Port Huron, Michigan, a city twice the size of Milan.

Edison's formal education ended after only three months of private schooling; he
"responded poorly to the regimented atmosphere of the school," which
caused some to see Edison as a "problem child. " However, Edison's
mother, a former school teacher, began educating Thomas at home. Edison credits
some of his creativity to his non-formal education, claiming that formal
education, "cast 'the brain into a mould' and '[did] not encourage original
thought or reasoning,' laying 'more stress on memory than on observation.'
". Early on, Nancy provided Edison with physical science and chemistry
books, from which he would experiment. This set in motion Edison's interest and
fascination with the scientific and inventive processes. At the age of twelve,

Edison began his work as a railroad concessionist, selling newspapers and snacks
on trains. During his breaks, Edison would experiment in the baggage cars, one
of which he later set on fire. Edison's shift in career to telegraphy was a
fortunate event for him. "One day he saved a boy's life and in gratitude
the father taught Edison how to become a telegraph operator. " Later,

Edison migrated to New York and found himself in a high paying job for having
repaired a broken stock ticker machine during a financial crisis. In 1869,

Edison swore to move from being a simple operator to a scientific inventor, and
later, he sold an improved stock ticker, which allowed him to open a workshop in

New Jersey to become a full-time inventor. "The laboratory was a forerunner
of today's modern research facility, and itself was a great invention. "

Here, Edison improved the typewriter, making it possible for the first time to
type faster than could be written by hand. And in 1876, Edison moved to the
famous Menlo Park in New Jersey, where one of his first inventions included an
improved telephone with a carbon transmitter so people would no longer need to
shout into the phone. Over the next six years, Edison and the Menlo Park team
produced more than 400 patents. One such major invention includes the
phonograph, Edison's personal favorite and "one of the most original
inventions ever devised ", which he again later improved for commercial
use. He was trying to find a way to record telegraph messages automatically with
the application of a paraffin-coated paper tape, embossed by a stylus with dots
and dashes. The tape made a similar sound to human speach, and so Edison
attempted to connect a telephone diaphragm to the embossing needle. In his first
demonstration, Edison recited "Mary Had A Little Lamb," which the
phonograph was perfectly able to reproduce. With the ability to record, the
phonograph led to the development of the music industry today. This invention
earned Edison the nickname, "The Wizard of Menlo Park". While the

Wizard's earliest hopes for the phonograph focused on education and business,

Edison envisioned the phonograph as a "way to record books for blind
people, to teach elocution, to record lectures, to preserve the voices of
historically important people, to perform office dictation, to log telephone
messages, and finally to record music. " He even imagined the application
of the phonograph towards talking dolls and other toys. Also at this time,

Edison began his work with