Thomas Edison was noted for being the inventor of the incandescent light bulb, and is also responsible for a number of other important inventions.
As a child, Edison lost his hearing at age 12. He worked as a salesman and telegraph operator. He later dedicated himself to becoming an inventor. His first invention was a machine that counted votes, but it was not successful. Thomas Edison was married twice and had six children.
Summary about Thomas Edison
- Thomas Edison was an American inventor and entrepreneur who was famous for his inventions.
- He lost his hearing at age 12.
- His first invention was a vote-counting machine.
- His most successful invention was the incandescent light bulb, created in 1879.
- He had a clash with Nikola Tesla that became known as the “War of Currents”.
- By the end of his life, he owned more than two thousand patents.
- He died at the age of 84, after having a sudden illness.
Thomas Edison biography
Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He was the son of Nancy Elliott, who worked as a kindergarten teacher, and Sam Edison Jr., a Canadian who worked as a cabinetmaker in the United States. Thomas Edison’s father moved to the United States to escape possible arrest for taking part in an uprising in Ontario.
Of seven children, Edison was the youngest, and he was also one of four who survived childhood. As a child, he had very limited contact with school , attending it for a very short time. The basic knowledge that Edison acquired in childhood was passed on by his mother.
Thomas Edison learned to read and write and was taught to understand some notions of mathematics . However, a very important mark of the young man’s childhood is that he had a great curiosity for science and mechanics and spent part of his time carrying out small experiments.
The inventor lost the hearing in one of his ears at the age of 12. In addition, he had severe damage to his other ear. This supposedly happened as a result of scarlet fever, although some authors point out that the hearing loss was due to ear infections that were not properly treated.
→ Professional life of Thomas Edison
Still at this stage, Thomas Edison had his first work experience , selling sweets, newspapers and vegetables at a train station that connected Port Huron to Detroit. When he was a child, his family had moved to Port Huron, where the young man grew up.
In 1862, Thomas Edison was taught to handle a telegraph . Before that, he had saved a three-year-old from an accident. The child’s father worked as a telegraph and taught the craft to young Edison in gratitude. In his spare time, he still conducted experiments in a makeshift laboratory.
What were Thomas Edison’s inventions?
Learning to operate a telegraph enabled Thomas Edison to get a job. In 1866, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to work as a telegraph operator. He also resided in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1868, performing the same craft. In early 1869, Thomas Edison decided to devote himself entirely to inventions.
The result of this dedication was the creation of a machine that recorded votes , this being his first invention. He registered the patent for this device, which did not earn him any financial return. Thomas Edison then moved to New York.
In the new city, he improved a device that recorded the stock exchange rate . This artifact was called the Universal Stock Printer and was a great success, used for several decades. In 1869, Thomas Edison formed a small company with Franklin L. Pope, called Pope, Edison & Co.
The objective of this company was to act in the field of inventions and its priority was to make improvements in the telegraph. Edison’s work allowed him to develop a mechanism that allowed the telegraph to send two messages at the same time in different directions. He sold that patent for about $10,000.
The success of his business allowed Thomas Edison to open a new laboratory in Menlo Park, a city located in New Jersey. There, he carried out intensive work that resulted in several inventions and the improvement of many existing machines.
This laboratory became the first industrial research site in history , where a series of inventions were conceived. Thomas Edison’s performance in his new laboratory made him known as “the wizard of Menlo Park”. The two main inventions made by Edison in his new laboratory were the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb .
Created in 1877, the phonograph was a device that had the ability to record and reproduce sounds. This invention only had great repercussions at the end of the 19th century. The incandescent light bulb, created in 1879, was Thomas Edison’s most outstanding invention . It consisted of a lamp made by a vacuum glass bulb containing a filament with carbonized cotton. When Edison connected this lamp to electrical power, it remained on for about 40 hours.
As a businessman, Thomas Edison sought to use all his fortune to diversify his activities and invested in the creation of a series of companies that operated in different fields. One of these companies was the National Phonograph Co., which was involved in the sale of its phonographs.
Thomas Edison was also the owner of different companies that were active in the field of electric energy and became famous for getting involved in the “war of currents” . He fought this dispute with Nikola Tesla (another important inventor, of Austrian origin) in relation to which electric current would be used in the North American energy matrix.
Tesla advocated the implementation of alternating current, while Edison advocated direct current. In the end, alternating current was adopted, causing Thomas Edison to lose the contest.
Thomas Edison’s Personal Life and Last Years
Regarding his personal life, it is worth noting that Thomas Edison married Mary Stilwell in 1871 and had three children with her, but Mary died in 1884. Later, he married Mina Miller in 1886 , with whom he also had three children. . Edison remained married to Mina until the end of his days.
Thomas Edison’s health deteriorated around the 1920s, largely because of diabetes. On October 14, 1931, he had a sudden illness and fell into a coma . He passed away on October 18, at the age of 84.
Thomas Edison was marked by being a man extremely dedicated to the work, and this is noticeable by the fact that he owned more than two thousand patents.