The Legend of Thomas Edison

The LegendThomas Alva Edison was born February 18, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Raised in Port Huron, Michigan, Edison was selling newspapers at twelve years old on the trains that ran between Port Huron, Mount Clemens and Detroit. Working on the trains gave Edison the opportunity to work with his chemistry experiments and to become a skilled telegraph operator.

When he was twenty-one years old, Edison took out his first patent. It was for and electric vote counter to be used by The United States House of Representatives. The machine worked perfectly but the congressmen would not buy it. They did not want the vote counting to be done quickly. Often the roll count was used for purposes of delay. This experience taught the young inventor a lesson. He decided then to follow a simple rule, “First be sure a thing is wanted or needed, then go ahead”.

Probably best known for his innovations and inventions in incandescent lighting Edison and his team of assistants at Menlo Park worked to establish the components of an electrical lighting system.

On September 4, 1882, Edison opened his first commercial central station on Pearl Street, New York City, with eighty-five customers and some four hundred lamps wired in the circuit. Modest in size, revolutionary in idea, this station marked the beginning of the electric lighting industry in America. Thomas Edison formed Edison General Electric, which later became General Electric as we know it today. With his successful incandescent electric lighting system, Edison transformed the world with American electrical technology.

With his myriad of other inventions including the duplex and quadreple telegraph, phonograph, telephone transmitter, motion picture camera and storage battery, he symbolized the ingenious, prolific, heroic and professional American inventor in an age of invention, innovation and industrialization.

Most of his inventions and innovations were creations from his vision of an urban industrialized America.

Upon Edison’s death on November 11, 1931, he had patented 1,093 inventions and was still working on the creation of artificial rubber. With the death of Thomas Edison, America lost a legendary and heroic inventor.

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