Thomas (Alva) Edison was one of Americas most important and famous inventors. Edison was born into a time and place where there wasnt much technological advancements. His inventions helped a lot of things quickly change in the world. His inventions contributed to many inventions today such as the night light, movies, telephones, and records and CDs.
Edison is most famous for the development of the first electric light bulb. Like I said Edison was born into a time where America wasnt very developed. He was born, and electricity had not been developed. But thanks to Edison when he had passed away on October 18, 1931 whole cities were lit up in electricity. For electricity, much of the credit goes to Edison.
Some of his inventions were improvements on other inventions, like the telephone. He didnt invent the telephone he just made it better. Some of his inventions he did try to invent, like the light bulb and the movie projector. The one he is most proud of was pretty much an accident–the phonograph.
Edison invented and improved upon things that changed our world. Some of the things he invented, he did by himself. Some he did with other people. Just about all his inventions are still around today and are commonly used. It was important to Edison that he created and invented things that people could use in their everyday life.
Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan Ohio. He was the youngest of all 7 children. His parents were Samuel Edison, Jr. and Nancy Elliot Edison. His dad was a man that did everything, from real-estate to running the local grocery store. His mom was a teacher, but with 7 children she stayed home with the kids preparing meals and helping them with homework. When Thomas was seven years old, his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan. He was full of energy and a curious young boy.
When Thomas moved to Port Huron he started to go to school. His teacher, Reverend Engle considered Thomas to be a dull student. Thomas knew this and didnt like it. Thomas didnt like math and asked a lot of questions. Which Reverend Engle did not like. It was told that Reverend Engle whipped students who asked too many questions, cause it was an annoyance to his everyday life. Reverend Engle criticized him one day and Thomas left school and stormed home.
The next day Thomas and his mom went back to school to have a talk with Reverend Engle. He continued to say things about Thomas knowledge saying such remarks like Thomas cant learn. His mother was extremely offended and decided to take him out of that school. His mom later decided that she would homeschool him. During these times of home schooled he was enrolled in 2 other public schools. His attendance was very sporadic so it is known that most of his schooling was done at home.
Undergoing His Inventions
Nine years before Edison was born, Samuel Morse was famous for inventing the telegraph. The telegraph sent messages over wires using “Morse code”. In Morse code, the alphabet and numbers are written in combinations of dots, dashes, and short and long sounds. By the time Edison began doing experiments, telegraph lines went across the country. He wanted to learn how to be a telegrapher and send messages over telegraph wires.
One day while selling newspapers along the railroad, something happened that was going to change Edisons life. Edison saved the life of a station official’s child. The child fell onto the tracks of an oncoming train. Edison ran to his helplessness and took the boy off the tracks before the train flew bye. The boy’s father thanked Edison by teaching him how to use the telegraph. Edison used scrap metal to build a telegraph set and practiced the Morse code.
When Edison was 16, he moved to Toronto, Canada. He became a telegraph assistant. His job was to report to Toronto every hour by telegraph signal. Edison thought this was a waste of time. He invented a gadget that sent a signal even if he was asleep. This was his first invention – the transmitter and receiver for the automatic telegraph. His boss found him asleep during this process and almost fired him…but didnt.
Stock Market Ticker
When Edison was 21, he moved to New York City. He had no money. A friend let him sleep in a basement office below Wall street. Edison spent a lot of time studying the stock market ticker. That was the machine that gave information about stock market prices. It was a spin-off of the Morse telegraph device. Once, Edison fixed a broken stock ticker so well that that the owners hired him to build a better one. Within a year he made the Edison Universal Stock Printer. Edison sold the rights for the stock ticker. He thought he might get paid around $4,000 for it. He got $40,000!
With all this money, Edison started a business in Newark, New Jersey. He built stock tickers and high-speed printing telegraphs. At this shop he improved on the typewriter. Until Edison improved it, you could write faster than you could type!
The Phonograph or Talking Machine
The phonograph was Edison’s favorite invention. He invented the “talking machine” by accident while working on telegraphs and telephones. This was something brand new and Edison’s most original invention, and it happened by accident. He was working on ways to record telegraph messages automatically. At age 30 he recorded his first words “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Edison received his first patent for the talking machine in 1878. The tinfoil phonograph was sold to the public from 1878 – 1880 at prices ranging from $10 to $200. Edison continued to work on cylinder and disk phonographs for the rest of his long life, even receiving patents on them well into the 1920’s – over 40 years later!
The Electric Lightbulb
Scientists had been working to invent electric light for many years. Back then people used candles and gaslights to light their homes. But gaslights were smelly and smoky. After two years in his new laboratory, Edison decided he would invent a safe, mild, and inexpensive electric light.
Edison searched for the proper “filament” or wire, that would give good light when electricity flowed through it. He sent people to the jungles of the Amazon and forests of Japan in his search for a perfect filament material. He tested over 6,000 vegetable growths (baywood, boxwood, hickory, cedar, flax, bamboo) as filament material.
In 1879, after spending $40,000, and performing 1,200 experiments, he succeeded. He made a light bulb using carbonized filaments from cotton thread. Carbonized thread is ordinary cotton sewing thread that has been burned to an ash. The light bulb burned for two days. The electric light took the greatest amount of time and required the most complicated experiments of all his experiments.
In conclusion Mr. Thomas Edison was a great inventor which enhances my everyday life with his unbelievable inventions. If Thomas Edison never invented the lightbulb who knows what the world would be like today. I think that Thomas Alva Edison was a great inspiration and inventor to many people today.