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Thomas Alva Edison (Milan (Ohio)11 February 1847 – West Orange (New Jersey)18 October 1931) was an American inventor and founder of General Electric Company, which made its fortune by buying up patents and inventions on his own name capture. If this successful bleaching, he perfected them and took them in production. Edison was long time record holder for the most number of patents awarded to a person (about 1400). [1]


[hide]*Youth 1


Thomas Edison was the son of the grain merchant Samuel Edison Junior. (1804-1896) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810-1871), as the last of seven children. [2his brothers and sisters were: Marion, William Pitt, Harriet Ann, Carlile, Samuel and Eliza, the last three of which did not survive their childhood. He grew from his ninth on inPort HuronMichigan. He had, already lives up to its name otherwise suspect, possibly Dutch ancestors, but there is no certainty. [3Thomas at most three months went to school, he got especially home schooling of his mother, who had been a schoolteacher.

When he was twelve, he was newspaper boy on the train. He sold newspapers, sandwiches, fruit and candy to train passengers. He tapped a printing press on the head and went themselves in the freight cars produce a newspaper to sell. His work consisted largely of waiting for the return trip. That time he filled with reading books onchemistry, so a box that interested him that him into the rail-wagon mounted to a laboratory experiments to do. When he lost his job in this fire hit and it is said that his hearing problems are by the turn to his ears that he got from the conductor on that occasion. [4as a result, he experienced problems at school. During his teenage years he became almost completely deaf.

Shortly thereafter, he saved the life of the son of the station master Mackenzie in Mount Clemens to take away by the child managed to get free for a moving train wagon.[5as a reward got Edison of the father some free lessons in how to use the Telegraph. He was then night operator at the Grand Trunk railway in Canada. Then once the railway bridge between his hometown of Port Huron and Sarnia Canadian – a very important connection – was destroyed by ice conditions, including the Telegraph cable was broken, he came up with the idea with the steam whistle of a locomotive to restore the wired connection.

Edison worked at a company that fair stock tickers, based on the Telegraph, for the New York Stock Exchange of produced. He knew in the devices have different improvements and made his first fortune. Along with the $ 10,000 he had earned with the quadruplex Telegraph was Edison in Newark (New Jersey) build a small workshop, the beginning of his business empire. His first patent was an electric voting machine (u. s. Patent 90,646),[6that was granted on 1 June 1869. [7]

Menlo ParkEdit

[1][2]Edison laboratory at Menlo Park

His greatest contribution to progress was perhaps the research laboratory, which he around 1876 in Menlo Park, New Jersey had built. This was the first laboratory that had been set up specifically to develop new things and technological progress and can be seen as the first commercial research laboratory. Any technology company currently has such a same kind of lab. Most things that were conceived and developed in Menlo Park to his name although, although in fact Edison patented was in charge of the laboratory but not nearly everything myself figured out. The light bulb (1879) and the phonograph (1877) are two of his most famous products.

Light BulbEdit

[3][4]Edison's original patent application of 27 January 1880

On 21 October 1879 burned his light bulb with carbon fiber for the first time. [8in relation to the existing lighting sources in that time, such as oil lamps and candles, it was a great improvement. Although his first lamp spent only a few hours, I managed to make him later lamps with a much longer life.

For its invention to disclose to the New York audience, created Edison a publicity stunt. On new year's Eve 1879 he left around Menlo Park dozens of incandescent bulbs burn as party decorations. Soon after, his light bulb a commercial success; in 1881 he founded the Edison Lamp Company and began the large-scale series production. To burn in every house to let his light bulb Edison also laid the complete electrical infrastructure.

In contrast of what many think was the first not Edison invented the light bulb. Heinrich Göbel claimed American immigrant originating from Germany – a – that he had already made a light bulb in 1854. Göbel, however, was ahead of its time and could by the lack of an economic power source are not important invention into practice. Edison picked up the existing idea later on, improved the process, and made it a working and usable product of.

When he tried to patent his invention in the United Kingdom showed that the Englishman Joseph Swan – independent of Edison – a few months earlier had also invented and patented the incandescent bulb. Initially tried Edison Swan to blame for plagiarism, but British Justice rejected this. [9Later, they handed them their legal dispute and in 1884 they founded the Edison & Swan United Electric Company on.

In 1891, the then 28-year-old Henry Ford at Edison Illuminating Company work. Ford was already engaged in the design of his car, and it was Thomas Edison itself that Ford, slamming fist on the table to start a car factory, encouraged.

Other inventionsEdit

Edison also left do a lot of research in the field of telegraphy. Researchers discovered In 1883 the Edison effect, the flow transition in vacuum between a filament and a metal plate, which discovery was important for the development of the electron tubes.

West OrangeEdit

MENU   0: 00 [5]"Daisy Bell" sung by Edward m. Favor recorded on a wax roller Brown in 1894.

Around 1887 left Edison in West Orange, New Jersey, a completely new industrial research laboratory building that remained unsurpassed until the 20th century. In addition he let build a summer villa in Florida with his family to spend the winters there. In 1887, he was awarded the Matteucci Medal. In 1888 and 1889 he worked on an improved implementation of the phonograph, by sound recordings for the phonograph cylinders to use instead of the until then used tin foil.


[6][7]Black Maria film studio

Edison also played an important role in the development of the technique of the film. He made together with William Kennedy Dickson in 1888, the first movie projector, theKinetoscope. Their invention contained a continuous 35 mm film strip with individual images. If these images were exposed one by one shortly after the other was born the impression of moving images.

For making film strips for the Kinetoscope was on the grounds of Edison's laboratories in West Orange the film studio "Black Maria" built. Here, among other things performed circus-theater-and music-hall entertainers on. on 14 april 1894 opened on Broadway in New York the first Kinetoscope parlor. For 25 cents[10one could there individually (one spectator per Cabinet) watch a movie.

Electric chairEdit

Edison worked on the development of the electric chair. Edison was wrapped around 1886 in a fierce competition with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla's main contributor. Edison was a proponent of a power on DC. Westinghouse was together with Tesla in favour of alternating current. At this 'war of the currents' were all sorts of unsavory practices used to vilify each other. Edison stressed the danger of alternating current using it for the first execution with the electric chair. Incidentally, won for the AC voltage: this is still the standard for the electricity grid.

Iron Ore MineEdit

Edison was not equally successful in all areas. In 1879 he was started to implement plans to to use electromagnetism to separate gold ore from inferior iron ores. During the 1890s he built in Northern New Jersey even a complete factory, but with little success. Even with the help of former employee and friend Charles Batchelor ran this mining company on a financial fiasco.

Still any gain from mining are recycled Edison Portland cement some machines to process. A lime kiln developed by him became an industrial standard. Edison's cement was widely applied in buildings, dams and even the Yankee Stadium. [11]

Marriage and childrenEdit

[8][9]Mina Edison (1906)

On Christmas day 1871, Edison in the marriage with the nine years younger Mary Stillwell. He knew her when only two months, after his first meeting with her as a worker in one of his workshops to Newark. They had three children:

  • Marion Estelle Edison (1873-1965), nicknamed "Dot"
  • Thomas Alva Edison Jr. (1876-1935), nicknamed "Dash"
  • William Leslie Edison (1878-1937)

Mary Edison died on August 9, 1884, presumably by a brain tumor. [12two years later, on February 24, 1886, remarried Edison, 39 years old, with the then 20-year-old Mina Miller in Akron (Ohio). She was the daughter of the inventor Lewis Miller. He also had three children:

  • Madeleine Edison (1888-1979)
  • Charles Edison (1890-1969)
  • Theodore Edison (1898-1992)

Thomas Edison had four grandchildren, all from the marriage of his daughter Madeleine with John Eyre Sloane: Michael, John, Peter and Thomas Edison Sloane. Mina outlived her husband and remarried after with her childhood sweetheart Edwart Everett Hughes. She died on August 24, 1947. [13[14after the death of his father Charles took charge of his companies over until these were sold in 1959.


The prestigious Dutch music prize Edison Music Award which is awarded since 1960 is named after him.

Two famous statements:

  • "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration." (vert: "Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration").
  • "A famous person is often remembered for the ability to take from mankind rather than for his ability to give to mankind." (vert: "a famous person becomes rather remembered for what he took, of humanity than to what he gave to mankind").

His interest also went forward to religion and philosophy. Edison was also a member of the Theosophical Society.

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