Inventor Thomas Edison
Inventor Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison (1847 – 1931) was an American inventor and businessman, who many consider as America’s greatest inventor.

Some of his greatest inventions were the phonograph, the light bulb, the motion picture, the electrographic vote recorderthe quadruplex telegraph, the electric pen, the electric generator, the stock ticker, and the storage battery.

Edison was a savvy businessman, he held more than 1,000 patents for his inventions. He was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of organized science and teamwork to the process of invention, working with many researchers and employees. He established the first industrial research laboratory.

Thomas Edison's first successful light bulb model, used in public demonstration at Menlo Park, December 1879
Thomas Edison’s first successful light bulb model, used in public demonstration at Menlo Park, December 1879

Edison was raised in the American Midwest and early in his career he worked as a telegraph operator, which inspired some of his earliest inventions. In 1876, he established his first laboratory facility in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where many of his early inventions would be developed. He would later establish a botanic laboratory in Florida in collaboration with businessmen Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, and a laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey that featured the world’s first film studio, the Black Maria. Edison married twice and had six children. He died of complications of diabetes.

A Few Interesting Facts About Thomas Edison

Photograph of Edison with his phonograph (2nd model),
Photograph of Edison with his phonograph (2nd model), 

At the age of seven, Edison attended school for only a short period of 12 weeks. Being a hyperactive child and prone to distraction, Edison’s teachers were not able to handle him. His mother then removed Thomas from school and tutored him at home until the age of 11. Therefore, Edison had very little formal education as a child, but the removal from school proved very beneficial for his career, because he developed self-learning skills with his growing interest for knowledge.

Thomas Edison even made a device to kill cockroaches with electricity.

The biggest failure of Edison’s life was trying to invent a method for separating ore from rock. Those failed experiments cost him millions of dollars.

Thomas Edison was the first person in the world to project successfully a motion picture. He did so on April 23, 1896.

Edison nicknamed two of his children he had with his first wife “Dot” and “Dash to remember his early telegraph days.

Thomas Edison didn’t just hold 1093 US patents in his name, but many more in other countries, including France, Germany, and the U.K.

Edison, about his hearing loss in 1885, wrote, “I haven’t heard a bird sing since I was twelve years old.”

Thomas Edison designed a battery for the self-starter for the Model T developed by Henry Ford.

Top 25 Quotes from Thomas Edison

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” ― Thomas A. Edison

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone, respectively. Ft. Myers, Florida, February 11, 1929
Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone in 1929

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” ― Thomas Edison

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ― Thomas Edison

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“There are no rules here — we’re trying to accomplish something.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“To do much clear thinking a person must arrange for regular periods of solitude when they can concentrate and indulge the imagination without distraction.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” ― Thomas Edison

“I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it” ― Thomas A. Edison

“I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill.” ― Thomas Edison

“The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“Nearly every person who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.” ― Thomas Edison

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing” ― Thomas A. Edison

“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” ― Thomas A. Edison

“There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking.” ― Thomas A. Edison


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