Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion...

Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents was the widespread impact of...

His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of...

Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. (1804–1896, born in...

In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him "addled". This ended Edison's three months of official schooling....

Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career, Edison...

Edison's family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, after the railroad bypassed Milan in 1854 and business declined; his life there was bittersweet. Edison sold candy and newspapers on trains running...

Edison obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers. This began Edison's long...

Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie's father,...

In 1866, at the age of 19, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as an employee of Western Union, he worked the Associated Press bureau news wire. Edison requested the night shift, which...

One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the...

Mary Edison died at age 29 on August 9, 1884, of unknown causes: possibly from a brain tumor or a morphine overdose. Doctors frequently prescribed morphine to women in...

On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty-nine, Edison married the 20-year-old Mina Miller...

Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his...

His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder. Despite its limited sound quality and that the recordings could be played...

Edison's major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, a part of Raritan Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey...

William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, began his duties as a laboratory assistant to Edison in December 1879. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway,...

Nearly all of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for a 17-year period and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical...

In just over a decade, Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. Edison...

Over his desk, Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a...

In 1877–78, Edison invented and developed the carbon microphone used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the 1980s. After protracted patent...

Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, but instead invented the first commercially...

After many experiments, first with carbon filaments and then with platinum and other metals, in the end Edison returned to a carbon filament. The first successful test was on October 22,...

Although the patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways", it was not until several months after the patent was granted...

In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on...

Henry Villard, president of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, had attended Edison's 1879 demonstration. Villard...

Lewis Latimer joined the Edison Electric Light Company in 1884. Latimer had received a patent in January 1881 for the "Process of Manufacturing Carbons", an improved method for the production of carbon...

George Westinghouse's company bought Philip Diehl's competing induction lamp patent rights (1882) for $25,000, forcing the holders of the Edison patent to charge a more reasonable rate for the use of the Edison patent...

On October 8, 1883, the US patent office ruled that Edison's patent was based on the work of William Sawyer and was therefore invalid. Litigation...

Mahen Theatre in Brno (in what is now the Czech Republic), which opened in 1882, was the first public building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps, with the installation...

After devising a commercially viable electric light bulb on October 21, 1879, Edison patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880,...

Earlier in the year, in January 1882, he had switched on the first steam-generating power station at Holborn Viaduct in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings...

Nikola Tesla worked for Edison for two years at the Continental Edison Company in France starting in 1882, and another year...

Edison's true success, like that of his friend Henry Ford, was in his ability to maximize profits through establishment of...

In 1887, there were 121 Edison power stations in the United States delivering DC electricity to customers. When the limitations of DC were discussed by the public, Edison launched a...

The war against AC led him to become involved in the development and promotion of the electric chair (using AC)...

AC replaced DC in most instances of generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and improving the efficiency of power distribution. Though...

DC had the advantage that large battery banks could maintain continuous power through brief interruptions of the electric supply from generators...

Edison is credited with designing and producing the first commercially available fluoroscope, a machine that uses X-rays to take radiographs. Until...

The fundamental design of Edison's fluoroscope is still in use today, although Edison himself abandoned the project...

The key to Edison's fortunes was telegraphy. With knowledge gained from years of working as a telegraph operator, he learned the basics of electricity. This allowed him to make his early fortune with the stock ticker,...

Edison was also granted a patent for the motion picture camera or "Kinetograph". He did the electromechanical design, while his employee W.K.L. Dickson, a...

In April 1896, Thomas Armat's Vitascope, manufactured by the Edison factory and marketed in Edison's name, was used to project motion...

Officially the kinetoscope entered Europe when the rich American Businessman Irving T. Bush (1869–1948) bought from the Continental Commerce Company of Frank Z. Maguire and Joseph D. Baucus a dozen machines....

The first kinetoscopes arrived in Belgium at the Fairs in early 1895. The Edison's Kinétoscope Français, a Belgian company, was founded in Brussels on January 15, 1895, with the rights...

On May 14, 1895, the Edison's Kinétoscope Belge was founded in Brussels. The businessman Ladislas-Victor Lewitzki, living in London but active in Belgium and France, took the...

Edison's film studio made close to 1,200 films. The majority of the productions were short films showing everything from acrobats to parades to fire calls including titles such as...

As the film business expanded competing exhibitors routinely copied and exhibited each other's films. To better protect the...

In 1908, Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust). Thomas Edison was the first honorary...

Edison said his favorite movie was The Birth of a Nation. He thought that talkies had "spoiled everything" for him. "There isn't any good acting on the screen. They concentrate on the voice now and...

In 1901, Edison visited an industrial exhibition in the Sudbury area in Ontario, Canada and thought...

Edison moved from Menlo Park after the death of his first wife, Mary, in 1884, and purchased a home known as "Glenmont"...

Henry Ford, the automobile magnate, later lived a few hundred feet away from Edison at his winter retreat in Fort Myers, Florida. Edison even contributed technology to the automobile. They were friends...

In 1928, Edison joined the Fort Myers Civitan Club. He believed strongly in the organization, writing that "The Civitan Club is doing things—big things—for the community, state, and...

Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death, the Lackawanna Railroad...

This fleet of cars would serve commuters in northern New Jersey for the next 54 years until their retirement in 1984. A plaque commemorating Edison's inaugural ride can be seen today in the waiting room...

Edison was said to have been influenced by a popular fad diet in his last few years; "the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours". He is reported to have believed this diet would restore his health....

Edison died of complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home, "Glenmont" in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift...

Edison's last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test...

Historian Paul Israel has characterized Edison as a "freethinker". Edison defended...

Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me â€” the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness,...

Edison was accused of being an atheist for those remarks, and although he did not allow himself to be drawn into the controversy...

You have misunderstood the whole article, because you jumped to the conclusion that it denies the existence of God. There is no such denial, what you call God I call Nature, the Supreme...

He also stated, "I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do...

Nonviolence was key to Edison's moral views, and when asked to serve as a naval consultant for World War I, he specified he would work only on defensive weapons and later noted, "I am proud of the fact that I never invented...

Edison's success in promoting direct current as less lethal also led to alternating current being used in the electric chair adopted by New York in 1889 as a supposedly humane execution method. Because...

In 1920, Edison set off a media sensation when he told B. C. Forbes of American Magazine that he was working on a "spirit phone" to allow communication with the dead, a story which...

Thomas Edison was an advocate for monetary reform in the United States. He was ardently opposed to the gold standard and...

In the same article, he expounded upon the absurdity of a monetary system in which the taxpayer of the United...

He thought at length about the subject of money over 1921 and 1922. In May 1922, he published a proposal, entitled "A Proposed Amendment to the Federal Reserve Banking System". In it, he...

The President of the Third French Republic, Jules Grévy, on the recommendation of his Minister of...

In 1915, Edison was awarded Franklin Medal of The Franklin Institute for discoveries contributing to the foundation of industries and the well-being of the human...

In 1983, the United States Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97—198), designated February 11, Edison's birthday, as...

Life magazine (USA), in a special double issue in 1997, placed Edison first in the list of the "100 Most Important People in the Last 1000 Years", noting that the light bulb he promoted "lit up the world". In the 2005 television...

Several places have been named after Edison, most notably the town of Edison, New Jersey. Thomas Edison State College,...

In 1883, the City Hotel in Sunbury, Pennsylvania was the first building to be lit with Edison's three-wire system. The hotel was...

In West Orange, New Jersey, the 13.5 acres (5.5 hectares) Glenmont estate is maintained and operated by the National Park Service as the Edison National Historic Site. The Thomas Alva...

In Detroit, the Edison Memorial Fountain in Grand Circus Park was created to honor his achievements. The limestone fountain was dedicated October...

The Edison Medal was created on February 11, 1904, by a group of Edison's friends and associates. Four years later the American...

In the Netherlands, the major music awards are named the Edison Award after him. The award is an annual Dutch music prize, awarded for outstanding achievements in the music...

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers concedes the Thomas A. Edison Patent Award to individual...

The United States Navy named the USS Edison (DD-439), a Gleaves class destroyer, in his honor in 1940. The ship was decommissioned a few months after the end of World War II. In 1962, the Navy commissioned USS...

Thomas Edison has appeared in popular culture as a character in novels, films, comics and video games. His prolific inventing helped make him an icon and he has made appearances in popular culture during...

On February 11, 2011, on Thomas Edison's 164th birthday, Google's homepage featured an animated Google Doodle...


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