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...

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

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....

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 recalled later, "My mother was...

Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of...

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 from Port...

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...

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

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 allowed him plenty of...

One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey, home. Some of Edison's...

On December 25, 1871, Edison married 16-year-old Mary Stilwell (1855–1884), whom he had met two months earlier; she was an employee at one of his shops. They had...

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

On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty-nine, Edison married the 20-year-old Mina Miller (1866–1947) in Akron, Ohio. She was the daughter of the inventor Lewis Miller, co-founder of the Chautauqua Institution and a...

Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him...

His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder. Despite its limited sound quality and that the recordings could be played only a few times, the phonograph made Edison a...

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

William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, began his duties as a laboratory assistant to Edison in December 1879....

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

In just over a decade, Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. Edison said he wanted the lab to have "a stock of almost every conceivable material". A newspaper article...

Over his desk, Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking." This slogan was reputedly posted at...

With Menlo Park, Edison had created the first industrial laboratory concerned with creating knowledge and then...

In 1877–78, Edison invented and developed the carbon microphone used in all telephones along with...

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

After many experiments, first with carbon filaments and then with platinum and other metals, in the end Edison returned to a carbon...

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...

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...

Henry Villard, president of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, had attended Edison's 1879 demonstration. Villard quickly became impressed and requested Edison install his electric lighting system aboard his company's new...

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...

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 rights and...

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

Mahen Theatre in Brno (in what is now the Czech Republic), which opened in 1882, was the first public building in the world to...

After devising a commercially viable electric light bulb on October 21, 1879, Edison patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the...

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...

Nikola Tesla worked for Edison for two years at the Continental Edison Company in France starting in...

Edison's true success, like that of his friend Henry Ford, was in his ability to maximize profits through establishment of mass-production systems and intellectual property rights. George...

In 1887, there were 121 Edison power stations in the United States delivering DC electricity to customers. When the limitations...

The war against AC led him to become involved in the development and promotion of the electric chair (using AC) as an attempt to portray AC to have greater lethal potential...

AC replaced DC in most instances of generation and power distribution, enormously extending the range and improving the efficiency of power distribution. Though widespread use of DC ultimately lost favor for...

DC had the advantage that large battery banks could maintain continuous power through brief interruptions...

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

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

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....

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. Bush placed...

The first kinetoscopes arrived in Belgium at the Fairs in early 1895. The Edison's Kinétoscope Français, a...

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

Edison's film studio made close to 1,200 films. The majority of the productions were short films showing everything...

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

In 1908, Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios...

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 have forgotten how to act. I can...

In 1901, Edison visited an industrial exhibition in the Sudbury area in Ontario, Canada and thought nickel and cobalt deposits there could be used in his production of electrical...

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

Henry Ford, the automobile magnate, later lived a few hundred feet away from Edison at his winter retreat in Fort Myers,...

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 nation, and I...

Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death, the Lackawanna Railroad inaugurated suburban electric train service from Hoboken to Montclair, Dover, and Gladstone, New Jersey. Electrical...

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...

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...

Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was reportedly shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and...

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...

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 tube of air in the inventor's room shortly after his death, as a memento. A...

Historian Paul Israel has characterized Edison as a "freethinker". Edison defended Paine's "scientific deism",...

Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God...

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...

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...

Edison's success in promoting direct current as less lethal also led to alternating current being used in the electric chair...

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 other...

Thomas Edison was an advocate for monetary reform in the United States. He was ardently opposed to the gold standard and debt-based money. Famously, he was quoted in the...

In the same article, he expounded upon the absurdity of a monetary system in which the taxpayer of the United States, in need of a loan, be compelled to pay in return perhaps double the...

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 detailed an explanation of a commodity-backed...

The President of the Third French Republic, Jules Grévy, on the recommendation of his Minister of Foreign Affairs Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire and with the presentations of the Minister of Posts and...

Life magazine (USA), in a special double issue in 1997, placed Edison first in the list of the "100 Most...

Several places have been named after Edison, most notably the town of Edison, New Jersey. Thomas Edison State College, a nationally known college for adult learners, is in Trenton, New Jersey. Two community colleges are named for him:...

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

Lake Thomas A Edison in California was named after Edison to mark the 75th anniversary of the incandescent light...

In West Orange, New Jersey, the 13.5 acres (5.5 hectares) Glenmont estate is maintained and operated by the...

In Detroit, the Edison Memorial Fountain in Grand Circus Park was created to honor his achievements. The limestone fountain was dedicated October 21, 1929, the fiftieth...

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

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 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...

Thomas Edison has appeared in popular culture as a character in novels, films, comics and video games. His...

On February 11, 2011, on Thomas Edison's 164th birthday, Google's homepage featured an animated Google Doodle commemorating his many inventions. When the...


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