Biography of Thomas Alva Edison


Date of birth: 1847

Date of death: 1931

Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison  is the only scientist who set the record by himself or together for registered patents for 1903 inventions.This record still stands!No other scientist in the world has ever registered as many patents as Edison.Moreover,he has also been credited for creating the world’s first industrial research laboratory.
Edison’s early life was poverty ridden…yet he was not defeated by this crushing poverty and strove to achieve his goal in science. Edison went through extreme hardship and rose to the highest pedestal of recognition.When Edison was still in the prime of his youth,he was regarded as one of the most successful scientists in the world.
One after another Edison invented and discovered things of great scientific importance.Edison surprised everyone by his ability to invent so many things.In his lifetime,Edison registered 389 patents for electric light and power,195 for the phonograph ,150 for the telegraph ,141 for storage batteries,34 for the telephone.
The list of patents could actually be many more,but Edison did not show much interest registering patents of many
of his discoveries and inventions.
Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11,1847,Milan,Ohio,in the USA .His parents lovingly called him Edison.Edison was the youngest son of seven children.At the time of his birth,Edison was quite normal and healthy;but as time passed Edison developed some hearing problems.His parents took him to several doctors who made through  medical check up of the boy,but to no avail.As a result of his partial deafness,Edison took a great interest in reading books,he was an amazingly voracious reader.He read all kinds of books,but science was his favorite subject.

His father Samuel Edison was fond of his son.It was Samuel’s dream that he wanted to see his son becoming a successful business or a renowned scholar.His family came came to live in Port Huron,Michigan,in 1854 where Samuel Edison was a lighthouse keeper and carpenter.Young Edison attended a school at Port Huron for only five years .Edison’s schooling was a short experience.

Due to his poor hearing,Edison faced a lot of problems in the classroom.As he could not hear the teacher’s lessons properly in class he was declared a misfit.The teachers’ derogatory comments pushed Edison into taking refuse in reading books.

Edison started working hard to earn money so that he could buy books and equipment for his laboratory.Although Edison did not receive higher education,he largely supplement his knowledge by thoroughly studying the best books he could get.When Edison was still a young he had an enormous collection of books on science.Also Edison had a small but quite up-to-date laboratory of his own where he conducted scientific experiments.

Edison working

Edison working

To meet the growing expenses of his laboratory was not easy,so to supplement his expenses Edison started to work in the daytime,and study science and conducts experiments at night.For the time being,Edison even became a newspaper hawker.He used to sell newspapers in between Detroit and Port Huron.

When Edison started to take a serious interest in telegraphy he was only 16 years-old.In those days messages were received by Morse telegraph which was inscribed in a series of dots and dashes on paper that was decoded and read.Edison was not satisfied with the limited function available on those telegraph machine.He wanted to make some important improvement to the machine so that telegraphy could be more useful and sophisticated.

Edison was working in every possible way to improve the function of telegraphy and he was largely successful in his efforts.Eventually ,after six years of hard work,he was successful as he had developed a duplex telegraphic machine.It was a device capable of transmitting two message at a time by one wire.The device was also attached to a printer which could transform electrical signals into letters.

Edison arrived in New York City in 1870 and settled down there.He started to work a fresh on telegraphy to make it even more efficient and easy to handle.In New York City,Edison met a Mr.Frank Pope who was a renowned electrical expert,both of them agreed to a partnership to produce hi-tech universal stock telegraph printers in different models.Edison worked hard and succeeded in developing an automatic telegraphy system which proved a great aid in improving capacity of telegraphic printers.While working on printers Edison invented an electric pen and mimeograph as well.

Edison took everyone by surprise when he became successful in inventing a hi-tech quadruple machine which was capable of transmitting four messages at a time on a single wire and it was a very sophisticated device that superseded all the former popular devices.Seeing Edison’s amazing ability,a private telegraph company paid more than $100,000 to Edison and asked him to produce thing for their company.During this period ,Edison succeeded in registering several patents and his financial position was strengthened.

Mary Stilwell,a beautiful young lady liked Edison very much and wanted to marry him.One fine day she made a proposal of marriage he readily accepted and both of them tied the nuptial knot in 1871.At the time Edison married Mary Stilwell,she was only 16 years old and he was about 24.

Edison was very careless about his financial matters.He was inclined to be extravagant.Unfortunately Mary Stilwell was also not very good at managing her finances.As a result,the couple soon found themselves up to the necks in the debt.Due to the mounting amount of financial pressure,Edison was unable to run his laboratory in New York City where everything was very expensive.In order to reduce his expenses he decided to move his laboratory to Menlo Park in 1876.Edison also called his father in Port Huron to assist him in Menlo Park.Menlo Park was in the countryside and,therefore,not as expensive as New York City.Edison’s expenses were cut short and largely under controlled her e.Life in Menlo Park was rather easy and comfortable.Edison did like rural ambiance for his scientific research work.

Edison was very happy to work with the team of dedicated researcher in his laboratory.His research work made a good progress without interruption in Menlo Park.The surrounding ambience  of Menlo Park was conductive for creative activities.Once again Edison focused his attention on the telephone.He devoted a substantial part of his time to the improving the clarity of the telephone.Edison and his young men’s team did hard work on the project,but Alexander Graham Bell left Edison’s team behind and became the first to get a parent in 1876.But by the end of 1877 Edison had developed the carbon button transmitter to be used in telephone speakers and microphones.

Edison’s fertile mind was always active.He would work and invent things at fairly regularly intervals.Edison invented the Phonograph in 1877,this was an important invention. In time Edison was successful in bringing several improvements to telegraphy.It was Edison who made telegraphic equipment more sophisticated and easy to handle.

Edison's bulb

Edison's bulb

Now Edison diverted his attention towards electricity.Until now scientist had been unable to light an electric bulb.In order to develop an electric bulb,the only problem was finding a metal which could bear the load of overheating  without melting.Edison resolved to make an electric bulb of this kind;he embarked upon this most demanding task to make such an element.

Edison wanted to develop an electric bulb and,hearing about this many leading companies in the USA,which believed in this many leading companies in the USA,which believed in the ability of Edison,decided to come up with adequate financial support to assist Edison’s project.Edison and his small team of young scientist put all their hearts and souls into this project.After some months of hard work,Edison made a regulator controlled vacuum bulb with a platinum filament.In subsequent years ,Edison made a several improvements to this electric bulb and tried to replace with other materials which could bear the excessive load of heat within a vacuum chamber and emit a constant amount of light.

Meanwhile Mary Stilwell did not have a good health.Edison was so engrossed in his research and experimental works that Mary felt largely deserted and very lonely for most of the time.She plunged into a state of depression and died in 1884 at the early age of 29.Dejected,Edison once again relocated his laboratory from Menlo Park to New York City,but Edison did not stop visiting Menlo Park where he had spent some of the most successful years of his life.

Edison once again started his work afresh in his new laboratory in New York City.Here he came across a lovely young lady named Mina Miller,20,whom he married in 1886.He was now 39 years old.After the marriage ,Edison bought an outlandish villa in West Orange,New Jersey.Edison did not waste much of his time cavorting with his newly married wife,Mina Millar.Edison began working on the phonograph and made it available for commercial use.He also founded the basis for the motion picture industry.Later he developed the alkaline storage battery.During his time Edison and William K.L Dickson got together and made a small camera along with a viewing instrument.This subtle combination was named Kinetoscopes .The concept of the world’s first motion picture came into existence with the invention of K i n e t o s c o p e s.Kinetoscopes had one small hole to pees through where one could view the moving pictures.It was acclaimed as one of the greatest successes of Edison.

Edison made a huge leap when he made a sophisticated batteries that were later used in submarine and electric vehicles.Henry Ford,the famous manufacturer of Ford cars,asked Edison to develop a battery for a self starter.Henry Ford, as a successful entrepreneur,and Edison,as arising innovator,became lifelong friends.Over the passage of time,Henry gave constructive suggestion to Edison that helped Edison to improved the efficiency of his devices.

Edison's invention

Edison's invention

Edison was not always successful.Many times he ad to abandon his project after spending a great deal of time and money but nothing could ever discourage Edison as he was such a dedicated inventor and scientist.Even when Edison was in in his 80s he would still work late into the night in his laboratory.Edison is among the very few successful scientist in the world who attained the highest status as a most distinguished scientist without receiving a university degree.

At the age of 84nthis great scientist,Thomas Alva Edison,died on October 18,1931.After his death,he was given due respect by the world community of scientist.It will never be forgotten that Edison was the pioneer scientist who brought about the technological revolution in the field of electricity.


Edison's Phonograph

Edison's Phonograph

edison's ticker tape

Edison's ticker tape

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