Thomas Alva Edison

Who Is Thomas Edison?

Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific and controversial early American inventors. He is known most for his groundbreaking work with phonographs and the electric light bulb; however, Edison’s contributions were far more extensive and included the kinetoscope, motion picture technology, the dictaphone, and the alkaline battery. Edison also opened the first industrial research laboratory of the time.

The Inventor

Edison is the true definition of an innovator, with a constantly curious mind, he successfully patented 1,093 inventions in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, many of Edison’s ideas were enhancements to already invented items. Edison had a gift for perfecting things whether that was making them better,cheaper, or both. In fact, Edison did not actually invent the lightbulb but drastically improved it. The first light bulb only lasted about 150 hours and Edison introduced one that lasted 1,200 hours!

Where did he start?

Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He left school to begin working on a railroad. During the Civil War, he learned telegraphy and traveled around the US working as a telegrapher. The telegraph seemed to be the spark that started so many brilliant inventions of his. From 1870 to 1874, Edison developed telegraph-related products for Western Union Telegraph Company. Later, with the help of his father, he was able to develop a machine shop and laboratory where he created the phonograph.

The Energy Trailblazer

Edison brought electricity to every US home as we know it today. He is just one of many inventors that paved the way for technological advancement. The MIE hopes to highlight the leaders and stories behind each breakthrough.