Born February 11, 1847 - Died October 18, 1931
This famous man had no formal education except for the home schooling he received from his mother. He had to learn everything as he went along in his search for solutions to his inventions. Edison lived by this motto; "A genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration."
Edison's career as a telegraph operator began when he saved a station agent's young son from the path of a moving freight car. Out of gratitude the father taught Edison the new science of telegraphy. By the time he was seventeen, Edison was "on the road" as a telegraph operator. He drifted from Stratford, Canada to Adrian, Michigan; Fort Wayne; Indianapolis; and Boston.
|Thomas Alva Edison|
By fixing a broken down machine in the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company, he was given a $300-a-month job as superintendent of the company. At the same time, he was making many inventions, among them the "universal" stock ticker. For this and other inventions, he received $40,000, and with this money he opened a manufacturing shop in Newark, making stock tickers.
At the age of 29, he went to Menlo Park to make perhaps the greatest invention of all -- a successful incandescent electric lamp. Out of the Edison laboratory between 1876 and 1886 came the carbon telephone transmitter, the phonograph, the Edison dynamo, and the Edison incandescent lamp. When the electrical system with which he hoped to light whole cities required a new piece of machinery or a new device, Edison developed it. If after developing the new device he could find no manufacturer, he would set up his own plants for manufacturing the equipment he had invented. By the very force of necessity, the Wizard of Menlo Park became a manufacturer of New York City. On September 4th, 1882, Edison started operating the Pearl Street Station, the first central generating station to light New York City.The Phonograph Invention
The phonograph was an original invention. The technology to produce the phonograph was provided by a combination of the telephone and the telegraph. These technologies provided both the need for the phonograph and the means by which to produce it. Edison often made inventions to meet a specific need in the marketplace. In the case of the phonograph Edison was inspired by a problem that Western Union, a telegraph company had.
Edison conceived the idea of attaching a stylus from a telegraph repeater to the diaphragm in the mouthpiece of a telephone. Then as he shouted into the diaphragm he ran paper underneath the point of the stylus. As in a telephone the diaphragm vibrated making the stylus indent the paper. He tried this experiment in July of 1877. When he tried to reproduce what he had recorded it did not really work. But it did produce a distinct sound caused by his voice.
This invention is the grandfather of modern records, tapes, and Compact Disc players. Millions of people worldwide enjoy the fruits of this man's labors. These recordings help communicate information and entertainment for the visually impaired.