Thomas Alva Edison is one of America's most famous inventors. This popular inventor was born February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Edison, Jr. and Nancy Elliot Edison. Thomas Edison saw many huge changes take place in his lifetime. He was also responsible for making many of those changes occur. His inventions created and contributed to modern lights, movies, telephones, records and CDs. Edison was truly a genius.

When Edison was 7 years old, his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan. Edison entered school in Port Huron, but only after spending 12 weeks there, his teachers falsely considered him to be a dull and retarded student. Mostly because of his hearing problems but also due to his incessant questioning about how everything worked. But all of these questions will have been worth his while because within the next 84 years, Thomas Edison will rise to be one of the greatest and famous inventors of all American history.

As mostly everyone knows, Edison is most famous for his development of the first electric light bulb. When Edison was born, electricity had not been developed. By the time he died, entire cities were lit by electricity. Scientists had been working to invent electric light for many years. Back then people used candles and gaslights to light their homes. But only after two years in his new laboratory, Edison boasted he would invent a safe, mild, and inexpensive electric light. In 1879, after spending $40,000, and performing 1,200 experiments, he succeeded. He made a light bulb using carbonized filaments from cotton thread. Carbonized thread is ordinary cotton sewing thread that has been burned to an ash. The light bulb burned for two days. The electric light took the greatest amount of time and was most likely the most complicated experiment of all his experiments.

Although the invention of the electric light is a major achievement for Thomas Edison, it was not the invention with which he was most proud of. Of all his inventions, Edison was most proud of the phonograph. He invented the "talking machine" by accident while working on telegraphs and telephones. The first words he recorded were "Mary Had A Little Lamb." Edison called the tinfoil phonograph a "talking machine" and a "sound writing" machine. This was not something he planned to invent. This was something brand new and Edison's most original invention. And it happened by accident. He was working on ways to record telegraph messages automatically. Edison continued to work on cylinder and disk phonographs for the rest of his long life, even receiving patents on them well into the 1920's. It was his longest continuing interest.

Thomas Edison s career in inventing didn t stop with just the electric light bulb or the phonograph. Many other inventions came from this great mind. A few worth mentioning were an electric vote recorder, the improved typewriter, and also the world's first "electric light-power station." All of these, most still in use today, have contributed to the American society in unimaginable ways. A business friend once asked Edison about the secret to his success. Edison replied, "Genius is hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense". But his "common sense" was very uncommon. More patents were issued to Edison than have been issued to any other single person in U.S. history. A total of 1093 patents had been issued to Thomas Edison.

While reading about Thomas Edison, I have noticed many of his qualities including his personality, and desire to feed on the knowledge of the world around him. Thomas Edison was a dedicated man who accomplished more in his lifetime than many other inventors combined. Of all the people I have read about, I haven t found anyone who was more dedicated to his work than Edison.

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