Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio. Like Ben Franklin, he was both a scientist and an inventor. In fact, Edison patented 1,093 inventions in his lifetime including the kinetoscope, the phonograph, and his most famous - the incandescent light bulb. These inventions earned him the nickname "The Wizard of Menlo Park."

The Menlo Laboratory in Newark, New Jersey, was to become the first research and development lab in the world. Edison called this lab his "invention factory."

In 1879, after 1,200 experiments, Edison made a light bulb using carbonized filaments from cotton that burned for two days. With the help of an associate, Lewis Howard Latimer, who was responsible for inventing the process for manufacturing the carbon filament, the light bulb changed the world and was one of Edison's greatest achievements. The first light bulbs were installed in a steamship and later in a New York factory.

Even before the invention of the electric light bulb, Edison partnered with J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family to form the Edison Electric Light Company in 1876, known today as General Electric.

By the time Edison died in October 1931, entire cities were lit up by electricity. As a tribute to this American genius, people across America dimmed their lights for one minute in his honor.

Thomas Edison Inventions:

  • Phonograph - 1877
  • Telegraph - 1874
  • Electrical Vote Recorder (first patent)
  • Universal Stock Ticker - 1869
  • Electric Light Bulb - 1879
  • Electric Lighting System
  • Mimeograph
  • Storage Battery - 1909
  • Dictating Machine
  • Telephone Transmitter - 1876
  • Kinetoscope - 1889
  • Electric Pen - 1879
  • Talking Doll - 1890