There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking
Posted February 11th, 2015
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He was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel (1804–96, born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy (1810–1871, born in Chenango County, New York).His father had to escape from Canada because he took part in the unsuccessful Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837. He reported being of Dutch ancestry. In school, the his mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him "addled". This ended his three months of official schooling.Recalling later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint." His mother taught him at home. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union.
He developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. His life there was bittersweet. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis, and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident prohibited further work of the kind.
He obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers. This began his long streak of entrepreneurial ventures, as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park", he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents, are the impacts of his inventions, because Edison not only invented things, his inventions established major new industries world-wide, notably, electric light and power utilities, sound recording and motion pictures. Edison's inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.
His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York.
Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey, home. Some of Edison's earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder, (U.S. Patent 90,646), which was granted on June 1, 1869.
Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him notice was the phonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," New Jersey. His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder. Despite its limited sound quality and that the recordings could be played only a few times, the phonograph made Edison a celebrity.
Edison's major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, a part of Raritan Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey (today named Edison in his honor). It was built with the funds from the sale of Edison's quadruplex telegraph.The quadruplex telegraph was Edison's first big financial success, and Menlo Park became the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement. Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development under his direction. William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, began his duties as a laboratory assistant to Edison in December 1879. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting".

Nearly all of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for a 17-year period and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. About a dozen were design patents, which protect an ornamental design for up to a 14-year period. As in most patents, the inventions he described were improvements over prior art. The phonograph patent, in contrast, was unprecedented as describing the first device to record and reproduce sounds.
Over his desk, Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking."
Edison is credited with designing and producing the first commercially available fluoroscope, a machine that uses X-rays to take radiographs. The fundamental design of Edison's fluoroscope is still in use today, although Edison himself abandoned the project after nearly losing his own eyesight and seriously injuring his assistant,Clarence Dally.
The key to Edison's fortunes was telegraphy. With knowledge gained from years of working as a telegraph operator, he learned the basics of electricity. This allowed him to make his early fortune with the stock ticker, the first electricity-based broadcast system.Edison was also granted a patent for the motion picture camera or "Kinetograph". He did the electromechanical design, while his employee W.K.L. Dickson, a photographer, worked on the photographic and optical development. Much of the credit for the invention belongs to Dickson. In 1891, Thomas Edison built a Kinetoscope, or peep-hole viewer. This device was installed in penny arcades, where people could watch short, simple films. The kinetograph and kinetoscope were both first publicly exhibited May 20, 1891."

The Story Of Thomas Alva Edison - American Inventor Biography / Educational Documentary - Ella73TV

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