Thomas Edison : A Glimpse Into the Life of a Brilliant Inventor

Thomas Edison was a shrewd businessman and a celebrated inventor of numerous devices that have paved the way to the development of modern technology today,

Among his most famous inventions is the phonograph and the light bulb. He was also the one who invented the motion picture camera, which what got him his nickname, 'The Wizard of Menlo Park.' 

Edison was also highly regarded as the first inventor in history to have used mass production in the invention process. He has more than a thousand patents in the United States, not counting the patents he has in some countries in Europe like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Today you are about to find out how life started for this well-respected, highly-intellectual man.

thomas edison

Young Tom

Thomas Edison was the last of 7 children. He was born February 11, 1847 to a Canadian father and a New Yorker mother. He was born in Michigan, and growing up as a boy, he was noted to have a wandering mind, and was described by one of his teachers to be “addled.” 

Because of this, he was taken out of school by his mother, and was taught at home instead. He described himself to be like his mother, and knew at a young age that he was destined for great things. He had this strong feeling that he must not disappoint his parents, especially his mother. 

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Young Tom succumbed to scarlet fever at a young age and it was then that his hearing problems started. He had a middle-ear infection that would keep coming back. When they moved to another town, he sold newspapers and candies to passing trains, and also sold vegetables to add to his income. But all through out, he continued to study qualitative analysis, though he wasn't even able to study in high school. 

thomas edisonHis famous quote "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration"

A Passion For Invention

He was considered to have a highly independent style of learning, which could have been the reason why he repeatedly questioned the mathematical and scientific theories that existed at that time, especially when it comes to electricity. He had an exceptional memory and patience that suited his love for performing experiments on his own. This led to the formulation of his own theories, continuously feeding his brain with new knowledge, and often challenging his own beliefs and theories. 

He would often say, “I accept almost nothing dealing with electricity without thoroughly testing it first.”

Thomas Edison, as a young teenage boy, also distributed campaign literature on Abraham Lincoln's behalf. He considered the man his hero, and even spread photographs of “the great emancipator” in flattering poses. His publishing venture earned him extra income for the chemical laboratory he had set up in his own basement.

And even if his mother was very tolerant and patient with her son's “developing theories and inventions,” there came a time when she can no longer stand the odors of the chemicals coming from the basement and he was forced to place them all in a locked basement room and the rest of them in his locker on the train.

Edison was also given the chance to have an operation that would restore his hearing. However he declined the offer as he was scared that a noisy world would make it difficult for him to relearn how to go about channeling his thinking.

Hearing Problems

By 14 years old, Tom was already 80% deaf in his right ear, and 100% deaf on his left ear. The only thing that bothered him about this impediment is the fact he can no longer hear the beautiful sound birds make. Edison loved birds, and create an aviary with more than 5,000 species later on in his life. 

He also learned how to do Morse code and work the telegraph. By 15 years old, he became a telegraph operator, acting as a replacement for those who had gone off to join the civil war. After that, he worked as a tramp operator.

Edison became a telegrapher for Western Union when he was 19 years old. He insisted working on the night shift as this gave him lots of time to read and experiment—something that caused him his job in the end. One night, he accidentally spilled sulfuric acid which leaked to his boss's desk down below. He was fired the next day.

thomas edison lightbulbHe gave us the ligthbulb

The Master Inventor

This didn't stop Edison from plowing on with his passion—inventing. And through the course of time, he was able to come up with some of the best devices man has ever known. Thanks to him, our world today is brighter—quite literally.

Here are some of the inventions that this man has given to humanity:

  1. Light Bulb
  2. Phonograph
  3. Motion Picture
  4. Iron Ore Separator
  5. Electronic Vote Recorder

A Brilliant Man

Tom never would have done it without the help of his loving and patient mother,. She never gave up on him in spite of him being unusually unique. But thanks to Edison's gift of perseverance, he was able to make his own weaknesses as strengths. A remarkable man, indeed.

  • Just because you're different doesn't mean you can't be successful. Come to think of it, all men who perceived themselves as different were most likely to succeed in their endeavors.
  • Your weakness will always remain to be your weakness until you change the way you think about it.
  • Learn things on your own. Break out of the mold. Be independent. Be somebody. 

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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References:

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