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Thomas Alva Edison

Page history last edited by Kathryn Hansen 12 years, 11 months ago



"Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America  has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation...."


"Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward" 

Thomas Alva Edison (3) 



 Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931) was an American inventor who developed many practical items which evolved into   convenient technological devices of today. Born in Milan, Ohio on February 11, 1847, he was the seventh and final child of Samuel Edison Jr. and Nancy Matthews Elliot. He is credited with being one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding approximately 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, many in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.


Although famed for his invention of the Phonograph which first recorded sound, the electric light bulb and the subsequent commercialisation of electricity, he is less well known for his pioneering of the American Cinema.[4]


Thomas Edison is considered the great inventor of the electrical age. He had hundreds of inventions and was quite well known here in the United States, as well as other parts of the world. By the end of his life he had made millions with his inventions and the businesses he built on them.(5)


Remarkably, Edison had an uncanny knack for recognising a good idea when he saw one. He used many inventions from other people, he would then adapt or improve upon the idea.


Because of his application of the principles of mass production, as well as his status as an inventor, Edison is frequently credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.


Although he began his inventing career in Newark, New Jersey with the automatic repeater and other miscellaneous telegraphic devices, it wasn't until 1877 that he gained notoriety with his invention of the phonograph. He subsequently became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," which was the area of New Jersey he lived in at the time.


After patenting the phonograph in 1878, he was granted another patent for a "kinetoscope" or motion-picture viewer. Edison himself did all of the electromagnetical design, while his employee, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, worked on the optical and photographic elements.


Edison was the first to develop a commercial motion picture machine. This was in the late 1880s'. It was ironic that he mainly wanted this technology to make his phonograph more marketable. They were placed in viewing parlors, called Nickelodeons, which charged customers twenty-five cents addmission to peer into each machine. The first parlor was opened in Manhattan in April 1894.(6)



After the invention of the instrument, Edison began to experiment heavily with film. He produced over 200 Actualities, which were recorded onto celluloid film strips then conveyed through the kinetoscope for viewing.


In 1902, Thomas Edison's agents bribed a London theater owner for a copy of Georges Méliès' 'A Trip to the Moon.'After he made hundreds of copies and showed them around New York City, he effectively bankrupted Méliès.


Edison claimed his favourite movie was The Birth of a Nation.


Edison died of complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931.












Noteable inventions include:

  • incandescent light bulb
  • phonograph
  • kinetoscope
  • motion picture camera











(5). http://www.who2.com/ask/thomasedison.html Retreived Oct.14.


http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/edison/section8.rhtml Retreived Oct 14.




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