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Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison

Early Life

  • Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11th 1847 in Milan Ohio
  • He liked to conduct experiments when he was a child
  • He was very curious
  • When he was 13, He began working on the Grand Trunk Railroad between Port Huron and Detroit, selling newspapers and candy.
  • He lost his hearing when he was working on the railroad because the conductor of the train pulled him on to the train by his ears
  • When he was 21 he received his first patent for inventing a electric vote counter to be used by the U.S congress
  • When he was 16, he became a telegrapher at Stratford Junction in Ontario, Canada
  • One of his first inventions was a telegraph repeater, which automatically relayed a message to a second line
  • when he had made enough progress in his telegraph operator career, he decided to become a full time inventor


  • In 1863 he became a telegraph operator

  • He met Samuel laws who had a stock printer in operation. He repaired the stock printer when it broke and was hired by Samuel laws to help with other related inventions.(he received 40,000 for all his work with laws)
  • He used this money to open a laboratory and factory in Newark, N.J. He had as many as 50 inventions at work at a time in the factory


  • Edison’s first inventions focused mainly on improving the telephone that Alexander Graham Bell Had invented
  • In 1877 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph(a machine that could repeat somebody’s voice)much like a recorder in our time
  • Edison also invented a device called a tasimeter, that was supposed measure the difference in temperature by a millionth of a degree
  • He invented a telephone transmitter (adding on to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone)
  • Edison was most famous for inventing the light bulb
  • He invented the motion picture projector

Fun Facts

  • He was awarded 1,093 patents for inventions throughout his lifetime
  • By the time Edison was 30 he was a well-known genius and a millionaire
  • Edison started working on the light bulb after he had visited William Wallace’s Brass and copper foundry
  • Edison had a total of 25 workers to help him.
  • One quote that Edison said was “Genius is two percent inspiration and ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
  • He died on October 18 1931 in West Orange New jersey


  • Adair, Gene. Inventing the electric age. Oxford: Oxford University press, 1996. Print
  • Daintith, John, ed. “Edison, Thomas Alva”. Grolier Library of Science Biographies. Vol. 3. Danbury: Grolier, 1997. Print.
  • "Thomas Alva Edison."Britannica School. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2013. Web. 20 Sep. 2013. <

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By Ava Lathan