Thomas Edison was the amazing genius inventor of the electrical age. His hundreds of inventions made him a giant public figure and very well known in America and around the world within the 20th century. Among Edison's most famous inventions are the first practical long lasting light bulb and the phonograph which was an early sound reproducing machine that used cylinders to record as well as reproduce sound. He also helped refine and develop other inventions like motion picture cameras, the stock ticker and the typewriter. His inventions were very useful and many are still used today. Thomas Edison’s life was probably twice as productive as a modern day chemist; he was a firm believer of an eight-hour workday, eight hours in the morning, and eight in the afternoon. Aside from his amazing history as an adult Edison lived an equally exciting childhood. “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it .” These are the word that Thomas Alva Edison lived his life by. This is why he is known as the greatest inventor in America’s history. By the end of his life Edison had registered 1093 patents and had made millions from his inventions and the businesses he built on them. He is especially known for his work with electricity, and the story of his struggles to find the right filament for the first working light bulbs are legendary. I mean who knows where we will be without him today and the use of electricity and the light bulb. Edison led America into the age of electricity and changed the world forever. The light bulb was a better and safer way to light up a dark room or street. For the first time, people had more hours in the day to work and do more things. Edison was always out working to help support his family and for his experiments. Edison got his first job at the age of twelve as a train boy on the Grand Trunk Railway. Edison sold newspapers and candy to passengers. He also printed a newspaper every week called the Grand Trunk Herald. After about a year he got permission to move his science labatory to an empty train car. One day the train jerked really hard spilling chemicals everywhere and catching them on fire. The train conductor through him off the train. Then he got a job at the train station selling newspapers. Edison had many ear problems throughout his childhood. When he was fifteen he was grabbed by the ear really hard and almost became totally deaf. It could have been fixed with an operation but he would rather be deaf. It would help him concentrate he said. He started reading a lot after this, he went through shelf by shelf reading every book in the Detroit Free Library. He like reading the science books the best. After reading lots of books he realized his future would be in finding ways to make our lives better instead of just learning how something works.
By the 1920's, Edison was the most famous living American. People in the United States honored Edison's contributions by naming him one of the most important individuals in American history. Among his many honors he was voted the "most useful American" in 1913. In 1971 he ranked third of the ten greatest men in American business history. He was elected to the American Academy of Sciences. In 1928 Congress ordered a special gold medal to be made in his honor for his lifetime contribution to society. In his 70's he was working sixteen hours a day. He was told by his Doctors to slow down. He replied, "There will be plenty of time to rest at 100."Edison made his last public statement in 1931. He sent a message of goodwill to lighting engineers who were meeting at a conference. Edison died four months later on October 18, 1931. He suffered from diabetes, Bright's disease and stomach ulcers. On the day of his funeral the torch of the Statue of Liberty was extinguished as a mark of respect. People all across America dimmed their lights in honor of the great inventor.
Edison's legacy is not in the machines he invented. It includes his Influence on the business of invention. Edison made invention a profession, an occupation rather than a hobby. Edison's commercial success inspired other inventors and businesspeople to copy his methods. Edison's invention of the research and development laboratory continues to be one of America's most important tools. Edison owed his success to hard work. He often said his inventions came from "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!" Edison's wealth and scientific accomplishment set him apart from others. However, things that contributed to his fame were things he had in common with many average Americans. Most Americans would find it hard to go through a day without using an invention created by Edison.