Thomas Edison, The Inventor
Thomas Alva Edison was arguably one of the world’s most influential and unique people to ever walk on this Earth. Thomas Edison is most commonly thought of to be an inventor; the inventor of the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and the first motion-picture studio and machine. Because of Edison’s unique childhood, he was able to become a successful entrepreneur and create many inventions that made a big impact on America. Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Thomas was the last of the seven children to be born from Nancy and Samuel Edison. Thomas’s father, Samuel, was a political activist who had been exiled from Canada, and his mother was a school teacher. In his first year of life, he lost part of his hearing due to a severe case of scarlet fever. At the age of seven, Thomas and his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, where he attended school for a mere 12 weeks. However, his mother pulled him out because his teacher thought he was difficult since he got distracted easily. His mother decided to teach him herself at home (Thomas Edison Biography). At the age of twelve, Edison’s parents allowed Thomas to get a job on the railroad. He sold newspaper to the passengers along the Grand Trunk Railroad line. Being at the station, he was exposed to the news bulletin that was sent to office at the station each day. From this, he began writing his own newspaper, called the Grand Trunk Herald. Working at the railroad also allowed him to conduct chemical experiments. He set up a laboratory in a train baggage car. But, when one of Thomas’s experiments resulted into a chemical fire, he was kicked off the train and was forced to sell newspapers at different stations along the route. As it turned out, getting kicked off of the train might have been a good thing. While selling newspapers one afternoon, a three-year-old child was in danger of getting hit by an errant train. Edison recused the child, and for a reward, the child’s father taught Thomas Edison how to operate a telegraph. Edison was fifteen at the time, and for the next five years of his life, he traveled through the Midwest as a telegrapher, subbing for the men that were serving in the Civil War. Any spare time he had, he spent reading, studying, and experimented with the telegraph, and he became familiar with electrical science(Ron Kurtus). Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky when he was nineteen to work at the Associated Press. He worked the night shifts, which meant he could spend the day experimenting and reading. As technology advanced however, telegraph receivers were able to start reading messages by the sound of clicks. Since Thomas Edison was hearing impaired, he was left with less opportunities to find employment. Without a job, Edison returned back home in 1868, where he found his father jobless and his mother suffering from a mental illness. Realizing he must take control, he traveled to Boston, the center of science and culture of America at the time(Adkins ). While in Boston, Edison got a job at the Western Union Company. In his spare time, he was able to invent and patent an electronic voting recorder, which was able to quickly tally up votes in the legislature. However, the lawmakers were not interested because they didn’t want to tally up the votes quickly they wanted the time to change their minds. Since this was a flop, he decided to move to New York City in 1869. The move to New York was the starting point of Thomas Edison, the inventor. “He developed his first invention, an improved stock ticker, the Universal Stock Printer, which synchronized several stock tickers' transactions. The Gold and Stock Telegraph Company was so impressed, they paid him $40,000 for the rights. Edison was only 22 years old. With this success, he quit his work as a telegrapher to devote himself full-time to inventing” (Thomas Edison Biography). With the money he received from the stock ticker, he was able to open up...
Cited: Ron Kurtus, . N.p.. Web. 7 Jan 2014.
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