THOMAS EDISON  1874-1931

Inventors improve the quality of life the world over.



Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio.  With only three months of formal education he became one of the greatest inventors and industrial leaders in history.  Edison obtained 1,093 United States patents, the most issued to any individual.



Thomas Edison


Thomas Edison - American inventor of the phonograph and light bulb



Edison's greatest contribution to our modern world was the first practical electric lighting.  He not only invented the first successful electric light bulb, but also set up the first electrical power distribution company.  Edison invented the phonograph, and made improvements to the telegraph, telephone and motion picture technology. He also founded the first modern research laboratory.


Edison was also a good businessman. He not only designed important new devices, he created companies worldwide for the manufacture and sale of his inventions. Along with other manufacturing pioneers of his era, Edison helped make the United States a world industrial power. He and Henry Ford became friends after Edison encouraged Ford to use the gasoline powered engine for the automobile.


"Hell, there are no rules here—we're
   trying to accomplish something.
                                                                              —Thomas Edison


Edison was also a ruthless businessman who fought viciously to defeat his competitors. One of the most notorious examples of his competitive vigor were the lengths he went to to discredit Nicola Tesla's Alternating Current system, which is the system of electrical distribution in use today.


Edison had great faith in progress and industry, and valued long, hard work. He used to say, "Genius was 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."  Edison believed that inventing useful products offered everyone the opportunity for fame and fortune while benefiting society.


The Edison Birthplace Museum features a collection of rare Edisonia, including examples of many of Edison's early inventions, documents, and family mementos. The Birthplace is open February through November and is located at 9 Edison Drive in Milan, Ohio



 Resources - Other Inventor Links:


Alexander Graham Bell - Scottish Inventor

Sir Henry Bessemer - English Inventor & Engineer

Benjamin Franklin - American Statesman and Inventor

Nicola Tesla - Serbian/American Inventor

Leonardo da Vinci - Italian Artist and Inventor

Orville Wright - American Inventor

Wilbur Wright - American Inventor



Thomas Alva Edison  Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb



Books About Edison


Edison: A Life of Invention - Author: Paul Israel

Israel, managing editor of the Rutgers edition of Edison's papers, draws this biography from workshop diaries, letters, and more than five million pages of Edison archives. It places Edison in the context of the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath, and provides background on how he developed the collaborative research methods upon which today's corporate research departments and think tanks are modeled.

Click here to purchase this hardcover edition of "Edison: A Life of Invention"

Thomas A. Edison: Young Inventor - Author: Sue Guthridge, Wallace Wook (Illustrator)

A biography focusing on the childhood of the inventor. Reading level for ages 9 through 12.

Click here to purchase this Paperback edition of "Thomas A. Edison: Young Inventor"

Uncommon Friends: Life With Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel, & Charles Lindbergh - Author: James D. Newton

James Newton formed friendships with several men who helped shape the 20th century. This book reveals the personal side of each of these great men, what it was like to be around them on a regular basis, some of their thoughts on life, and hints of their sense of humor.



The electric light bulb and Joseph Swan


JOSEPH SWAN - It didn't go all his own way because as with most inventions, there is likely to be more than one engineer working on the same, or similar idea at the same time.





Edison: The Wizard of Light (2000) - Producer: A&E Home Video

An Emmy Award-winning family drama about the 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration required to build an impassioned life. A-12-year-old boy wins Edison's affections and a long-term apprentice job. Believable conversations between mentor and student about education, life, and the invention of Edison's light bulb and phonograph are dotted with many recognizable, timely quotations.

Click here to purchase this Video edition of "Edison: The Wizard of Light (2000)"

Young Tom Edison (1940) - Producer: MGM

Edison's early life depicted with flair by Mickey Rooney.

Click here to purchase this Video edition of "Edison the Man"

Edison the Man (1940) - Producer: MGM

Spencer Tracy stars as the earnest inventor in this sequel to "Young Tom Edison."

Click here to purchase this Video edition of "Edison the Man"


Biography - Thomas Edison - Producer: A&E Biography

A&E's look at the famous inventor.


Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone


Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone





The Edison Papers: Rutgers University

Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park

Thomas Edison's Home Page

Edison National Historic Site

IEEE's Edison Pages

The Edison Birthplace Museum

Thomas Edison/Henry Ford - Winter Estates Homepage

Edison After Fourty - A Smithsonian photo-album providing a look into the latter half of the life of Edison

Thomas Edison Bio
Thomas Edison's Patents
Edison National Historic Site








Albert Einstein - light & energy relativity

Alec Issigonis - mini front drive transverse engine

Alexander Graham Bell - telephone

Archimedes - screw pump & mass

Barnes Wallis - Dambusters Bomb

Benjamin Franklin - electricity, lightning

Charles Babbage - Computer

Christopher Cockerell - Hovercraft

Clive Sinclair - ZX80 computer & C5 runabout

Ferdinand Porsche - electric cars & VW beetle

Frank Whittle - jet engine

Francis Bacon - experimental science

Galileo Galilei - astronomy, pendulum clock

George Eastman - photographic film

George Stephenson - Rocket steam locomotive

Gottlieb Daimler

Guglielmo Marconi

Henry Ford - factory production lines

Howard Hughes

How Things Work - Links

Isaac Newton

Isambard Kingdom Brunel - Great Eastern

James Dyson - vortex chamber vacuum cleaner

James Watt - steam engine




John Dunlop - car tires

John Ericsson - marine propeller

John Logie Baird - television

John McAdam - tar bound road surfacing

Joseph Swan - incandescent light bulb

Leonardo da Vinci

Louis Bleriot - cross channel flight

Michael Faraday

Montgolfier Brothers - hot air balloon

Nelson Kruschandl - Robot

                         - Car joystick

                         - EV refuelling system

                         - Minisub nuclear sub hunter

                         - Solar Yacht

                         - Wind tunnel

                         - Artificial Intelligence

Nikolaus Otto

Robert Fulton

Rudolph Diesel - compression ignition engine

Thomas Edison - light bulb

Thomas Sopwith

Thomas Telford - roads & bridge builder

Trevor Bayliss - wind up radio

Sebastian de Farranti

Wright Brothers - Orville and Wilbur





SeaVax prototype ocean cleaning vessel 2015


SEAVAX - is a battery electric ASV (Autonomous Solar Vessel), a trimaran robot that runs on solar power = energy from nature. A fleet of such vessels could be the basis of an international ocean plastic cleanup campaign in the hope of protecting marine mammals and improving the health of wild fish stocks.




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