Thomas Alva Edison
"one of the most prolific inventors of the late 19th century"
- Formal schooling for only three months (age 7), thereafter tutored
by his mother, an avid reader
- Starting in 1862, Edison began printing, publishing and selling "The
Weekly Herald" on a train that was part of the Grand Trunk Railroad
(Port Huron, MI).
- Age 15 Edison became manager of a telegraph office.
- Inventor / Developer
Currently, approximately 5 million pages of Edison's papers are being
archived a the Edison National Historic Site. These sources of information
about the inventor's work include pocket notebooks, unbound scraps of
paper, letters, scrapbooks, among other forms of his writings.
Edison's first patented invention was the Electrical Vote Recorder, in
1868. His other inventions include the incandescent lamp, first
central electric light-power station, automatic telegraph, stock ticker,
phonograph, alkaline storage battery, a magnetic process to separate iron
ore, and the carbon microphone. "...His introduction of flexible
celluloid film and his invention of the movie projector aided the development
of motion pictures." At the age of 23 he sold his first invention,
a "Universal Stock Ticker"
Edison's "...early laboratories were forerunners of the modern industrial
research laboratory, where skilled researchers jointly solve technological
problems." By the time Edison died in 1931, he had patented 1,093
Regarding intelligence: Edison stated that he believed the cells
in the human body posessed "intelligence". These cells, taken together,
constituted a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants.
A man, then, was not just an individual, but also a "vast collection of
myriads of individuals". Thus, the intelligence of a man consisted
of the combined intelligences of all the cells, or "entities" within him,
"as a city is made up of the combined intelligence of its inhabitants".
Upon the death of the body, those cells become separated and diffused,
yet persist in some new form, serve over and over again, live forever,
and can no more be destroyed than matter.
He was dubbed by Life magazine as the "Number One Man of the Millennium."
Image Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine
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20 December 2016