Thomas Edison – Interesting Facts

Young Tom, 1878, the year of his phonograph patent.

Young Tom, 1878, the year of his phonograph patent.

Readers always enjoy interesting facts about Edison, so here are some to ponder.

Edison nicknamed two of his children he had with his first wife “Dot” and “Dash” in honor of his early telegraph days.

Edison’s first patent was for the Electrographic Vote-Recorder, which was granted by the U.S. patent Office on June 1, 1869. At the time, Edison was 22.

Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless telegraph, was Edison’s friend. He used the patents made available by Edison for his invention of the wireless telegraph.

Today’s General Electric Company was originally founded as the Edison Electric Light Company by Thomas Alva Edison to market his incandescent lamp and other electrical products.

At his legendary West Orange facility, (opened in 1887) Edison combines invention and manufacturing, creating the integrated manufacturing facility….. from rail-delivered raw materials to finished products for sale…with R&D labs as the inspiration for new product development. In 1910, he employed 10,000 workers on a manufacturing complex comprised of over 40 buildings, on 25 acres of land, to make his products for sale around the world.

Friends and camping buddies-Edison, John Burroughs (famed environmentalist) and Henry Ford posing in Ft. Myers, Fl.

Friends and camping buddies-Edison, John Burroughs (famed environmentalist) and Henry Ford posing in Ft. Myers, Fl.

Edison is responsible for creating the first re-chargeable alkaline storage battery—his famous nickel-iron battery, originally intended for the electric vehicle market; but expanded to include many other applications…quite likely his most prolific product.

In 1929, Edison was given one of the first honorary Academy Awards for his work in founding the motion picture industry. This celebration marked the approximate 40-year anniversary of the original motion picture achievements of Edison, and his building of the first motion picture studio—the Black Maria.

After leaving school at an early age, Thomas Edison was essentially home-schooled by his mother, who was actually a formally trained normal school teacher, then unemployed and caring for her family. She gave him four great things to remember and profit by:

  1. Do not be afraid to fail. Keep trying, learn from failure; and try again.

  2. It is OK to work with your hands and your head. Not everything important comes from books. Experience the world and learn from it.

  3. Read across the entire span of literature, not just what you like.

  4. Never stop learning, keep improving yourself.

 

Edison in his chemistry lab at West Orange- a picture of confidence and command.

Edison in his chemistry lab at West Orange- a picture of confidence and command.

Motion pictures, according to Edison in a prominent magazine interview, would be the new way to teach classroom students. This he proclaimed way back in 1911. Today with the advent of the Internet and smart boards, movies are commonplace in the classroom.

Today we boast how iPods and other recording devices free listeners from radio stations, practically decentralizing music. Edison did this originally with his phonograph which decentralized having to listen to music only from a live band or concert.

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Thomas Edison said, “If I were a school teacher, I would put lazy pupils to studying bees and ants. They would soon learn to be diligent.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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1 Comment

  1. Shawn Borri says:

    Mr. Edison, has been an inspiration, starting around age 6. I had a little basement, lab as well, and later a brooder house lab. Hard work and determination are essential to success, and so is Failure to learn what does not work. It took, for instance over 1,029 experiments to develop the brown wax, aluminum/sodium stearate compound used to create Edison direct recorded records used for the recording industry from 1889-1902.

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