Inventors

Thomas Alva Edison

Biography of Thomas Alva Edison
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Thomas Alva Edison Biography

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and entrepreneur who created thousands of inventions which he managed to patent in Europe and the United States. He was born in the United States on February 11, 1847, in the town of Milan, Ohio. Thomas was the son of Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. of Dutch ascendance and Nancy Matthews Elliott of Scottish ascendance.

Edison would begin his schooling in 1855 at the age of 8. During the first months, he tried to drop out of the school because one of his professors treated him as an unproductive and not very capable kid in his academic work. However, what really happened was that the great intelligence of Edison made him collide with the monotony of the school.

In 1859, when he was 12, he wanted to start earning money, so he started selling newspapers, butter, vegetables and blackberries on the train that ran from Port Huron to Detroit. The money he collected for sales, he would use it to buy scientific journals, books, and materials that he used to learn from and experience new things. He managed to learn to telegraph and that motivated him to get a used printing press to produce his own newspaper, which he called “Weekly Herald.”

Sometime later, Thomas Edison was in several cities working as a telegrapher in several companies and in his free time he would conduct researches. Edison achieved a perfection of the automatic telegraph, invented an apparatus that transmitted the oscillations of stock values, contributed ideas in the construction of the first typewriter and perfected the telephone by means of the use of the carbon microphone.

At the end of 1871 Edison would get married, so he bought a piece of land in the village of Menlo Park that was near New York, which he devoted largely to the construction of his workshop and the remaining part for a home family. Thanks to his great capacity of work, in those years Thomas Edison concentrated in the creation of a new object to record the sound vibrations and although it was already invented, Edison wanted to improve that idea and make of it something much better. It was then in August 1877 when he finished one of his sketches and gave it to one of his technicians to start making it. When Thomas connected the machine, he realized that he could perfectly hear a song that one of his employees had sung a few minutes ago. This test would end the invention of the phonograph, one of Edison’s greatest inventions.

After the invention of the phonograph, Thomas Edison began researching on the electric light in April 1879. Although he was credited with the invention of the incandescent lamp, Edison really only perfected it by initially finding that the problem of lamps at that time was finding a material that was able to keep the light of a light bulb on for a long time since he had tried with different materials without finding the expected result, until finally, he tried with the carbonized bamboo filament which had the necessary characteristics to keep the bulb lit by longer time.

On October 21, 1879, Edison would make the first bulb with the capacity to be on for 48 hours straight. Thanks to this perfection, Thomas Edison began to manufacture bulbs in large quantities, which he sold at a lower price than the production cost was, in order to increase the demand for light bulbs and reduce the costs per unit of them. This would give great results since at the end of that year the first lighting system built by Edison was put into operation in Menlo Park, which had 53 bulbs.

In 1880, Thomas would continue to grow as he achieved a partnership with J. P. Morgan to found the company Edison Electric.

On a scientific level, Thomas Edison discovered the so-called Edison effect in the year 1883, which consisted in the passage of electricity from a filament to a metal plate that was inside the bulb of an incandescent lamp.

Around 1889, Edison made a contribution to the world of cinema selling celluloid film in a 35-millimeter format, and although he could not patent his idea because George Eastman had made a film in this format years before, he could patent the lateral perforations that kind of movie had.

Two years later, in 1891, he invented the Kinetoscope Parlor, which was a rudimentary film machine composed of a mechanism to ensure the intermittent motion of the film. Three years after that, in Broadway, New York, Edison opened the Kinetoscope, where a single person could sit to look through a peephole that was in a wooden cabin, it was illuminated from the back by an electric lamp.

On October 18, 1931, Thomas Edison died in West Orange, New Jersey due to arteriosclerosis. In honor of this great inventor, the day of his funeral the lights went out for a minute in several cities of the United States.

 

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