Sue Young Histories

Thomas Alva Edison 1847 – 1931

September 21, 2009

Thomas Alva Edison 1847 – 1931Thomas Alva Edison 1847 – 1931 was an American inventor, scientist and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long lasting, practical electric light bulb.

Edison was an advocate of homeopathy, and he kept a store of homeopathic remedies at Menlo Park, which he often dispensed to various employees, (Francis Jehl, Menlo Park Reminiscences Part 1, (1878, reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 1 Jul 2002). Page 35).

Edison was a friend of Sarah Bernhardt, John Burroughs, Emile Herman Grubbe, Warren G Harding, and he knew Alfred Lord Tennyson,

Robert Bosch was one of his employees,

Edison believed that mortals sleep too much eat many times more than they should, famously said:

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” (now Edison, New Jersey) by a newspaper reporter, Thomas Edison was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator.

Edison originated the concept and implementation of electric power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Manhattan Island, New York…

Edison’s major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was built with the funds from the sale of Edison’s quadruplex telegraph.

After his demonstration of the telegraph, Edison was not sure that his original plan to sell it for $4,000 to $5,000 was right, so he asked Western Union to make a bid. He was surprised to hear them offer $10,000,which he gratefully accepted. The quadruplex telegraph was Edison’s first big financial success, and Menlo Park became the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement.

Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development work under his direction. His staff was generally told to carry out his directions in conducting research, and he drove them hard to produce results. The large research group included engineers and other workers.