Thomas Alva Edison, probably the greatest inventor that. America has produced .. year are recorded in the Biography of Dyer, Martin and. Meadowcroft. definitive biography of Edison was the reason for the following pages. . Into such times Thomas Alva Edison was born, and his relations to them and to the. Thomas Alva Edison lit up the world with his invention of the electric light. Without him, the Thomas A. Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, on February 11,

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Inventor Thomas Edison created such great innovations as the electric light bulb Born on February 11, , in Milan, Ohio, Thomas Edison rose from humble. Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, – October 18, ) was an American inventor and "Edison, Thomas Alva". The Cyclopædia of American Biography. .. Biographical Memoir of Thomas Alva Edison (PDF). National Academy of. The greatest American inventor and perhaps the greatest inventor in history was Thomas. Alva Edison, who changed the lives of people everywhere with such.

In January , Edison set out to develop a company that would deliver the electricity to power and light the cities of the world. That same year, Edison founded the Edison Illuminating Company—the first investor-owned electric utility—which later became the General Electric Corporation. In , he left Menlo Park to establish facilities in several cities where electrical systems were being installed.

In , the Pearl Street generating station provided volts of electrical power to 59 customers in lower Manhattan. In , Edison built an industrial research laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, which served as the primary research laboratory for the Edison lighting companies. He spent most of his time there, supervising the development of lighting technology and power systems.

He also perfected the phonograph, and developed the motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery.


Over the next few decades, Edison found his role as inventor transitioning to one as industrialist and business manager. The laboratory in West Orange was too large and complex for any one man to completely manage, and Edison found he was not as successful in his new role as he was in his former one. Edison also found that much of the future development and perfection of his inventions was being conducted by university-trained mathematicians and scientists.

He worked best in intimate, unstructured environments with a handful of assistants and was outspoken about his disdain for academia and corporate operations. During the s, Edison built a magnetic iron-ore processing plant in northern New Jersey that proved to be a commercial failure. Later, he was able to salvage the process into a better method for producing cement.

As the automobile industry began to grow, Edison worked on developing a suitable storage battery that could power an electric car. Though the gasoline-powered engine eventually prevailed, Edison designed a battery for the self-starter on the Model T for friend and admirer Henry Ford in The system was used extensively in the auto industry for decades.

During World War I , the U.

Edison worked on several projects, including submarine detectors and gun-location techniques. However, due to his moral indignation toward violence, he specified that he would work only on defensive weapons, later noting, "I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill. By the end of the s, Thomas Edison was in his 80s. He and his second wife, Mina, spent part of their time at their winter retreat in Fort Myers, Florida, where his friendship with automobile tycoon Henry Ford flourished and he continued to work on several projects, ranging from electric trains to finding a domestic source for natural rubber.

During his lifetime, Edison received 1, U.

He executed his first patent for his Electrographic Vote-Recorder on October 13, , at the age of His last patent was for an apparatus for holding objects during the electroplating process. Edison became embroiled in a longstanding rivalry with Nikola Tesla , an engineering visionary with academic training who worked with Edison's company for a time.

The two parted ways in and would publicly clash about the use of direct current electricity, which Edison favored, vs. Tesla then entered into a partnership with George Westinghouse , an Edison competitor, resulting in a major business feud over electrical power.

One of the unusual - and cruel - methods Edison used to convince people of the dangers of alternating current was through public demonstrations where animals were electrocuted. One of the most infamous of these shows was the electrocution of a circus elephant named Topsy on New York's Coney Island. In Edison married year-old Mary Stilwell, who was an employee at one of his businesses.

During their year marriage, they had three children, Marion, Thomas and William, who himself became an inventor. In , Mary died at the age of 29 of a suspected brain tumor.

Early years

In , Edison married Mina Miller, 19 years his junior. He was 84 years old.

Many communities and corporations throughout the world dimmed their lights or briefly turned off their electrical power to commemorate his passing.

Three of his most famous include: The Phonograph - This was the first major invention by Edison and made him famous. It was the first machine that was able to record and playback sound. Light Bulb - Although he did not invent the first electric light, Edison made the first practical electric light bulb that could be manufactured and used in the home.

The Motion Picture - Edison did a lot of work in creating the motion picture camera and helping move forward the progress of practical movies.

His first two kids had the nicknames Dot and Dash.

He set up his first lab in his parent's basement at the age of He was partially deaf. His first invention was an electric vote recorder.

Thomas Edison

His patents are the most on record. He said the words to "Mary had a little lamb" as the first recorded voice on the phonograph.

Thus, a syndicate of leading financiers, including J. Edison proposed to connect his lights in a parallel circuit by subdividing the current, so that, unlike arc lights, which were connected in a series circuit , the failure of one lightbulb would not cause a whole circuit to fail. Some eminent scientists predicted that such a circuit could never be feasible , but their findings were based on systems of lamps with low resistance—the only successful type of electric light at the time.

Edison, however, determined that a bulb with high resistance would serve his purpose, and he began searching for a suitable one. Upton, who joined the laboratory force in December , provided the mathematical and theoretical expertise that Edison himself lacked.

I try an experiment and reason out the result, somehow, by methods which I could not explain. By October Edison and his staff had achieved encouraging results with a complex, regulator-controlled vacuum bulb with a platinum filament, but the cost of the platinum would have made the incandescent light impractical.Photographed by Mathew Brady in Washington, April Arcadia Publishing.

GE Reports. Edison developed a process using rollers and crushers that could pulverize rocks up to 10 tons. The will of Thomas A. Houston J. In just over a decade, Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting". Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy , James Bowman Lindsay , Moses G.