Thomas Edison shook the world with his inventions. He was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, in the state of Ohio in America, to his parents Samuel Edison Jr. and Nancy Elliot Edison. He was the seventh child of his parents. He spent seven years of his childhood in Milan, before his family shifted to Port Huron in Michigan State, where his father was appointed as a carpenter at Fort Gratiot in 1854.
There are many stories about him, which make different claims about him and his childhood. According to some stories, he was a very dumb boy and according other he was mentally handicapped during his childhood. But the one that is believed to be true by historians and people is that, he had hearing problems, was not attentive in the class, and always faced problems because of the same reason.
His teacher couldn't bear the situation anymore and considered him a dumb boy. His teacher started opposing the very idea of sending him to a school of normal children with his ongoing hearing problems. It is also said that, his teacher one day gave him a letter to give it to his mother and had sent him back home. The letter said, "Your child is too dumb to attend the school". It was answered with a statement from his mother stating that, her child was not dumb, and she will teach him at home instead of sending him back to the school. And she started teaching Thomas at home.
Setting up a Laboratory as a Child
Even after facing such situations in his school, he had developed immense interest in reading and he read almost anything that he found. His hunger for reading helped him in developing interest in science. At the very young age of about 10, he had set up a small laboratory in his room and he spent most of his time either reading or experimenting.
Thomas had many new ideas in his young brain. His daily newspaper 'The Grand Trunk Herald' was a result of one such idea in which, he had started printing and distributing the newspaper from his new laboratory which was an old cargo vehicle, that he had obtained when he took a job as a train boy on the Grand Trunk Railway.
Inventing Duplex and Quadruplex Telegraph
When he was about 14 years old, he saved life of a child who was the son of some senior railway authority at the Grand Trunk Railway. The child's father was very grateful to him and on Thomas's request he taught him how to use a telegraph to send and receive messages. Thomas was very much interested in learning and using the telegraph. Soon he had achieved mastery in operating the telegraph.
He was offered a post of roving telegrapher in the Midwest, the South, Canada, and New England when he was 15 years old. The telegraph machine that he worked with, needed one person to continuously attend the messages being transmitted from the other end, and also answer each received telegraph manually. This thing made him think about developing a telegraphic repeating instrument, which would make it possible to transmit messages automatically.
He was so engraved in his new inventions such as the duplex telegraph, message printer, and some other instruments; that he left his job when he was 20 years old. He started paying attention towards invention and production of the machines and instruments. Soon he had enough finance, which helped him get going with the new inventions.
Further, Thomas moved to New Jersey when he was about 21 years old and opened a new workshop to continue his work at Newark, New Jersey. While being at Newark, he successfully started producing the Edison Universal Stock Printer, a quadruplex Telegraph, an automatic telegraphic machine, and some more instruments like printers and various types of telegraph machines.
Inventions at Menlo Park Workshop
As Thomas was more inclined towards inventing new things rather than making money from the production of those inventions, he soon started facing financial problems. Because of these problems, he had no other choice but to move his workshop to a new place. He soon moved to Menlo Park in New Jersey with the help of financial aid he had requested from his father. Edison continued with his invention work and again came up with some great inventions, which amazed people completely.
While working in his new workshop, he was successful in developing a Carbon-Button transmitter, which could help in transmitting voice waves to other place through wire. This transmitter was used in telephone speakers and microphones and is used even today. Further, he invented phonograms in the same year, while he was at his Menlo Park workshop.
Establishing Edison Electronic Light Company
In 1870, he established 'Edison Electronic Light Company' with the help of some people, who provided him with finance. He continued his quest for new inventions and never stopped in his life. He next invented and publicly demonstrated his new invention: an incandescent electric light bulb and helped in the installation of first ever Commercial Central Power System at Manhattan, New York. Around 1887, he moved to West Orange, New Jersey, to develop and establish his new laboratory and research facility. He further spent the rest of his life inventing many things at his new research lab at West Orange. In 1913, he brought first talking moving pictures to the public.
The list of Thomas Edison's inventions and his research work is so long that it is almost impossible to describe everything in one single article. He was probably the first person to have more than 1000 patented inventions to his name. In his entire life, he never tried to slow down on his invention work and never had a break, even when he married, first to Mary Stillwell in 1870, and after her death, when he married Mina Miller in 1886. Edison always kept thinking and working hard to invent something new. He was working on one of his upcoming inventions, at the time of his death on 18th October 1931.