10 Little Known Facts About Thomas Edison

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Here are ten little known facts about the man who invented the light bulb, Thomas Alva Edison.

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was a renowned American inventor responsible for over 1000 patents during his lifetime, a few better known contraptions conceived by him such as the motion picture device, the phonograph and a longer lasting light bulb among a line of other more disposable prototypes, as opposed to the widely held belief by the general population that it was Edison who brought into being the first ever light bulb.

thomas alva edison

Thomas Alva Edison

Here are ten little known facts about the man who revolutionized the lighting industry, Thomas Alva Edison:

1. As a tribute to the contributions courtesy of inventors everywhere to the benefit of mankind, the United States Congress assigned in 1983 February 11 as National Inventors’ Day in conjunction with Thomas Edison’s birthday.

2. During the onset of World War I, Thomas Edison had determined to apportion both time and talent to conceiving contraptions for defense purposes, namely flamethrowers, submarine periscopes, and a range of ingredients necessary for the production of explosives.

3. The Universal Stock Printer was Thomas Edison’s first profitable invention, an enhanced version of the stock ticker upon being aware of trouble with the stock ticker equipment encountered by a New York brokerage above Edison’s abode back then. Edison was subsequently reward $40, 000 for said invention. The money was later invested in the set-up of Edison’s first laboratory in Newark, New Jersey in 1871.

universal stock printer

Edison's Universal Stock Printer

4. Thomas Edison’s first patent was an electric vote recorder invented for the advantage of elected bodies such as the Congress, which did not pay off as well. At this point, he determined to invent only devices that people would see a need in.

electrical vote recorder

Edison's electrical vote recorder

5. Thomas Edison decided to marry Mary Stilwell in 1871, Edison’s laboratory assistant who was also nine years younger than him. Being the man’s first wife, Mary left Thomas a daughter named Marion Estelle and two sons by the name of Thomas Alva Jr. and William Leslie. Marion Estelle and Thomas Alva Jr. were nicknamed ‘Dot and Dash’ respectively on account of their father’s involvement with the telegraph, in which the Morse code was used chiefly.

mary stilwell edison

Mary Stilwell Edison, Edison's first wife

6. In 1882, Thomas Edison discovered that an electric current could be conveyed between two separate wires through the emptiness of vacuum. Said discovery was named the Edison effect after its discoverer. The Edison effect was the basis of vacuum tubes used commonly in electronic devices such as the radio and television before transistors were even born. The first computers were known to run on a large number of vacuum tubes which could well fill up an entire room, instead of computer chips comprising mainly of transistors that we know of today.

7. Thomas Edison began working as a telegraph operator at the age of 15 upon rescuing a three-year-old boy named Jimmie MacKenzie from the tracks of a speeding train, whose father J. U. MacKenzie, a station agent working at Mount Clemens, decided to teach a young Edison telegraphy.

8. Thomas Edison, in collaboration with George Arrington, patented the first electric typewriter in 1871, toward which the general public had expressed great mistrust that it would even work.

9. The Great Train Robbery film was the first narrative movie produced by Thomas Edison and directed by Edwin S. Porter, presenting a western story for 10 minutes or so inspired by an actual train robbery courtesy of Butch Cassidy.

great train robbery

The Great Train Robbery

10. Thomas Edison died on October 18, 1931, due to complications arisen from diabetes.


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