Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. His most notable inventions include phonograph and, although he didn’t develop it from scratch, a light bulb.

Early life

Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, but when he was seven his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan. He was the youngest of seven children. When Edison was young, everyone called him AI, because he was very curious and asked a lot of questions. He was also nearly deaf, due to childhood illness.


Edison didn’t receive a lot of formal education as a child, as he did very poorly and was kicked out of school only three months after starting. He was then home-schooled by his mother, who was previously a teacher. She taught him reading, writing, and arithmetic, but he also did a lot of reading on his own.


When he was 21 years old Edison developed his first invention, the electric vote recorder, however it was a commercial failure.

The first important invention by Thomas Edison was the tin foil phonograph. The phonograph was the first machine that could record the sound and then play it back. It brought Edison international recognition and success.

Although Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, he did develop the first commercially practical incandescent light. Other electric lamps were commercially impractical as they had extremely short life and cost a lot to produce.

One of the most famous investments by Edison was in direct current (DC). During the first few years of electricity distribution, direct current was the standard the United States, but soon after it was found that Nikola Tesla‘s alternating current was far superior solution. Edison didn’t want to lose his royalties for DC, and that’s how the war between Edison and Tesla began (known as war of currents). As alternating current was a better solution, Tesla prevailed.

Later life

Edison became the owner of his birthplace (Milan, Ohio) in 1906. He was very active in business until his death. Thomas Edison died of complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home in New Jersey.

Thomas Edison quotes

“Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”