Thomas Alva Edison, the most famous and highly respected American inventor of all time, said that genius comprises 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. He showed the world that sheer determination and talent can make a huge difference in the world.
With his remarkable inventions, he showed how one can become a prodigious inventor without traditional schooling. You will be surprised to know that he was homeschooled by his mother. He went on to add 1093 patents and intellectual rights to his name in different segments and holds the world record as the highest patent holder.
He was very curious but was driven out of school due to his below-average performance and for asking too many questions. This is why his mother taught him how to read and write. She was the one to teach him Mathematics and encouraged him to read.
He suffered from hearing impairment. He considered it a boon as he could concentrate on reading books and focusing on different topics without distractions. His curiosity increased in due course of time and followed his dreams.
He was not an engineer or a scientist as his education was not very supportive. He was an entrepreneur at a very young age. He used to sell candy and newspapers at the age of 10. When he was 16, he learnt how to operate a telegraph and wandered to offer his service.
Despite his busy entrepreneurial schedule, he never stopped learning and continued doing experiments. In due course of time, he transitioned to becoming an inventor. It was the same Thomas Alva Edison we know who invented the light bulb and changed the course of history. We don’t know how many times Thomas Alva Edison failed to invent the light bulb. However, what really matters is his eventual success.
One of his first contributions to the world was a unique telegraph device that can inscribe the Morse code used in the telegraph on a paper strip to make it more accessible to the common people. His first attempt made it easier for the common people to decode the code and read the messages on their own.
Thomas Alva Edison, the Famous Inventor
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He lived for 84 years with an excellent track record of being one of the best inventors in the world. He patented a world record of 1093 new designs and inventions under his name in the US alone. Because of him, the world is now a brighter place. He invented the light bulb and assisted us to fight the darkness. Here’s a list of some of his famous inventions.
Do you know how many times Edison failed to invent the bulb? We can go and buy a light bulb quite casually at a shop. Imagine failing 2774 times to buy one. Yes! He failed 2774 times according to his records and then reached a working design of an electric light bulb.
This is how many times Thomas failed in making a light bulb filament that will glow in a vacuum when electricity is passed. He worked on a design that already existed. He actually did not invent but made a design that could be commercially produced.
In 1815, Sir Humphry Davy invented an electric arc lamp. He was also the one to invent Davy’s lamp. There were more designs proposed by many inventors back then. In fact, Joseph Wilson Swan was the one to first introduce carbonised filaments in a vacuum tube to give the first electric bulb. Despite his success, the bulb did not run well due to the quick blackening part. Swan introduced a better model in 1878.
It was Edison’s model that burned for more than 1200 hours at a stretch. He made it much better than what has been experimented till then. Hence, Edison and Swan partnered in 1880 and filed a patent in the US.
He inspired himself to design voting machines for the City Council in Washington DC and the New York State Legislature. The ballot process was hectic and the legislators had to yell yes or no to showcase their votes for making decisions.
He invented an electrographic vote recorder that could track the switches and count the votes automatically. The votes also got marked against the respective names on a column. This invention of the electrographic vote recorder made recording and tallying votes easier. A metallic roller was there to print the results at the end.
He designed an electric pen that could make copies of his notes and correspondence. It included an electric motor operating a tiny needle. This needle ran up and down producing a series of holes as the user held the input pen.
These holes were made on the special paper used to create stencils. A roller was then used to pass ink through these holes to make an impression of what the user was writing physically. This invention was capable of making nearly 50 punctures per second.
He was a good friend of the legendary Henry Ford, the father of the automobile giant Ford and the first one to introduce assembly lines in his factory. With his patronage, Edison worked on conventional lead acid batteries and improved their designs.
He then invented alkaline batteries that contained nickel and iron electrodes in potassium hydroxide. These batteries were ideal for Ford’s electric cars. Before the electric car design hit the market, fossil fuels took over.
Thomas Edison’s lesser known futuristic innovations are numerous. He invented the phonograph, the first machine to record sound. He also made it better by adding a design that could play the recorded sounds. He was a man born way ahead of his time. An important lesson to learn from his life is that he never let his shortcomings become obstacles in his path. The fact that he failed numerous times before inventing the bulb teaches us about the strength of his determination.