Thomas Edison, known as the greatest inventor to have ever roamed the earth by some, and known as the biggest thieve of ideas by others has had a very impactful life to many of us today. It is showed by him that trying is the key to success as many of his inventions took forever to come up with, and many have failed and became unnoticed.
Edison’s life began on February 11, 1847 in the village of Milan Ohio to a middle-class family. (Citation source 1) His parents were Nancy and Samuel Edison. Not surprisingly Edison was an inquisitive child, always asking the most unthought of questions, along with constantly conducting experiments. (Citation source 2) He once sat on goose eggs as an experiment to see if they would hatch, he also burned down their family barn at the age of 6 while experimenting with fire. At the age of 15 Edison saw a 2-year-old son of a stationmaster crawling on a track and heard a train coming, he ran to the track in an attempt to save the child’s life and succeeded. In gratitude the stationmaster taught Edison telegraphy and in 3 months he became a wonderful operator. After working as a telegraph operator in multiple different cities Edison thought of inventing a few times. Edison had gotten his first patent on an electric vote recorder and became a full-time inventor. This idea had failed but a stock ticker which gave minute by minute stock prices was his greatest invention that he had made at the time. The following years after Edison had moved to New York looking for a new place to settle. He was forced to live in the battery room of the Gold Indicator Company because he had no money at the time and needed somewhere to live. One of the machines in the company had broken down and when no one else knew how to fix it Edison stepped in and was able to fix it. In honor of this, the Company had promoted him to Chief Engineer. (Citation source 2) Edison had set up his first company with two colleagues. He became a manufacturer and expected his workers to work as hard as him. Edison and his workers had made many inventions and the company grew as his inventions had become known.
One thing most people don’t understand about Edison is that most of the items he tried to make had failed. Many objects he had failed at making were still considered as a success because of his many other popular inventions. One example of this is when he tried developing an alternative to imported rubber. Spending several years for this, he cross bread many tree types and did eventually succeed but the cost for this solution was way too high so synthetic rubber still ended up being imported from Germany. He also tried creating a new way of Iron-ore milling. He believed that using magnetism to extract Iron from waste would be very cost efficient. This idea was very impractical and would cost a lot. Perhaps Edison’s greatest loss in his career was his battle to power the world off Direct Current. His plan was to power the world off battery power. This idea was considered very impractical for such a large use but made more sense for smaller items. This failure is considered a success for Edison nowadays because of the widespread use of batteries.
Unlike Edison’s failure side of his career, he has also made very incredible, never thought of and life changing inventions. Edison over his years of inventing has over 2332 patents for his own inventions. Some of his best-known inventions include the phonograph, film, movie camera,
vitascope, carbon microphone and his best known, the incandescent light bulb. Hiram Maxim is the inventor who should be credited for the first invention of the light bulb, but the filament he used made the light very impractical as it would burn out quickly and only last a few minutes at best. Another great characteristic Edison is greatly known for is portrayed with this. He took Maxims invention and worked countless number of hours to get the filament just right so that the bulb was useful and could last weeks. The way Edison thought of his inventions is very simple, if he wanted something he tried making it and wouldn’t give up till he got what he wanted, and it worked well. He also took requests from people and other companies as well. Edison has always shown that failure never was an option or else he would’ve never been successful if he had just given up with what he had made that failed.
One of the many issues Edison has had in his lifetime is the issue of being accused of stealing work from one of his fellow worker’s Nikola Tesla. Tesla just like Edison was an inventor of many things and had a dream of powering the world wirelessly by one of his inventions, the Tesla coil. Most people thought Edison had stolen Tesla’s ideas because of his workshop full of inventors who tried to get their ideas patented by Edison if he had liked them. Tesla had over 25 good inventions and this lead to his ideas being patented by Edison. Even though Tesla said Edison never stole his ideas, he still never got paid what he was promised to get paid from Edison. Another reason Edison didn’t have a purpose to have stolen Tesla’s ideas is because he thought of most of his big ideas before Tesla had even worked for him. These ideas couldn’t have been stolen if Edison never even met Tesla yet. Tesla later had an idea of AC (Alternating Current) power and a motor running off AC power, but Edison was not interested in these ideas from Tesla since he was more focused on DC (Direct Current) so Tesla had left Edison to get his idea of AC patented by another person. Tesla and Edison also had different ideas for what they wanted to invent as shown by AC and DC current. Edison wouldn’t have a reason to invent things off Tesla’s Alternating Current when he was more focused for powering things off Direct Current.
As Edison quickly grew older, he never gave up on inventing as that was what he enjoyed doing. The amount of his inventions had greatly declined though as he had been suffering with diabetes and his health was slowly declining. He also had conducted multiple expermients
In the year 1929 Edison’s closest friend Henry Ford, more widely known as the founder of the Ford Motor Company had organized an event to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Edison’s light bulb. At the opening of the event when President Hoover was finished giving his speech Edison collapsed and never fully recovered. Edison had died on October 18, 1931 at the age of 84 at his home in West Orange, New Jersey due to complications with diabetes. (Citation source 1). After his death, many statues were made of him to serve as remembrance for one of the best-known inventers that there has ever been, and how he has greatly changed all of our lives.