Thomas Edison Essays

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Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison - born February 11, 1847, Milan, Ohio, U.S. d. Oct. 18, 1931, West Orange, N.J. American inventor who, singly or jointly, held a world record 1,093 patents. In addition, he created the world's first industrial research laboratory.

Edison was the quintessential American inventor in the era of Yankee ingenuity.

He began his career in 1863, in the adolescence of the telegraph industry, when virtually the only source of electricity was primitive batteries putting out a low-voltage current.

Before he died, in 1931, he had played a critical role in introducing the modern age of electricity. From his laboratories and workshops emanated the phonograph, the carbon-button transmitter for the
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Messages received on the initial Morse telegraph were inscribed as a series of dots and dashes on a strip of paper that was decoded and read, so Edison's partial deafness was no handicap. Receivers were increasingly being equipped with a sounding key, however, enabling telegraphers to "read" messages by the clicks.

The transformation of telegraphy to an auditory art left Edison more and more disadvantaged during his six-year career as an itinerant telegrapher in the Midwest, the South, Canada, and New England. Amply supplied with ingenuity and insight, he devoted much of his energy toward improving the inchoate equipment and inventing devices to facilitate some of the tasks that his physical limitations made difficult.

By January 1869 he had made enough progress with a duplex telegraph (a device capable of transmitting two messages simultaneously on one wire) and a printer, which converted electrical signals to letters, that he abandoned telegraphy for full-time invention and entrepreneurship.

Edison moved to New York City, where he initially went into partnership with Frank L. Pope, a noted electrical expert, to produce the Edison Universal Stock Printer and other printing telegraphs. Between 1870 and 1875 he worked out of Newark, N.J., and was involved in a variety of partnerships and complex transactions in the fiercely competitive and convoluted telegraph

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