Thomas Edisons Greatest Invention

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Thomas Edisons Greatest Invention

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The History of Thomas Edison

From his childhood hobby of chemical experimentation to becoming a legendary inventor, he constantly tinkered with new and better ways of doing things. He patented his first invention, an electric voting machine, in From there he filed patents for the phonograph, motion picture camera, advances in telephone technology and over a thousand other inventions. Thomas Edison did not invent the incandescent light bulb. Twenty three different light bulbs were developed before Edison's. The principle was to pass an electric current through a filament powerful enough to cause it to glow without combusting. Among the pre-Edison pioneers of electric lighting, Sir Humphrey Davy created the first electric arc lamp in Warren De la Rue designed the first incandescent light in La Rue's design depended on a platinum filament, far too expensive for any practical application.

Over half a century of experimentation focused primarily on finding an inexpensive filament that could produce electric light for any useful length of time. Thomas Edison and his lab associates, called "Muckers," conducted thousands of experiments to develop the electric light bulb. To make it functional, each step required the invention of a new component, from vacuumed and sealed glass bulbs to switches, special types of wire and meters. Like previous efforts, the greatest challenge was coming up with a material that could serve as a long-lasting filament. After testing thousands of materials, including over 6, types of plant growths, they found the best substance was carbonized cotton thread. Edison was able to produce over 13 continuous hours of light with the cotton thread filament, and filed his first light bulb patent on January 27, He answered, "Genius is hard work, stick-to-it-iveness, and common sense.

In , when he was seven, the family moved to Michigan, where Edison spent the rest of his childhood. He did so poorly that his mother, a former teacher, taught her son at home. Al learned to love reading, a habit he kept for the rest of his life. He also liked to make experiments in the basement. Al not only played hard, but also worked hard. At the age of 12 he sold fruit, snacks and newspapers on a train as a "news butcher. He even printed his own newspaper, the Grand Trunk Herald , on a moving train. At 15, Al roamed the country as a "tramp telegrapher. Even though he was already losing his hearing, he could still hear the clicks of the telegraph.

In the next seven years he moved over a dozen times, often working all night, taking messages for trains and even for the Union Army during the Civil War. In his spare time, he took things apart to see how they worked. Finally, he decided to invent things himself. During this time he married his first wife, Mary Stilwell, on Christmas Day, They had three children -- Marion, Thomas, Jr. There he built his most famous laboratory. He was not alone in Menlo Park. Edison hired "muckers" to help him out. These "muckers" came from all over the world to make their fortune in America. They often stayed up all night working with the "chief mucker," Edison himself.

He is sometime called the "Wizard of Menlo Park" because he created two of his three greatest works there. Apart from his inventions, he also contributed greatly by establishing the first large scale institutes devoted to research. He worked with many researchers and businessmen applying the principles of mass production and teamwork to the process of invention. Know more about the contributions of Thomas Edison through his 10 major accomplishments. At the time of Edison, access to information on share prices was slow and expensive.

In case of long distances, one would have to wait for a whole day or longer to receive this information verbally or in writing. Sometimes variants would have changed by the time a person received this information, leading to inconveniences and wrong decision-making. In , Edison developed the Universal Stock Ticker, one of the earliest practical stock ticker machines. Tickers quickly transmitted details as they used the existing telegraph infrastructures. The information was printed on a small paper strip called the ticker tape and contained initials of companies and their share prices. This method was also less expensive as the information could travel alongside mainstream messages. Stock tickers eventually fell out of favor with the advent of radio and television in the s.

Telegraphs became the fastest and most reliable means of communication in the early 19th century. A trained operator would send and receive messages using a device known as a telegraph key. These messages were transmitted in form of beeps, and the operator would write down and interpret them using some standard character encoding scheme like the Morse Code. The major limitations of earlier machines were that they could only transmit a single signal at a time on the same wire , leading to waste of time. Thomas Edison invented the Quadruplex telegraph , in which a single wire could transmit as many as four separate signals at a time. This was a game changer in the communication industry. The Quadruplex telegraphs remained in wide use for over a century. They were useful in rail and water navigation.

Their use only reduced in the early 21st century with the commercialization of satellite communication. This is regarded as the first industrial research laboratory. It focused on improvising and building on existing technology. This primarily focused on plants that could be used to produce cheap rubber. Edison was not alone in these ventures. He had the help of a number of prolific researchers, engineers, economists, mathematicians and business associates. Many industries followed his example and established their own research institutes.

There were many others who had previously devised incandescent lamps. However, these bulbs had several flaws like having a high cost , an extremely short life and drawing a very large electric current. These flaws made it impractical to use these bulbs on a large scale commercially. Edison competed against other researchers to resolve these issues.

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