An Analysis of the Work and Life of Thomas Edison, an American Inventor

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"Born when the world was starting on a technological joy ride, Edison was destined to set its gears 'on high," writes Mary Nerney in her 1934 biography, Thomas A. Edison: A Modern Olympian. "With every fundamental invention, he released dynamic forces through mass demand and mass use." Born in the small town of Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847 (Baker). Thomas Alva Edison is my hero. He suffered through hardship but also came to fame. He devoted his life to finding new ways of living to make this world a more worth wild place. His life went through departure, fulfillment, and return.

First, his life starts off as a departure. Thomas was raised in Milan, Ohio, until the age of seven. He then moved to Port Huron, Michigan, where he went to school. Well, he didn't attend school for very long. After three months of school, he just left. He had an oversized head that doctors believed was some sort of brain trouble, and his teachers just thought that he was just stupid because he questioned every answer given to him. But, the only person that saw his gift was his mother (Feldman and Ford 206). His mother helps teach him how to read. By the age of 12, he was reading Gibbon's 'Decline and more books of that nature. He had also begun to do chemistry experiments and had his own laboratory in his father's basement (Day and McNeil 231).

Second, the world revolves around his fulfillment. But his fulfillment didn't come easy. He was a newsboy on the Grand Trunk railroad. Between the trips from Port Huron to Detroit, he would publish his own paper called The Herald. One day, he had two arms full of papers and was trying to climb into the freight car (Day and McNeil 231). The conductor helped him, so to speak. The conductor took him by both ears to lift him into the car. Thomas had felt something snap in his head, and his deafness had started. It didn't bother him though it just helped him concentrate on his work without the outside distractions (Day and McNeil 231). When he was fifteen, he saved the life of the baby son of a station agent at Mount Clemens, Michigan. Edison was standing on the station platform when all of a sudden, he saw that a freight car was about to run over a child who was playing on the tracks. He dashed to the rescue. The child's father offered to teach young Edison how to be a telegraph and this is where it began (Feldman and Frod 206). He had gathered his things and was off to New York. He took the unsuccessful vote counter and turned it into a stock quotation printing device. This device and others set him with Dr. Samuel Laws. Laws paid Edison 40,000 dollars for his help with Law's " stock ticker". Edison couldn't believe how much money he had got. With the money, he opened up a factory in Newark. At the age of thirty, his health started to fail, and he had to give up the factory. But, after he regained his health, Edison opened a laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey. From 1876 to 1886, he devoted his life to his inventions. There he had patented the incandescent electric light bulb, the phonograph, the motion-picture projector, the automatic and multiplex telegraph, the carbon telephone transmitter, a stock ticker, and the alkaline storage battery (Day and Mcneil 232). If that is not an achievement, then I don't know what is. As time went by, so did he. He got married to Mary G. Stillwell in 1871. They had three children together. Well, his wife died in 1884, and the inventor married Mina Miller in 1886. They also had three children together (Day and Mcneil 232). On October 21, 1879, Edison introduced the modern age of light. Edison sat there and watched as a charred cotton thread glowed for forty hours in a glass vacuum bulb. He knew then that he has invented the first commercially practical incandescent electric light (Feldman and Ford 207).

Most of all are the return. He had patented many inventions, but none were really his. But, to have patent 1,093 is an outstanding achievement (Baker). Edison won so many awards in his life. In 1928, he was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor by Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, and other world leaders gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the incandescent lamp. At the ceremony, Edison reenacted the making of the invention that literally changed the way we work, shop, and play (Day and McNeil 233). Edison is not only a true hero to us all but an example. If we put our minds to it, we can accomplish anything.

In conclusion, Thomas Alva Edison is a true hero. He went through an insulting departure, a fabulous fulfillment, and a glorious return. But like all people, heroes can't last forever. On October 18, 1931, Thomas Alva Edison died at Llewellyn Park, West Orange, New Jersey, at the age of 84. His heritage is evident every time we turn on a light, listen to a recording, or watch a movie on Saturday night. It can be argued that someone would have eventually made these wonders possible, but it is safe to say that no one did it with such force of will and enthusiasm as the Wizard of Menlo Park (Feldman and Ford 207).

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An Analysis of the Work and Life of Thomas Edison, an American Inventor. (2023, Mar 11). Retrieved June 25, 2024 , from

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