The Info List - Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America's greatest inventor.[1][2][3] He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park",[4] he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.[5] Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents was the widespread impact of his inventions: electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures all established major new industries worldwide. Edison's inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution[6] to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York.[6]


1 Early life 2 Telegrapher 3 Marriages and children 4 Beginning his career 5 Menlo Park

5.1 Research and development facility 5.2 Carbon
telephone transmitter 5.3 Electric light

6 Electric power distribution

6.1 War of currents

7 Other inventions and projects

7.1 Fluoroscopy 7.2 Telegraph improvements 7.3 Motion pictures 7.4 Mining 7.5 Battery 7.6 Rubber

8 West Orange and Fort Myers (1886–1931)

8.1 Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Jr.'s activities

9 Final years 10 Death 11 Views on politics, religion, and metaphysics 12 Views on money 13 Awards 14 Tributes

14.1 Places and people named for Edison 14.2 Museums and memorials 14.3 Companies bearing Edison's name 14.4 Awards named in honor of Edison 14.5 Other items named after Edison 14.6 In popular culture

15 List of people who worked for Edison 16 See also 17 References 18 Bibliography 19 External links

Early life

Edison as a boy

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison Jr. (1804–1896, born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810–1871, born in Chenango County, New York).[7][8] His father, the son of a Loyalist refugee, had moved as a boy with the family from Nova Scotia, settling in southwestern Ontario (then called Upper Canada), in a village known as Shewsbury, later Vienna, by 1811. Samuel Jr. eventually fled Ontario, because he took part in the unsuccessful Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837.[9] His father, Samuel Sr., had earlier fought in the War of 1812
War of 1812
as captain of the First Middlesex Regiment. By contrast, Samuel Jr.'s struggle found him on the losing side, and he crossed into the United States
United States
at Sarnia-Port Huron. Once across the border, he found his way to Milan, Ohio. His patrilineal family line was Dutch by way of New Jersey; the surname had originally been "Edeson."[10] Edison only attended school for a few months and was instead taught by his mother.[11] Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.[12] Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career, Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical laboratory in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train in Smiths Creek, Michigan, along with his apparatus and chemicals. In his later years, he modified the story to say the injury occurred when the conductor, in helping him onto a moving train, lifted him by the ears.[13][14] Edison's family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, after the railroad bypassed Milan in 1854 and business declined.[15] Edison sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and sold vegetables. He briefly worked as a telegraph operator in 1863 for the Grand Trunk Railway
Grand Trunk Railway
at the railway station in Stratford, Ontario, at age 16. He was held responsible for a near collision. He also studied qualitative analysis and conducted chemical experiments on the train until he left the job.[16][17] Edison obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers.[17] This began Edison's long streak of entrepreneurial ventures, as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.[18][19] Telegrapher Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie's father, station agent J. U. MacKenzie of Mount Clemens, Michigan, was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator. Edison's first telegraphy job away from Port Huron was at Stratford Junction, Ontario, on the Grand Trunk Railway.[20] In 1866, at the age of 19, Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as an employee of Western Union, he worked the Associated Press bureau news wire. Edison requested the night shift, which allowed him plenty of time to spend at his two favorite pastimes—reading and experimenting. Eventually, the latter pre-occupation cost him his job. One night in 1867, he was working with a lead–acid battery when he spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor. It ran between the floorboards and onto his boss's desk below. The next morning Edison was fired.[21] One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey, home. Some of Edison's earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder, U.S. Patent 90,646, which was granted on June 1, 1869.[22] Marriages and children On December 25, 1871, at the age of twenty-four, Edison married 16-year-old Mary Stilwell (1855–1884), whom he had met two months earlier; she was an employee at one of his shops. They had three children:

Marion Estelle Edison (1873–1965), nicknamed "Dot"[23] Thomas Alva Edison Jr. (1876–1935), nicknamed "Dash"[24] William Leslie Edison (1878–1937) Inventor, graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, 1900.[25]

Mary Edison died at age 29 on August 9, 1884, of unknown causes: possibly from a brain tumor[26] or a morphine overdose. Doctors frequently prescribed morphine to women in those years to treat a variety of causes, and researchers believe that her symptoms could have been from morphine poisoning.[27] Edison generally preferred spending time in the laboratory to being with his family.[28]

Mina Miller Edison in 1906

On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty-nine, Edison married the 20-year-old Mina Miller (1865–1947) in Akron, Ohio.[29] She was the daughter of the inventor Lewis Miller, co-founder of the Chautauqua Institution, and a benefactor of Methodist
charities. They also had three children together:

Madeleine Edison
Madeleine Edison
(1888–1979), who married John Eyre Sloane.[30][31] Charles Edison
Charles Edison
(1890–1969), Governor of New Jersey
Governor of New Jersey
(1941–1944), who took over his father's company and experimental laboratories upon his father's death.[32] Theodore Miller Edison (1898–1992), (MIT Physics 1923), credited with more than 80 patents.

Mina outlived Thomas Edison, dying on August 24, 1947.[33][34] Beginning his career

Photograph of Edison with his phonograph (2nd model), taken in Mathew Brady's Washington, DC studio in April 1878.

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in 1929.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him wider notice was the phonograph in 1877.[35] This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," New Jersey.[4] His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder. Despite its limited sound quality and that the recordings could be played only a few times, the phonograph made Edison a celebrity. Joseph Henry, president of the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences
and one of the most renowned electrical scientists in the US, described Edison as "the most ingenious inventor in this country... or in any other".[36] In April 1878, Edison traveled to Washington to demonstrate the phonograph before the National Academy of Sciences, Congressmen, Senators and US President Hayes.[37] The Washington Post
Washington Post
described Edison as a "genius" and his presentation as "a scene... that will live in history".[38] Although Edison obtained a patent for the phonograph in 1878,[39] he did little to develop it until Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Charles Tainter produced a phonograph-like device in the 1880s that used wax-coated cardboard cylinders. Menlo Park Research and development facility

Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory, reconstructed at Greenfield Village at Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford Museum
in Dearborn, Michigan.

Edison's major innovation was the establishment of an industrial research lab in 1876. It was built in Menlo Park, a part of Raritan Township (now named Edison Township in his honor) in Middlesex County, New Jersey, with the funds from the sale of Edison's quadruplex telegraph. After his demonstration of the telegraph, Edison was not sure that his original plan to sell it for $4,000 to $5,000 was right, so he asked Western Union
Western Union
to make a bid. He was surprised to hear them offer $10,000 ($216,300 in today's dollars.[40]), which he gratefully accepted.[41] The quadruplex telegraph was Edison's first big financial success, and Menlo Park became the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement. Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development under his direction. His staff was generally told to carry out his directions in conducting research, and he drove them hard to produce results. William Joseph Hammer, a consulting electrical engineer, started working for Edison and began his duties as a laboratory assistant in December 1879. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. However, Hammer worked primarily on the incandescent electric lamp and was put in charge of tests and records on that device (see Hammer Historical Collection of Incandescent Electric Lamps). In 1880, he was appointed chief engineer of the Edison Lamp Works. In his first year, the plant under General Manager Francis Robbins Upton
Francis Robbins Upton
turned out 50,000 lamps. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of incandescent electric lighting".[42] Frank J. Sprague, a competent mathematician and former naval officer, was recruited by Edward H. Johnson and joined the Edison organization in 1883. One of Sprague's contributions to the Edison Laboratory at Menlo Park was to expand Edison's mathematical methods. Despite the common belief that Edison did not use mathematics, analysis of his notebooks reveal that he was an astute user of mathematical analysis conducted by his assistants such as Francis Robbins Upton, for example, determining the critical parameters of his electric lighting system including lamp resistance by an analysis of Ohm's Law, Joule's Law and economics.[43] Nearly all of Edison's patents were utility patents, which were protected for a 17-year period and included inventions or processes that are electrical, mechanical, or chemical in nature. About a dozen were design patents, which protect an ornamental design for up to a 14-year period. As in most patents, the inventions he described were improvements over prior art. The phonograph patent, in contrast, was unprecedented as describing the first device to record and reproduce sounds.[44] In just over a decade, Edison's Menlo Park laboratory had expanded to occupy two city blocks. Edison said he wanted the lab to have "a stock of almost every conceivable material".[45] A newspaper article printed in 1887 reveals the seriousness of his claim, stating the lab contained "eight thousand kinds of chemicals, every kind of screw made, every size of needle, every kind of cord or wire, hair of humans, horses, hogs, cows, rabbits, goats, minx, camels ... silk in every texture, cocoons, various kinds of hoofs, shark's teeth, deer horns, tortoise shell ... cork, resin, varnish and oil, ostrich feathers, a peacock's tail, jet, amber, rubber, all ores ..." and the list goes on.[46] Over his desk, Edison displayed a placard with Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous quotation: "There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking."[47] This slogan was reputedly posted at several other locations throughout the facility. With Menlo Park, Edison had created the first industrial laboratory concerned with creating knowledge and then controlling its application.[48] Edison's name is registered on 1,093 patents.[28] Carbon
telephone transmitter In 1876, Edison began work to improve the microphone for telephones (at that time called a "transmitter") by developing a carbon microphone, which consists of two metal plates separated by granules of carbon that would change resistance with the pressure of sound waves. A steady direct current is passed between the plates through the granules and the varying resistance results in a modulation of the current, creating a varying electric current that reproduces the varying pressure of the sound wave. Up to that point, microphones, such as the ones developed by Johann Philipp Reis and Alexander Graham Bell, worked by generating a weak current. The carbon microphone works by modulating a direct current and, subsequently, using a transformer to transfer the signal so generated to the telephone line. Edison was one of many inventors working on the problem of creating a usable microphone for telephony by having it modulate an electrical current passed through it.[49] His work was concurrent with Emile Berliner's loose-contact carbon transmitter (who lost a later patent case against Edison over the carbon transmitters invention[50]) and David Edward Hughes
David Edward Hughes
study and published paper on the physics of loose-contact carbon transmitters (work that Hughes did not bother to patent).[49][51] Edison used the carbon microphone concept in 1877 to create an improved telephone for Western Union.[50] In 1886, Edison found a way to improve a Bell Telephone microphone, one that used loose-contact ground carbon, with his discovery that it worked far better if the carbon was roasted. This type was put in use in 1890[50] and was used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the 1980s. It should be noted that the frequency response of the carbon microphone is limited to a narrow frequency range (400 Hz to 4000 Hz), and the device may produce significant electrical noise. Electric light Main article: Incandescent light bulb

Thomas Edison's first successful light bulb model, used in public demonstration at Menlo Park, December 1879

In 1878, Edison began working on a system of electrical illumination, something he hoped could compete with gas and oil based lighting.[52] He began by tackling the problem of creating a long-lasting incandescent lamp, something that would be needed for indoor use. Many earlier inventors had previously devised incandescent lamps, including Alessandro Volta's demonstration of a glowing wire in 1800 and inventions by Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans. Others who developed early and commercially impractical incandescent electric lamps included Humphry Davy, James Bowman Lindsay, Moses G. Farmer,[53] William E. Sawyer, Joseph Swan, and Heinrich Göbel. Some of these early bulbs had such flaws as an extremely short life, high expense to produce, and high electric current drawn, making them difficult to apply on a large scale commercially.[54]:217–218 Edison realized that to connect a series of electric lights to an economically manageable size and using the necessary thickness of copper wire, he would have to develop a lamp that used a low amount of current. This lamp must have high resistance and use relatively low voltage (around 110 volts).[55] After many experiments, first with carbon filaments and then with platinum and other metals, Edison returned to a carbon filament.[56] The first successful test was on October 22, 1879;[54]:186[57][58][28] it lasted 13.5 hours.[59] Edison continued to improve this design and on November 4, 1879, filed for U.S. patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using "a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wires".[60] This was the first commercially practical incandescent light.[61] Although the patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways",[60] it was not until several months after the patent was granted that Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament that could last over 1,200 hours. The idea of using this particular raw material originated from Edison's recalling his examination of a few threads from a bamboo fishing pole while relaxing on the shore of Battle Lake in the present-day state of Wyoming, where he and other members of a scientific team had traveled so that they could clearly observe a total eclipse of the sun on July 29, 1878, from the Continental Divide.[62]

U.S. Patent#223898: Electric-Lamp. Issued January 27, 1880.

In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company
Edison Electric Light Company
in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan, Spencer Trask,[63] and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."[64]

The Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company's new steamship, the Columbia, was the first commercial application for Edison's incandescent light bulb in 1880.

Henry Villard, president of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company, attended Edison's 1879 demonstration. Villard was impressed and requested Edison install his electric lighting system aboard Villard's company's new steamer, the Columbia. Although hesitant at first, Edison agreed to Villard's request. Most of the work was completed in May 1880, and the Columbia went to New York City, where Edison and his personnel installed Columbia's new lighting system. The Columbia was Edison's first commercial application for his incandescent light bulb. The Edison equipment was removed from Columbia in 1895.[65][66][67][68] Lewis Latimer
Lewis Latimer
joined the Edison Electric Light Company
Edison Electric Light Company
in 1884. Latimer had received a patent in January 1881 for the "Process of Manufacturing Carbons", an improved method for the production of carbon filaments for light bulbs. Latimer worked as an engineer, a draftsman and an expert witness in patent litigation on electric lights.[69] George Westinghouse's company bought Philip Diehl's competing induction lamp patent rights (1882) for $25,000, forcing the holders of the Edison patent to charge a more reasonable rate for the use of the Edison patent rights and lowering the price of the electric lamp.[70] On October 8, 1883, the US patent office ruled that Edison's patent was based on the work of William E. Sawyer and was, therefore, invalid. Litigation continued for nearly six years, until October 6, 1889, when a judge ruled that Edison's electric light improvement claim for "a filament of carbon of high resistance" was valid.[71] To avoid a possible court battle with Joseph Swan, whose British patent had been awarded a year before Edison's, he and Swan formed a joint company called Ediswan
to manufacture and market the invention in Britain. Mahen Theatre
Mahen Theatre
in Brno
(in what is now the Czech Republic), opened in 1882, and was the first public building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps. Francis Jehl, Edison's assistant in the invention of the lamp, supervised the installation.[72] In September 2010, a sculpture of three giant light bulbs was erected in Brno, in front of the theatre.[73] Electric power distribution After devising a commercially viable electric light bulb on October 21, 1879, Edison developed an electric "utility" to compete with the existing gas light utilities.[74] On December 17, 1880, he founded the Edison Illuminating Company, and during the 1880s, he patented a system for electricity distribution. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station, New York City. On September 4, 1882, Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan.[75] In January 1882, Edison switched on the first steam-generating power station at Holborn Viaduct
Holborn Viaduct
in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings within a short distance of the station. On January 19, 1883, the first standardized incandescent electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey. War of currents Main article: War of Currents

Extravagant displays of electric lights quickly became a feature of public events, as in this picture from the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

As Edison expanded his direct current (DC) power delivery system, he received stiff competition from companies installing alternating current (AC) systems. From the early 1880s AC arc lighting systems for streets and large spaces had been an expanding business in the US. With the development of transformers in Europe and by Westinghouse Electric in the US in 1885–1886, it became possible to transmit AC long distances over thinner and cheaper wires, and "step down" the voltage at the destination for distribution to users. This allowed AC to be used in street lighting and in lighting for small business and domestic customers, the market Edison's patented low voltage DC incandescent lamp system was designed to supply.[76] Edison's DC empire suffered from one of its chief drawbacks: it was suitable only for the high density of customers found in large cities. Edison's DC plants could not deliver electricity to customers more than one mile from the plant, and left a patchwork of unsupplied customers between plants. Small cities and rural areas could not afford an Edison style system at all, leaving a large part of the market without electrical service. AC companies expanded into this gap. Edison expressed views that AC was unworkable and the high voltages used were dangerous. As George Westinghouse
George Westinghouse
installed his first AC systems in 1886, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
struck out personally against his chief rival stating, "Just as certain as death, Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in a system of any size. He has got a new thing and it will require a great deal of experimenting to get it working practically."[77] Many reasons have been suggested for Edison's anti-AC stance. One notion is that the inventor could not grasp the more abstract theories behind AC and was trying to avoid developing a system he did not understand. Edison also appeared to have been worried about the high voltage from misinstalled AC systems killing customers and hurting the sales of electric power systems in general.[78] Primary was the fact that Edison Electric based their design on low voltage DC and switching a standard after they had installed over 100 systems was, in Edison's mind, out of the question. By the end of 1887, Edison Electric was losing market share to Westinghouse, who had built 68 AC-based power stations to Edison's 121 DC-based stations. To make matters worse for Edison, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company
Thomson-Houston Electric Company
of Lynn, Massachusetts (another AC-based competitor) built 22 power stations.[79] Parallel to expanding competition between Edison and the AC companies was rising public furor over a series of deaths in the spring of 1888 caused by pole mounted high voltage alternating current lines. This turned into a media frenzy against high voltage alternating current and the seemingly greedy and callous lighting companies that used it.[80][81] Edison took advantage of the public perception of AC as dangerous, and joined with self-styled New York anti-AC crusader Harold P. Brown
Harold P. Brown
in a propaganda campaign, aiding Brown in the public electrocution of animals with AC, and supported legislation to control and severely limit AC installations and voltages (to the point of making it an ineffective power delivery system) in what was now being referred to as a "battle of currents". The development of the electric chair was used in an attempt to portray AC as having a greater lethal potential than DC and smear Westinghouse at the same time via Edison colluding with Brown and Westinghouse's chief AC rival, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, to make sure the first electric chair was powered by a Westinghouse AC generator. Thomas Edison's staunch anti-AC tactics were not sitting well with his own stockholders. By the early 1890s, Edison's company was generating much smaller profits than its AC rivals, and the War of Currents
War of Currents
would come to an end in 1892 with Edison forced out of controlling his own company. That year, the financier J.P. Morgan
J.P. Morgan
engineered a merger of Edison General Electric
General Electric
with Thomson-Houston that put the board of Thomson-Houston in charge of the new company called General Electric. General Electric
General Electric
now controlled three-quarters of the US electrical business and would compete with Westinghouse for the AC market.[82][83] Other inventions and projects Fluoroscopy Edison is credited with designing and producing the first commercially available fluoroscope, a machine that uses X-rays
to take radiographs. Until Edison discovered that calcium tungstate fluoroscopy screens produced brighter images than the barium platinocyanide screens originally used by Wilhelm Röntgen, the technology was capable of producing only very faint images. The fundamental design of Edison's fluoroscope is still in use today, although Edison abandoned the project after nearly losing his own eyesight and seriously injuring his assistant, Clarence Dally. Dally made himself an enthusiastic human guinea pig for the fluoroscopy project and was exposed to a poisonous dose of radiation. He later died of injuries related to the exposure. In 1903, a shaken Edison said: "Don't talk to me about X-rays, I am afraid of them."[84] Telegraph improvements

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The key to Edison's fortunes was telegraphy. With knowledge gained from years of working as a telegraph operator, he learned the basics of electricity. This allowed him to make his early fortune with the stock ticker, the first electricity-based broadcast system. On August 9, 1892, Edison received a patent for a two-way telegraph. Motion pictures

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The June 1894 Leonard–Cushing bout. Each of the six one-minute rounds recorded by the Kinetoscope
was made available to exhibitors for $22.50.[85] Customers who watched the final round saw Leonard score a knockdown.

Edison was also granted a patent for the motion picture camera or "Kinetograph". He did the electromechanical design while his employee W. K. L. Dickson, a photographer, worked on the photographic and optical development. Much of the credit for the invention belongs to Dickson.[54] In 1891, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
built a Kinetoscope
or peep-hole viewer. This device was installed in penny arcades, where people could watch short, simple films. The kinetograph and kinetoscope were both first publicly exhibited May 20, 1891.[86] In April 1896, Thomas Armat's Vitascope, manufactured by the Edison factory and marketed in Edison's name, was used to project motion pictures in public screenings in New York City. Later, he exhibited motion pictures with voice soundtrack on cylinder recordings, mechanically synchronized with the film. Officially the kinetoscope entered Europe when the rich American Businessman Irving T. Bush
Irving T. Bush
(1869–1948) bought from the Continental Commerce Company of Frank Z. Maguire and Joseph D. Baucus a dozen machines. Bush placed from October 17, 1894, the first kinetoscopes in London. At the same time, the French company Kinétoscope Edison Michel et Alexis Werner bought these machines for the market in France. In the last three months of 1894, the Continental Commerce Company sold hundreds of kinetoscopes in Europe (i.e. the Netherlands and Italy). In Germany and in Austria-Hungary, the kinetoscope was introduced by the Deutsche-österreichische-Edison-Kinetoscop Gesellschaft, founded by the Ludwig Stollwerck[87] of the Schokoladen-Süsswarenfabrik Stollwerck & Co of Cologne. The first kinetoscopes arrived in Belgium at the Fairs
in early 1895. The Edison's Kinétoscope Français, a Belgian company, was founded in Brussels on January 15, 1895, with the rights to sell the kinetoscopes in Monaco, France and the French colonies. The main investors in this company were Belgian industrialists.[88] On May 14, 1895, the Edison's Kinétoscope Belge was founded in Brussels. The businessman Ladislas-Victor Lewitzki, living in London but active in Belgium and France, took the initiative in starting this business. He had contacts with Leon Gaumont
Leon Gaumont
and the American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. In 1898, he also became a shareholder of the Biograph and Mutoscope Company for France.[88] Edison's film studio made close to 1,200 films. The majority of the productions were short films showing everything from acrobats to parades to fire calls including titles such as Fred Ott's Sneeze (1894), The Kiss (1896), The Great Train Robbery (1903), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1910), and the first Frankenstein film in 1910. In 1903, when the owners of Luna Park, Coney Island announced they would execute Topsy the elephant by strangulation, poisoning, and electrocution (with the electrocution part ultimately killing the elephant), Edison Manufacturing sent a crew to film it, releasing it that same year with the title Electrocuting an Elephant.

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A Day with Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison

As the film business expanded, competing exhibitors routinely copied and exhibited each other's films.[89] To better protect the copyrights on his films, Edison deposited prints of them on long strips of photographic paper with the U.S. copyright office. Many of these paper prints survived longer and in better condition than the actual films of that era.[90] In 1908, Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust). Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
was the first honorary fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, which was founded in 1929. Edison said his favorite movie was The Birth of a Nation. He thought that talkies had "spoiled everything" for him. "There isn't any good acting on the screen. They concentrate on the voice now and have forgotten how to act. I can sense it more than you because I am deaf."[91] His favorite stars were Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
and Clara Bow.[92] Mining Starting in the late 1870s, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
became interested and involved with mining. High-grade iron ore was scarce on the east coast of the United States
United States
and Edison tried to mine low-grade ore. Edison developed a process using rollers and crushers that could pulverize rocks up to 10 tons. The dust was then sent between three giant magnets that would pull the iron ore from the dust. Despite the failure of his mining company, the Edison Ore Milling Company, Edison used some of the materials and equipment to produce cement.[93] In 1901, Edison visited an industrial exhibition in the Sudbury area in Ontario, Canada and thought nickel and cobalt deposits there could be used in his production of electrical equipment. He returned as a mining prospector and is credited with the original discovery of the Falconbridge ore body. His attempts to mine the ore body were not successful, and he abandoned his mining claim in 1903.[94] A street in Falconbridge, as well as the Edison Building, which served as the head office of Falconbridge Mines, are named for him. Battery

Share of the Edison Storage Battery Company, issued 19. October 1903

The Edison Storage Battery Company
Edison Storage Battery Company
was founded in 1901. With this company Edison exploited his invention of the accumulator. In 1904 already 450 people worked at the company. The first accumulators were produced for electric cars. But there were several defects. Several Customers were complaining about the products. When the capital of the company was spent Edison paid for the company with his private money. Not until 1910 Edison showed a mature product: A Nickel-Iron-Battery with Lye as liquid. Rubber

From left to right: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone, the three partners of the Edison Botanic Research Corporation.

Edison became concerned with America's reliance on foreign supply of rubber and was determined to find a native supply of rubber. He joined Harvey Firestone
Harvey Firestone
and Henry Ford
Henry Ford
(each contributing $25,000) to create the Edison Botanic Research Corp. in 1927 and constructed a laboratory in Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
the following year. Edison did the majority of the research and planting, sending results and sample rubber residues to his West Orange Lab. Edison employed a two-part Acid-base extraction, to derive latex from the plant material after it was dried and crushed to a powder.[95] After testing 17,000 plant samples, he eventually found an adequate source in the Goldenrod plant. West Orange and Fort Myers (1886–1931)

Thomas A. Edison Industries Exhibit, Primary Battery section, 1915

Edison moved from Menlo Park after the death of his first wife, Mary, in 1884, and purchased a home known as "Glenmont" in 1886 as a wedding gift for his second wife, Mina, in Llewellyn Park
Llewellyn Park
in West Orange, New Jersey. In 1885, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
bought property in Fort Myers, Florida, and built what was later called Seminole Lodge as a winter retreat. Edison and Mina spent many winters at their home in Fort Myers, and Edison tried to find a domestic source of natural rubber.[96] Due to the security concerns around World War I, Edison suggested forming a science and industry committee to provide advice and research to the US military, and he headed the Naval Consulting Board in 1915.[97] Edison's work on rubber took place largely at his botanic research laboratory in Fort Myers, which has been designated as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.[98] The laboratory was built after Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone
Harvey Firestone
pulled together $75,000 to form the Edison Botanical Research Corporation. Initially, only Ford and Firestone were to contribute funds to the project while Edison did all the research. Edison, however, wished to contribute $25,000 as well. After testing over 17,000 plant species, Edison decided on Solidago leavenworthii, also known as Leavenworth's Goldenrod. The plant, which normally grows roughly 3–4 feet tall with a 5% latex yield, was adapted by Edison through cross-breeding to produce plants twice the size and with a latex yield of 12%.[99] Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Jr.'s activities Wanting to be an inventor, but not having much of an aptitude for it, Thomas Edison's son, Thomas Alva Edison Jr.. became a problem for his father and his father's business. Starting in the 1890s, Thomas Jr. became involved in snake oil products and shady and fraudulent enterprises producing products being sold to the public as "The Latest Edison Discovery". The situation became so bad that Thomas Sr. had to take his son to court to stop the practices, finally agreeing to pay Thomas Jr. an allowance of $35.00 (equivalent to $953 in 2017[40]) per week, in exchange for not using the Edison name; the son began using aliases, such as Burton Willard. Thomas Jr., suffering from alcoholism, depression and ill health, worked at several menial jobs, but by 1931 (towards the end of his life) he would obtain a role in the Edison company, thanks to the intervention of his brother.[100][101] Final years

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone, respectively. Ft. Myers, Florida, February 11, 1929

Henry Ford, the automobile magnate, later lived a few hundred feet away from Edison at his winter retreat in Fort Myers. Ford once worked as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company
Edison Illuminating Company
of Detroit and met Edison at a convention of affiliated Edison illuminating companies in Brooklyn, NY in 1896. Edison was impressed with Ford's internal combustion engine automobile and encouraged its developments. They were friends until Edison's death. Edison and Ford undertook annual motor camping trips from 1914 to 1924. Harvey Firestone
Harvey Firestone
and John Burroughs also participated. In 1928, Edison joined the Fort Myers Civitan Club. He believed strongly in the organization, writing that "The Civitan Club is doing things—big things—for the community, state, and nation, and I certainly consider it an honor to be numbered in its ranks."[102] He was an active member in the club until his death, sometimes bringing Henry Ford
Henry Ford
to the club's meetings. Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death, the Lackawanna Railroad inaugurated suburban electric train service from Hoboken to Montclair, Dover, and Gladstone, New Jersey. Electrical transmission for this service was by means of an overhead catenary system using direct current, which Edison had championed. Despite his frail condition, Edison was at the throttle of the first electric MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken in September 1930, driving the train the first mile through Hoboken yard on its way to South Orange.[103] This fleet of cars would serve commuters in northern New Jersey for the next 54 years until their retirement in 1984. A plaque commemorating Edison's inaugural ride can be seen today in the waiting room of Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, which is presently operated by New Jersey Transit.[103] Edison was said to have been influenced by a popular fad diet in his last few years; "the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours".[54] He is reported to have believed this diet would restore his health. However, this tale is doubtful. In 1930, the year before Edison died, Mina said in an interview about him, "correct eating is one of his greatest hobbies." She also said that during one of his periodic "great scientific adventures", Edison would be up at 7:00, have breakfast at 8:00, and be rarely home for lunch or dinner, implying that he continued to have all three.[91] Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was reportedly shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and candles.[citation needed] Death Edison died of complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home, "Glenmont" in Llewellyn Park
Llewellyn Park
in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina. Rev. Stephen J. Herben officiated at the funeral;[104] Edison is buried behind the home.[105][106] Edison's last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at The Henry Ford
Henry Ford
museum near Detroit. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test tube of air in the inventor's room shortly after his death, as a memento.[107] A plaster death mask and casts of Edison's hands were also made.[108] Mina died in 1947. Views on politics, religion, and metaphysics Historian Paul Israel has characterized Edison as a "freethinker".[54] Edison was heavily influenced by Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason.[54] Edison defended Paine's "scientific deism", saying, "He has been called an atheist, but atheist he was not. Paine believed in a supreme intelligence, as representing the idea which other men often express by the name of deity."[54] In an October 2, 1910, interview in the New York Times Magazine, Edison stated:

Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me — the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love — He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us — nature did it all — not the gods of the religions.[109]

Edison was accused of being an atheist for those remarks, and although he did not allow himself to be drawn into the controversy publicly, he clarified himself in a private letter:

You have misunderstood the whole article, because you jumped to the conclusion that it denies the existence of God. There is no such denial, what you call God I call Nature, the Supreme intelligence that rules matter. All the article states is that it is doubtful in my opinion if our intelligence or soul or whatever one may call it lives hereafter as an entity or disperses back again from whence it came, scattered amongst the cells of which we are made.[54]

He also stated, "I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt."[110] Nonviolence
was key to Edison's moral views, and when asked to serve as a naval consultant for World War I, he specified he would work only on defensive weapons and later noted, "I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill." Edison's philosophy of nonviolence extended to animals as well, about which he stated: " Nonviolence
leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."[111][112] He was a vegetarian[113] but not a vegan in actual practice, at least near the end of his life.[54] In 1920, Edison set off a media sensation when he told B. C. Forbes
B. C. Forbes
of American Magazine
American Magazine
that he was working on a "spirit phone" to allow communication with the dead, a story which other newspapers and magazines repeated.[114] Edison later disclaimed the idea, telling the New York Times in 1926 that "I really had nothing to tell him, but I hated to disappoint him so I thought up this story about communicating with spirits, but it was all a joke."[115] Views on money Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
was an advocate for monetary reform in the United States. He was ardently opposed to the gold standard and debt-based money. Famously, he was quoted in the New York Times stating "Gold is a relic of Julius Caesar, and interest is an invention of Satan."[116] In the same article, he expounded upon the absurdity of a monetary system in which the taxpayer of the United States, in need of a loan, can be compelled to pay in return perhaps double the principal, or even greater sums, due to interest. His basic point was that, if the Government can produce debt-based money, it could equally as well produce money that was a credit to the taxpayer.[116] He thought at length about the subject of money in 1921 and 1922. In May 1922, he published a proposal, entitled "A Proposed Amendment to the Federal Reserve Banking System".[117] In it, he detailed an explanation of a commodity-backed currency, in which the Federal Reserve would issue interest-free currency to farmers, based on the value of commodities they produced. During a publicity tour that he took with friend and fellow inventor, Henry Ford, he spoke publicly about his desire for monetary reform. For insight, he corresponded with prominent academic and banking professionals. In the end, however, Edison's proposals failed to find support and were eventually abandoned.[118][119] Awards

Portrait of Edison by Abraham Archibald Anderson
Abraham Archibald Anderson
(1890), National Portrait Gallery

The President of the Third French Republic, Jules Grévy, on the recommendation of his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, and with the presentations of the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, Louis Cochery, designated Edison with the distinction of an Officer of the Legion of Honour
Legion of Honour
(Légion d'honneur) by decree on November 10, 1881;[120] Edison was also named a Chevalier in the Legion in 1879, and a Commander in 1889.[121] In 1887, Edison won the Matteucci Medal. In 1890, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Philadelphia City Council
Philadelphia City Council
named Edison the recipient of the John Scott Medal in 1889.[121] In 1899, Edison was awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal
Edward Longstreth Medal
of The Franklin Institute.[122] He was named an Honorable Consulting Engineer at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's fair
World's fair
in 1904.[121] In 1908, Edison received the American Association of Engineering Societies John Fritz Medal.[121] In 1915, Edison was awarded Franklin Medal
Franklin Medal
of The Franklin Institute for discoveries contributing to the foundation of industries and the well-being of the human race.[123] In 1920, the United States Navy
United States Navy
department awarded him the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.[121] In 1923, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers created the Edison Medal
Edison Medal
and he was its first recipient.[121] In 1927, he was granted membership in the National Academy of Sciences.[121] On May 29, 1928, Edison received the Congressional Gold Medal.[121] In 1983, the United States
United States
Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97—198), designated February 11, Edison's birthday, as National Inventor's Day.[124] Life magazine (USA), in a special double issue in 1997, placed Edison first in the list of the "100 Most Important People in the Last 1000 Years", noting that the light bulb he promoted "lit up the world". In the 2005 television series The Greatest American, he was voted by viewers as the fifteenth greatest. In 2008, Edison was inducted in the New Jersey Hall of Fame. In 2010, Edison was honored with a Technical Grammy Award. In 2011, Edison was inducted into the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame
Entrepreneur Walk of Fame
and named a Great Floridian
Great Floridian
by the Florida Governor and Cabinet.[125] Tributes Places and people named for Edison

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
commemorative stamp, issued on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1947

Several places have been named after Edison, most notably the town of Edison, New Jersey. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
State University, nationally known for adult learners, is in Trenton, New Jersey. Two community colleges are named for him: Edison State College
Edison State College
(now Florida SouthWestern State College) in Fort Myers, Florida, and Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio.[126] There are numerous high schools named after Edison (see Edison High School) and other schools including Thomas A. Edison Middle School. Footballer Pelé's father originally named him Edson, as a tribute to the inventor of the light bulb, but the name was incorrectly listed on his birth certificate as "Edison".[127] The small town of Alva just east of Fort Myers took Edison's middle name. In 1883, the City Hotel in Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Sunbury, Pennsylvania
was the first building to be lit with Edison's three-wire system. The hotel was renamed The Hotel Edison
Hotel Edison
upon Edison's return to the city on 1922.[128] Lake Thomas A Edison in California
was named after Edison to mark the 75th anniversary of the incandescent light bulb.[129] Edison was on hand to turn on the lights at the Hotel Edison
Hotel Edison
in New York City when it opened in 1931.[130] Three bridges around the United States
United States
have been named in Edison's honor: the Edison Bridge in New Jersey,[131] the Edison Bridge in Florida,[132] and the Edison Bridge in Ohio.[133] In space, his name is commemorated in asteroid 742 Edisona. Museums and memorials

Statue of young Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
by the railroad tracks in Port Huron, Michigan.

In West Orange, New Jersey, the 13.5 acres (5.5 hectares) Glenmont estate is maintained and operated by the National Park Service
National Park Service
as the Edison National Historic Site, as is his nearby laboratory and workshops including the reconstructed "Black Maria"—the world's first movie studio.[134] The Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Museum is in the town of Edison, New Jersey.[135] In Beaumont, Texas, there is an Edison Museum, though Edison never visited there.[136] The Port Huron Museum, in Port Huron, Michigan, restored the original depot that Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
worked out of as a young news butcher. The depot has been named the Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Depot Museum.[137] The town has many Edison historical landmarks, including the graves of Edison's parents, and a monument along the St. Clair River. Edison's influence can be seen throughout this city of 32,000. In Detroit, the Edison Memorial Fountain in Grand Circus Park was created to honor his achievements. The limestone fountain was dedicated October 21, 1929, the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the lightbulb.[138] On the same night, The Edison Institute was dedicated in nearby Dearborn. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame
Automotive Hall of Fame
in 1969.[citation needed] A bronze statue of Edison was placed in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the United States
United States
Capitol in 2016, with the formal dedication ceremony held on September 20 of that year. The Edison statue replaced one of 19th-century state governor William Allen that had been one of Ohio's two allowed contributions to the collection.[139] Companies bearing Edison's name

Edison in 1915

Edison General Electric, merged with Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric Commonwealth Edison, now part of Exelon Consolidated Edison Edison International Detroit Edison, a unit of DTE Energy Edison S.p.A., a unit of Italenergia Trade association the Edison Electric Institute, a lobbying and research group for investor-owned utilities in the United States Edison Ore-Milling Company Edison Portland Cement Company Ohio Edison (merged with Centerior in 1997 to form First Energy) Southern California

Awards named in honor of Edison The Edison Medal
Edison Medal
was created on February 11, 1904, by a group of Edison's friends and associates. Four years later the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), later IEEE, entered into an agreement with the group to present the medal as its highest award. The first medal was presented in 1909 to Elihu Thomson. It is the oldest award in the area of electrical and electronics engineering, and is presented annually "for a career of meritorious achievement in electrical science, electrical engineering or the electrical arts." In the Netherlands, the major music awards are named the Edison Award after him. The award is an annual Dutch music prize, awarded for outstanding achievements in the music industry, and is one of the oldest music awards in the world, having been presented since 1960. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
concedes the Thomas A. Edison Patent Award to individual patents since 2000.[140] Other items named after Edison The United States Navy
United States Navy
named the USS Edison (DD-439), a Gleaves class destroyer, in his honor in 1940. The ship was decommissioned a few months after the end of World War II.[141] In 1962, the Navy commissioned USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610), a fleet ballistic missile nuclear-powered submarine.[citation needed][142] In popular culture Main article: Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
in popular culture Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
has appeared in popular culture as a character in novels, films, comics and video games. His prolific inventing helped make him an icon and he has made appearances in popular culture during his lifetime down to the present day. Edison is also portrayed in popular culture as an adversary of Nikola Tesla.[143] "Camping with Henry and Tom", a fictional play based on Edison's camping trips with Henry Ford, written by Mark St.Gemain. First presented at Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York, February 20, 1995.[citation needed] On February 11, 2011, on what would have been Thomas Edison's 164th birthday, Google's homepage featured an animated Google
Doodle commemorating his many inventions. When the cursor was hovered over the doodle, a series of mechanisms seemed to move, causing a lightbulb to glow.[144] List of people who worked for Edison The following is a list of people who worked for Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
in his laboratories at Menlo Park or West Orange or at the subsidiary electrical businesses that he supervised.

Edward Goodrich Acheson
Edward Goodrich Acheson
– chemist, worked at Menlo Park 1880–1884 William Symes Andrews – started at the Menlo Park machine shop 1879 Charles Batchelor – "chief experimental assistant" John I. Beggs
John I. Beggs
– manager of Edison Illuminating Company
Edison Illuminating Company
in New York, 1886 William Kennedy Dickson
William Kennedy Dickson
– joined Menlo Park in 1823, worked on the motion picture camera Justus B. Entz – joined Edison Machine Works
Edison Machine Works
in 1887 Reginald Fessenden
Reginald Fessenden
– worked at the Edison Machine Works
Edison Machine Works
in 1886 Henry Ford
Henry Ford
– engineer Edison Illuminating Company
Edison Illuminating Company
Detroit, Michigan, 1891–1899 William Joseph Hammer
William Joseph Hammer
– started as laboratory assistant Menlo Park in 1879 Miller Reese Hutchison
Miller Reese Hutchison
– inventor of hearing aid Edward Hibberd Johnson – started in 1909, chief engineer at West Orange laboratory 1912–1918 Samuel Insull
Samuel Insull
– started in 1881, rose to become VP of General Electric (1892) then President of Chicago Edison Kunihiko Iwadare – joined Edison Machine Works
Edison Machine Works
in 1887 Francis Jehl – laboratory assistant Menlo Park 1879–1882 Arthur E. Kennelly – engineer, experimentalist at West Orange laboratory 1887–1894 John Kruesi
John Kruesi
– started 1872, was head machinist, at Newark, Menlo Park, Edison Machine Works Lewis Howard Latimer
Lewis Howard Latimer
– hired 1884 as a draftsman, continued working for General Electric John W. Lieb
John W. Lieb
– worked at the Edison Machine Works
Edison Machine Works
in 1881 Thomas Commerford Martin
Thomas Commerford Martin
– electrical engineer, worked at Menlo Park 1877–1879 George F. Morrison
George F. Morrison
– started at Edison Lamp Works 1882 Edwin Stanton Porter
Edwin Stanton Porter
– joined the Edison Manufacturing Company 1899 Frank J. Sprague
Frank J. Sprague
– Joined Menlo Park 1883, became known as the "Father of Electric Traction". Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
– electrical engineer and inventor, worked at the Edison Machine Works
Edison Machine Works
in 1884 Francis Robbins Upton
Francis Robbins Upton
– mathematician/physicist, joined Menlo Park 1878

See also

Book: Thomas Edison

List of Edison patents Thomas Alva Edison Birthplace Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
National Historical Park Edison Pioneers
Edison Pioneers
– a group formed in 1918 by employees and other associates of Thomas Edison


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Navy. Retrieved December 18, 2013. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels seized the opportunity created by Edison's public comments to enlist Edison's support. He agreed to serve as the head of a new body of civilian experts – the Naval Consulting Board
Naval Consulting Board
– to advise the Navy on science and technology. ...  ^ "Edison Botanic Research Laboratory – Edison & Ford Winter Estates – (239) 334-7419". Retrieved December 30, 2016.  ^ Growing American Rubber by Mark Finlay ^ René Rondeau (1997). "LOST IN HISTORY: Thomas A. Edison, Junior". Retrieved December 30, 2017.  ^ "Thomas Alva Edison Jr". National Park Service. Retrieved December 30, 2017.  ^ Armbrester, Margaret E. (1992). The Civitan Story. Birmingham, AL: Ebsco Media. p. 34.  ^ a b Holland, Kevin J. (2001). Classic American Railroad Terminals. Osceola, WI: MBI. ISBN 9780760308325. OCLC 45908903.  ^ "Rev. S. Herben Dead at 75". Plainfield Courier-News. Plainfield, New Jersey. 23 February 1937. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com. 

^ " Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Dies in Coma at 84; Family With Him as the End Comes; Inventor Succumbs at 3:24 A.M. After Fight for Life Since He Was Stricken on August 1. World-Wide Tribute Is Paid to Him as a Benefactor of Mankind". New York Times. October 18, 1931. West Orange, New Jersey, Sunday, October 18, 1931. Thomas Alva Edison died at 3:24 o'clock this morning at his home, Glenmont, in the Llewellyn Park section of this city. The great inventor, the fruits of whose genius so magically transformed the everyday world, was 84 years and 8 months old.  ^ Benoit, Tod (2003). Where are they buried? How did they die?. Black Dog & Leventhal. p. 560. ISBN 978-1-57912-678-0.  ^ "Is Thomas Edison's last breath preserved in a test tube in the Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Museum?", The Straight Dope, September 11, 1987. Retrieved August 20, 2007. ^ Neil Baldwin, Edison: Inventing the Century, University of Chicago Press – 2001, 408 ^ ""No Immortality of the Soul" says Thomas A. Edison. In Fact, He Doesn't Believe There Is a Soul — Human Beings Only an Aggregate of Cells and the Brain Only a Wonderful Machine, Says Wizard of Electricity". New York Times. October 2, 1910. Thomas A. Edison in the following interview for the first time speaks to the public on the vital subjects of the human soul and immortality. It will be bound to be a most fascinating, an amazing statement, from one of the most notable and interesting men of the age ... Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me — the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love — He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us — nature did it all — not the gods of the religions.  ^ The Freethinker (1970), G.W. Foote & Company, Volume 90, p. 147 ^ Cited in Innovate Like Edison: The Success System of America's Greatest Inventor by Sarah Miller Caldicott, Michael J. Gelb, page 37. ^ "Vegetarianism Quotes from Noteworthy People".  ^ "10 Genius
Vegetarians". Mines Green Circle.  ^ "Edison's Forgotten 'Invention': A Phone That Calls the Dead". GE Reports. October 28, 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013.  ^ "Invention Geek – Edison Spirit Phone?".  ^ a b "Ford sees wealth in muscle shoals" (PDF). The New York Times. December 6, 1921. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ Edison, 1922 ^ Hammes, D.L.; Wills, D.T. (2006). "Thomas Edison's Monetary Option". Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 28 (3): 295.  ^ Hammes, David L. (2012). Harvesting Gold: Thomas Edison's Experiment to Re-Invent American Money. Mahler Publishing.  ^ NNDB online website. The same decree awarded German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz
Hermann von Helmholtz
with the designation of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, as well as Alexander Graham Bell. The decree preamble cited "for services provided to the Congress and to the International Electrical Exhibition" ^ a b c d e f g h Kennelly, Arthur E. (1932). Biographical Memoir of Thomas Alva Edison (PDF). National Academy of Sciences. pp. 300–301.  ^ "Franklin Laureate Database – Edward Longstreth Medal
Edward Longstreth Medal
1899 Laureates". Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2011.  ^ "Thomas Alva Edison – Acknowledgement". The Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ "Proclamation 5013 – National Inventors' Day, 1983". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ " Great Floridian
Great Floridian
Program". Retrieved April 2, 2012.  ^ "Edison Community College (Ohio)". Edison.cc.oh.us. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved January 29, 2009.  ^ Pelé; Orlando Duarte; Alex Bellos (2006). Pelé: The Autobiography. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7432-7582-8. Retrieved October 2, 2010.  ^ "The Edison Hotel". City of Sunbury. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ "Description of the Big Creek System" (PDF). Southern California Edison. Retrieved December 21, 2012. [permanent dead link] ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Hotel Edison. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ "The History & Technology of the Edison Bridge & Driscoll Bridge over the Raritan River, New Jersey" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Transportation. 2003. Retrieved February 24, 2013.  ^ Solomon, Irvin D. (2001). Thomas Edison: The Fort Myers Connection. Arcadia Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 9780738513690.  ^ "5533.18 Thomas A. Edison memorial bridge". Lawriter LLC. Retrieved February 25, 2013.  ^ " Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
(U.S. National Park Service)". Nps.gov. December 15, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013.  ^ Menlo Park Museum, Tower-Restoration Archived September 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved September 28, 2010. ^ Biographiq (2008). Thomas Edison: Life of an Electrifying Man. Filiquarian Publishing, LLC. p. 32. ISBN 9781599862163.  ^ Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Depot Archived January 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved September 28, 2010. ^ Edison Memorial Fountain Archived September 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. at Buildings of Detroit. Retrieved September 28, 2010. ^ Wehrman, Jessica (September 21, 2016). " Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
statue dedicated in U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved February 3, 2017.  ^ "Thomas A. Edison Patent Award". American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Archived from the original on December 6, 2010.  ^ "Edison". Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved May 12, 2015.  ^ "Thomas A. Edison". Naval History and Heritage Command. April 14, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.  ^ Knapp, Alex (May 18, 2012). " Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Wasn't God and Thomas Edison Wasn't the Devil". Forbes. Retrieved October 15, 2017.  ^ " Google
Doodle: February 11, 2011 – Thomas Edison's Birthday". 


External video

Booknotes interview with Neil Baldwin on Edison: Inventing the Century, March 19, 1995, C-SPAN

Booknotes interview with Jill Jonnes on Empires of Light, October 26, 2003, C-SPAN

Albion, Michele Wehrwein. (2008). The Florida Life of Thomas Edison. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. ISBN 978-0-8130-3259-7.  Adams, Glen J. (2004). The Search for Thomas Edison's Boyhood Home. ISBN 978-1-4116-1361-4.  Angel, Ernst (1926). Edison. Sein Leben und Erfinden. Berlin: Ernst Angel Verlag.  Baldwin, Neil (2001). Edison: Inventing the Century. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-03571-0.  Clark, Ronald William (1977). Edison: The man who made the future. London: Macdonald & Jane's: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 978-0-354-04093-8.  Conot, Robert (1979). A Streak of Luck. New York: Seaview Books. ISBN 978-0-87223-521-2.  Davis, L. J. (1998). Fleet Fire: Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
and the Pioneers of the Electric Revolution. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-47927-1.  Essig, Mark (2004). Edison and the Electric Chair. Stroud: Sutton. ISBN 978-0-7509-3680-4.  Essig, Mark (2003). Edison & the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death. New York: Walker & Company. ISBN 978-0-8027-1406-0.  Israel, Paul (1998). Edison: A Life of Invention. New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-52942-2.  Jonnes, Jill (2003). Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50739-7.  Josephson, Matthew (1959). Edison. McGraw Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-033046-7.  Koenigsberg, Allen (1987). Edison Cylinder Records, 1889–1912. APM Press. ISBN 0-937612-07-3.  Pretzer, William S. (ed). (1989). Working at Inventing: Thomas A. Edison and the Menlo Park Experience. Dearborn, Michigan: Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. ISBN 978-0-933728-33-2.  Stross, Randall E. (2007). The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World. Crown. ISBN 1-4000-4762-5. 

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Menlo Park Museum and Edison Memorial Tower Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
(National Park Service) Edison exhibit and Menlo Park Laboratory at Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Museum Edison Museum Edison Depot Museum Edison Birthplace Museum Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison

Information and media

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
at Encyclopædia Britannica Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
on In Our Time at the BBC. Interview with Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
in 1931 The Diary of Thomas Edison Works by Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
at Internet
Archive Edison's patent application for the light bulb at the National Archives. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
on IMDb "January 4, 1903: Edison Fries an Elephant to Prove His Point" – Wired article about Edison's "macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC." "The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories" National Park Service (NPS) Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Personal Manuscripts and Letters

Edison, His Life and Inventions at Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg
by Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin. The short film Story of Thomas Alva Edison is available for free download at the Internet
Archive Edison Papers Rutgers. Edisonian Museum Antique Electrics Edison Innovation Foundation – Non-profit foundation supporting the legacy of Thomas Edison. Thomas Alva Edison at Find a Grave The Illustrious Vagabonds Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Heritage Association "The World's Greatest Inventor" October 1931, Popular Mechanics. Detailed, illustrated article. 14 minutes "instructional" film with fictional elements The boyhood of Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
from 1964, produced by Coronet, published by archive.org "A Day with Thomas A. Edison" Video on YouTube
– 1922 – A rare documentary silent film "Edison's Miracle of Light" PBS – American Experience. Premiered January 2015.

Awards and achievements

Preceded by Leon Trotsky Cover of Time magazine Succeeded by Richard Swann Lull

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Thomas Edison

Discoveries and inventions

List of Edison patents Carbon
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Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Edison and Swan Electric Light Company Edison Gower- Bell Telephone Company
Bell Telephone Company
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General Electric
Research Laboratory Winter Estates


Charles Edison
Charles Edison
(son) Theodore Miller Edison (son)


Young Tom Edison
Young Tom Edison
(1940) Edison, the Man
Edison, the Man
(1940) "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" (1998)


The Future Eve (1886) Edison's Conquest of Mars
Edison's Conquest of Mars
(1898) Tales from the Bully Pulpit (2004)


The Execution of Mary Stuart
The Execution of Mary Stuart
(1895) The Kiss (1896) A Night of Terror (1911)


Edisonade Edisonian approach


Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
in popular culture War of Currents Pearl Street Station Edison Museum Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
House Edison Hotel Telephonoscope "Topsy"

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General Electric

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Former and defunct

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GE Capital
IT Solutions2 GECIS2 GE Capital
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Rail Services2

GE Capital
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Joint ventures and shareholdings


CFM International (50%) Engine Alliance
Engine Alliance
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Products and brands

Aircraft engines General Comprehensive Operating System GEnie Locomotives Mazda Reciprocating engines Trivection oven Tungsram



Charles A. Coffin Thomas Edison Edwin J. Houston J. P. Morgan Elihu Thomson


James Cash Jr. Ann Fudge Susan Hockfield Jeffrey R. Immelt Andrea Jung Rochelle Lazarus Sam Nunn Roger Penske Douglas A. Warner III Jack Welch Bob Wright

Places and facilities

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Theater General Imaging Thomson-Houston Electric Company Timeline United States
United States
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Co. Phoebus cartel

1Now integrated into other GE divisions or business groupings 2Sold or spun off

Category Commons

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Hall of Fame for Great Americans

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Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 66552944 LCCN: n80126308 ISNI: 0000 0001 2137 3760 GND: 118528912 SELIBR: 184480 SUDOC: 067719627 BNF: cb12407892h (data) ULAN: 500066589 MusicBrainz: 7ab467a1-d15b-41ea-a4d9-433d7ff64e9d NLA: 35056706 NDL: 00542495 NKC: jn20000700470 Léonore: LH/890/51 BNE: XX913688 SNAC: w6cz36s