Thomas Alva Edison


Thomas Alva Edison became known as The Wizard of Menlo Park . An important and recognized scientist managed to invent more than 1000 different things throughout his career which managed to drastically transform all the culture and customs that were lived in the society of his time helping to establish the future of the generations that are to come.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 02/11/1847
  • Where he was born: Milan, Ohio, United States
  • When he died: 10/18/1931
  • Where he died: West Orange, New Jersey, United States

Who was Thomas Alva Edison?

Thomas Alva Edison was a major American inventor and innovative entrepreneur who succeeded in creating a number of important technologies . A scientist who today enjoys having the merit of having helped in the total construction of the economy of the United States in times of the Industrial Revolution.

  • Biography of Thomas Alva Edison
  • Death
  • Education
  • Contributions from Thomas Alva Edison
  • Featured inventions
  • What company did he founded
  • Physical characteristics
  • Thomas Alva Edison personality
  • Parents
  • Relations
  • Sons
  • Importance
  • Thomas Alva Edison Quotes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Presence in popular culture
  • Curiosities

Biography of Thomas Alva Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in the city of Milan , Ohio . As a child, scarlet fever and several ear infections that caused a series of hearing problems and that later would affect his hearing as an adult.

When he was 12 he convinced his parents to sell newspapers on the Grand Truck Railroad and then began publishing his own newspaper which he called the Grand Trunk Herald. He also did some small chemical experiments in a laboratory that he installed in one of the train’s baggage cars. In that same place, he saved a young man from being run over by a train, for the boy in gratitude he taught him to operate a telegraph and at age 15 he was hired as a telegraph operator.

In 1866 , he was not 19 years old, he moved to Louisville , Kentucky where he began to work for a company called The Associated Press . At the beginning he stood out as a telegrapher because Morse codes were described on paper so his deafness did not cause him problems but as technology advanced, the teams were equipped with a sound key which left him at a disadvantage.

Then he went to Boston where he got a job at the Western Union company , a place that was considered the center of American science and culture , in this place where he managed to patent and design an electronic voting recorder . From that moment he managed to invent many important devices that were the basis for the economy of his country and for the advancement of science in the world.


Thomas Alva Edison died on October 18, 1931 due to a series of complications caused by his diabetes . He passed away at his home in Glanmont , West Orange , New Jersey when he was 84 years old. To commemorate his death, many companies and cities around the world briefly cut off electricity.


In 1854 he moved with his family to Port Huron , Michigan where he received public education but due to various problems he had at school his mother decided to educate him at home. At the age of 11 he began to show a great interest in science and developed a whole process of self-education and independent learning.

Contributions from Thomas Alva Edison

Among his main contributions is the development of telecommunications because thanks to it the ability to transmit information between two points was improved . With his invention of the telegraph and when he improved the telephone, he managed to make the world today without any type of borders to communicate. Batteries were significantly improved by changing some of their components and modifying the materials with which they were built, improving their performance and duration .

With the contributions of Thomas Alva Edison, it was possible to obtain bulbs that were more durable and at the same time that they were more economically accessible . For him, being able to create a place for electricity to reach the whole world was a quite revolutionary idea which he was able to achieve by creating an underground type electrical system that led to thousands of homes. Finally, he is considered the forerunner of the film camera which he called the Kinetoscope.

Featured inventions

Among the main inventions of Thomas Alva Edison we find the following:

  • The improved stock ticker he called Universal Stock Printer and which is responsible for synchronizing all stock ticker transactions. With this invention he managed to quit his job as a telegrapher to dedicate himself to the invention.
  • He created the quadruplex telegraph for the Western Union company. It had the ability to transmit two signals in two different directions by hoisting the same cable.
  • He invented the phonograph , a method to record sounds. It was based on a series of tin-coated cylinders that had two needles, one of which was used to record sound and the other to reproduce it.
  • The incandescent light bulb that had a carbon filament in its internal part placed in a glass receptacle and that had a capacity of duration of 40 hours.
  • The carbon microphone that was used in the field of telephony and radiophony.
  • The nickel iron which were refillable and were composed of two electrodes were immersed in an alkaline solution.
  • Electric vehicle by means of its nickel iron battery the patient that to use in the development of autonomous vehicles.
  • Kinetoscope , a wooden box that had sheep on which 14 meters of looped film ran on an electric lamp. This invention was considered to be the main precursor to the movie projector.
  • The mimeograph that made it possible to make stencil paper copies.
  • He also invented the first electrical distribution system that exists in the world which could carry hundreds of volts of continuous electricity.
  • He also invented the dictaphone , a device that was used to record audios that later had to be transcribed.

What company did he founded

Thomas Alva Edison founded the company called Edison General Electric which would later merge with the Thomson-Houston Company. In this way, the renowned General Electric company was born .

Physical characteristics

He was short , thin , had deafness and various health problems. His hair was blonde and then gray as he got older.

Thomas Alva Edison personality

He had a series of social problems with respect to his personality because because he is a bit abrupt he had few close friends, in fact he had a hard time interacting with people. He was a persevering man who did not let himself down after a few failures and who always showed his creative thoughts which led him to become a visionary. He will never give up or give up, he was also very creative and that led him to be one of the best inventors of his time. In addition, he had a special one that allowed him to see the big picture of things, in other words he was a visionary man .


It was Samuel and Nancy Edison . His father was a political activist who had sought exile from Canada and his mother was a school teacher who also had a great influence on Edison’s life as a child.


He married in 1871 with Mary Stilwell , who worked for him in one of his businesses. His wife passed away in 1884 due to a brain tumor. Later, he remarried, this time to Mina Miller , who was much younger than him.


Together with his first wife he had three children: Marion , Thomas and William .


The contributions of Thomas Alva Edison were many and changed the history of the world forever. Thanks to his scientific ideas, he managed to build on the development of the Industrial Revolution and with it the well-being and all the living conditions of millions of people in the world were significantly improved, while opening the doors to engineering and technology. modern .

Thomas Alva Edison Quotes

Among the main phrases of Thomas Alva Edison the following are mentioned:

  • I never did anything by chance, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; They came for work.
  • Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very often it is more unfair to youth.
  • People are not remembered for the number of times they fail, but for the number of times they succeed.
  • When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this; You have not done it.
  • Just because something doesn’t happen as you planned doesn’t mean it’s useless.
  • The main function of the body is to accompany the brain.
  • Nature is really wonderful. Only man is truly dirty.


Some of his main recognitions to Thomas Alva Edison were:

  • He was appointed as a Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences .
  • He received the Matteucci Medal from Italy.
  • He was appointed as an Officer of the French Legion of Honor.
  • Commander of the Legion of Honor of France .
  • The Philadelphia City Council awarded him the John Scott Medal.
  • He was awarded the Edward Longstreth Medal by the Franklin Institute.
  • Distinguished Navy Service Medal , awarded by the United States Navy .

He also had several posthumous tributes among which are:

  • His birthday was designated as Inventor’s Day by the United States Congress.
  • He was named as a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame .
  • He was awarded a Grammy Award for technical mention.
  • It has a space on the Walk of Fame for Entrepreneurs .

Presence in popular culture

Today, it is possible to find the story of this incredible scientist in some movies. Some of them are:

  • The young Edison where the biography of his early years is narrated.
  • Edison, the man , in which the biography of the inventor you enter was in his adult life,
  • In the Disney movie Oz the Great and Powerful , his name is mentioned several times.
  • In the movie War of the Currents , he also appears as one of the main characters.


  • Thomas Alva Edison patented a total of more than a thousand inventions during his adult life.
  • He electrocuted an elephant named Topsy to prove that alternating current was dangerous.
  • On his forearm he had a 5-point tattoo.
  • He proposed to his wife marriage using code Morse .

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