Thomas Alva Edison is the most famous inventor in American History. Edison designed, built, and delivered the electrical age. He started a revolution that would refocus technology, change life patterns, and create millions of jobs. He became famous for his scientific inventions, even though he was not a scientist. His real talent was his ability to clearly judge a problem and be persistent in experimenting. He was the master of the trial and error method.
Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He was the last of seven children born to Samuel and Nancy Edison. Edison's early life was spent in Ohio near the nation's busiest grain port. He spent time exploring the canal and played near his father's shingle business.
When Alva was a child, he had scarlet fever. The fever damaged his hearing and delayed his entrance into school. Edison was curious about the world around him and always tried to teach himself through reading and experiments.
Alva spent three years in home schooling. He was taught by his mother. He later returned to school but left at age twelve to get a job and help support his family.
Edison got his first job selling newspapers and snacks to the passengers on the train between Port Huron and Detroit. Edison bought a used printing press in 1862 and published the Grand Trunk Herald for passengers. It was the first newspaper published on a train.
When Edison was fifteen, he was taught Morse code and became a manager of a telegraph office. Edison got the idea for his first invention from working here. His first inventions were the transmitter and receiver for the automatic telegraph. At 21, Edison produced his first major invention, a stock ticker. In 1869, when Edison was twenty-two, he patented his...