THE LIFE AND WORKS OF THOMAS EDISON

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cover new england

This is an extract of my article, with small photos. You will find the complete article with full-sized photos in my e-book View America: Mid Atlantic

In the travel series View America, this book describes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, points of interest and tourist attractions.

It is not a traditional travel story, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 120 full-sized photos.

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Young Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. In 1854 the family moved to Michigan. Edison didn't go to school, because he was such a terrible student that his mother, a teacher, preferred to teach him herself... His childhood was one long string of all sorts of jobs. He sold fruit, snacks and newspapers on trains, and even printed his own newspaper, the Grand Trunk Herald, on a moving train. At the age of fifteen he wandered through the country as a "tramp telegrapher", whereby he sent messages over the telegraph. Although by then he was already going deaf, he could still hear the clicking of the telegraph.

After he moved to New York City he improved the stock ticker, which is a machine that indicates stock values. This invention became his breakthrough and by 1870 his company produced stock stickers in Newark, NJ. His next invention was an improvement of the telegraph, which made it possible to send 4 messages simultaneously.

West Orange laboratory

In 1887 he built a new laboratory in West Orange, that was ten times larger than his previous lab. Here Edison took about half of his 1,093 patents. The majority of these, however, concerned the tools that he developed to examine an invention. In 1878 he founded the Edison Electric Light Company. In 1889 he renamed it to Edison General Electric Company, and in 1892 he brought all of his holdings together in the General Electric company.

He was interested in almost everything, and he scrutinized X-rays, batteries, and even made the first talking doll ! West Orange was also the location where he developed one of his best ideas, the movie.

West Orange : Edison Labs 1 West Orange : Edison Labs 2

Edison died on 18 October 1931. Though he was often called a magician and a genius, he also left the world a remarkable and magnificent saying: "Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration"!

Video : Thomas Edison

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