Thomas Alva Edison

by Caleb from Lincoln

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."

I am going to tell my report on the famous inventor who created the light bulb: Thomas Edison. I will tell you some interesting facts about him.

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio. Nicknamed Al, Edison’s parents were Nancy and Samuel Edison. Milan lost 80 percent of its population because of people shipping goods by train instead of boat, and Milan didn’t have a railroad through it, so the Edisons moved to Port Huron, Michigan in 1854. But when Edison’s family moved, Edison caught scarlet fever. He nearly lost all of his hearing. At age seven, Edison went to school but couldn’t hear very well. Edison, at age nine, started working on science experiments from a book. He left school in 1859, at age twelve, to get a job for his family. Edison’s first job was selling newspapers and snacks to the commuters on the train running between Port Huron and Detroit. When Edison was fifteen, he learned Morse code for telegraphy. He worked with James MacKenzie and became a telegrapher. He continued to pursue new inventions, hoping one would earn him attention. Edison became a night telegrapher at Western Union.

Edison and William Unger started their Newark shop in 1870. Some of Edison’s workers were John Ott, John Kruesi, Sigmund Bergmann, and Charles Batchelor. Edison said he could make the automatic telegraph, designed by George Little, four times faster. He was also interested in creating an automatic relay for fast telegraphy. The automatic telegraph investors signed a contract with Edison. It gave them rights to all of Edison’s improvements in automatic telegraphy. Edison told Marshall Lefferts of the Gold and Stock Company he was already busy developing a new telegraph printer. Lefferts agreed with Edison that Edison would get thirty thousand dollars’ worth of stock if he was successful with his printer. Edison also took a chemistry class at Cooper Union School.

Edison fixed the problems with Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and built a superior telephone transmitter. Edison’s telephones were a success, and all kinds of people bought them. On December 6, 1877, Edison designed a machine that would record, then reproduce the sounds of the human voice. It was called the phonograph. Edison thought of all kinds of ways the phonograph could be used: audio books for blind people, learning foreign languages, etc. One of the first people to ask for a demonstration of the phonograph was President Rutherford B. Hayes.

In 1863, Edison saved the life of a child from a freight train. The child’s father was so grateful, he taught Edison telegraphy. While Edison was looking for a filament to use for his light bulb, he found that a thin strip of cardboard cut into a horseshoe shape, boiled in sugar and alcohol and carbonized actually worked.

I chose Thomas Edison because he created very important inventions that we still use today. The phonograph is helpful because we can watch educational videos and listen to music. Our telephones now are improved with text and Internet, but we can still chat with friends who are a long distance away. The light bulb is the most important invention Edison made, because without it, the world would be pitch black every night. I like Edison because he is a smart genius who created important inventions we still use today. Without Edison, the world wouldn’t be as bright and fun as it is today.

As you can see, Thomas Edison was a very important inventor. His inventions changed the world. I hope you liked my hero project on Thomas Edison.

Page created on 6/3/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/3/2009 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Thomas Alva Edison Homepage
America's Story from the Library of Congress - Meet amazing scientists and inventors, including Thomas Alva Edison.
PBS American Experience: Edison's Miracle of Light - "He harnessed electricity and revolutionized the world."

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