Thomas Alva Edison (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: With his successful incandescent electric lighting system, Edison transformed the world of American electrical technology. With his myriad other inventions, including a stock ticker, duplex and quadraplex telegraph, phonograph, telephone transmitter, motion-picture camera, and storage battery, he symbolized the ingenious, prolific, heroic, and professional American inventor in an age of invention, innovation, and industrialization.
Thomas Alva Edison grew up in America’s Midwestern industrial heartland during this country’s transformation from an agrarian to an industrial nation. Born in Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, the seventh and last child of Samuel and Nancy (née Elliot) Edison, Edison was reared in Port Huron, Michigan, near Detroit. He found formal schooling disagreeable, so his mother, a former teacher, tutored young Tom at home. Gifted with a natural inquisitiveness, a love of science and experimentation, and access to the Detroit Free Library, he largely educated himself.
As a teenager, Edison worked, first selling newspapers and candy on the train between Port Huron and Detroit, and later as a telegraph operator in the Midwest. In both jobs he managed to find time to perform various chemical and electrical experiments and to continue his lifetime reading habit. By 1868, he had moved to Boston, where he came under the intellectual influence so strong in that...
(The entire section is 2219 words.)
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