10 Things You Might Not Know About Thomas Edison

1.Thomas Edison’s (1847-1931) full name is Thomas Alva Edison. He went by Alva all throughout his life until the end of his second marriage.

2. Edison received minimal education, only attending public school for twelve weeks. His humble learning experience was common in his day, a time when the average U.S. citizen attended 434 days of school throughout their entire lifetime.

3. After battling scarlet fever as a child, Edison suffered from hearing loss. In light of this, he constantly searched for ways to make his job as a telegrapher easier. Telegraphy required its practitioner to hear clicks and subtle sounds, most of which Edison could not hear. For this reason, he soon developed a printer that transformed electrical signals into letters.

4. He was the first person ever to project a movie. The film was shown at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in 1896.

5. Edison created a makeshift laboratory on a train he used to ride as a paper delivery boy. After a fire erupted during one of his experiments, the conductor hit him on the head and forced him to exit the train car after discovering the severe damage.

Thomas Edison

6. While staying in Boston, he created an electronic voting machine intended to tally political votes in a quick and efficient manner. The Massachusetts legislature denied its use on the floor as they wanted to give their opponents ample time to change their minds.

7. Edison first married a sixteen-year-old named Mary Stilwell. She bore him three children before dying of a suspected brain tumor at the age of twenty-nine. Two years later, at the age of thirty-seven, Edison married eighteen-year-old Mina Miller.

8. Edison had a deep disdain for the corporate, scholarly mathematicians and scientists who developed upon his initial works. He preferred to work in his humble shop with nothing more than a few apprentices.

9. In 1876, the Western Union Telegraph Company encouraged Edison to create a challenger to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, yet he never did.

10. The first words he uttered into his revolutionary phonograph were, “Mary had a little lamb.” This invention would later be used to play music to U.S. troops abroad during World War I.

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