Thomas Alva Edison

By: Travis Naeger


Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio.   He was the son of Samuel and Nancy Edison, born into a family with 6 brothers and sisters.   Their names were Marion, William Pitt, Harriet Ann, Charlile, Samuel and Eliza.   Samuel, Charlile, and Eliza all died in childhood.   Thomas Edison's father, Samuel had many jobs from splitting shingles for roofs to tailoring to keeping a tavern.   Nancy Edison was a former teacher until Thomas decided he didn't like school, so she quit teaching to teach him at home.

Thomas Edison was married to his first wife Mary G. Stillwell in 1871.   They were happily married with three children Marion, Thomas, and William.   Edison called the first two kids Dot and Dash.   Mary Edison died in 1884 of typhoid fever leaving the children with Thomas.   In 1886 he went off to marry Mina Miller and they had three children just like the first marriage.   They were named Madeline, Charles, Theodore.   His second son Charles went off to become governor of New Jersey.

The most influential person in his life was his mom because she believed in him and was always standing behind him.   She even quit her job to teach him at home just because he didn't like going to school.   She always put him first even though she suffered from symptoms of mental illness.  

Thomas Edison was an astonishing inventor, he patented more than 1,000 inventions during his career.   When he was only 21 he invented the telegraphic vote-recording machine.   Then he invented the stock ticker which printed stock market quotes.   Edison spent up to 18 hours everyday working in his shop to make new inventions.   Another important invention was the quadruplex which was an efficient telegraph which could send four messages at a time.   Edison also improved the telephone so that it could operate unlimited distances.   Other inventions were the phonograph, incandescent lamp, electric power distribution systems, and the motion-picture camera.

Thomas Edison died on October 18, 1931, in West Orange, New Jersey at the age of 84.   His mind was really sharp until the day he passed away and he always knew what was going on.   Also he never really stopped trying to create new inventions until the day he died.

Something odd which happened to Edison when he was a boy is that he was trying to get on a train with his hands full of newspapers and the conductor took him by both ears to lift him into the freight car.   This resulted in the beginning of his deafness.   Edison really didn't mind because then he was not bothered by outside noises and he could give his full attention to his work.   Another oddity was that Edison saved the life of John Mackenzies baby's son when he was at the age of 15.   The baby was playing on the railroad tracks when a freight car was coming up the track and Thomas ran over and saved his life.  






Encarta Online

Dictionary of World Biography

Compton's Encyclopedia Deluxe

Edison Family Album