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Thomas Edison

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Thomas Edison

It was on February 11, 1847 that a person was born that forever changed America. Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio to a family that was part Dutch and part British. He lived in Milan with his family until 1854 when his family settled in Port Huron, Michigan. There he attended a public school for three months. These three months would be the only form of public schooling that Edison would have. His mother continued to teach him reading, writing, and arithmetic. She also read him well-known English authors such as Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Around the age of twelve, Edison's hearing started to decline. This decline could have possibly been attributed to scarlet fever, which he contracted. This, however, did not stop him. Edison even looked at his deafness as an asset sometimes. His inability to hear allowed him to concentrate fully on his experiments and inventions.

Edison began working at an early age and continued his work up until his death. He was extremely well known for his focus and determination. In Edison's lifetime, he patented more than 1000 inventions. Some of these patents included the electric light, the phonograph, and the motion-picture camera. These inventions greatly affected the pastime and work habits of people throughout the world. In fact, from 1879 to 1900 is known as the Age of Edison. In 1868 Edison invented a telegraphic vote-recording machine called a ticker. Edison was 21 at the time when he received his first patent on this item. He would continue to improve this item until he received his first financial return of around $40,000 from it, which was worth around $530,000 in 2000. With this money he opened a manufacturing shop to produce the ticker. There he spent up to 18 hours a day working with electrical devices. It was his Menlo Park Laboratory that some of his greatest inventions would come from.

In 1878, Edison improved Alexander Graham Bell's version of the telephone, which could only go several miles, so that speech could clearly be heard from several hundred miles away.



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