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Thomas Edison

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Edison was born in the village of Milan, Ohio, on Feb. 11, 1847, and his family later moved to Port Huron, Mich. In his early life as a kid he played jokes on people and got into trouble. One time he set his father's barn on fire because he wanted to see what fire look like when it burned. His schooling was three months long because he quit when too many people made fun of him. At the age of seven his mother taught him, and he loved to read books. The book Schoool of Natural Philosophy sparked his likeing for science and, soon after he set up his first lab.

At age 12 his father could no longer buy supplies for his lab so he became a train-boy, selling magazines and food on the Grand Trunk Railroad. He spent all he earned on books and supplies for his laboratory.At this time he stoped sleeping and only took cat-naps so he could work on experiments at night in the bagage car. An accident at this time led to a loss of hearing about 50%. Two things which contributed to loss of his hearing was a conductor pulling on his ear and, a conductor clapping his ears for setting the bagage car on fire it was only an accident. Soon after he left this job.

A station agent taught him telegraph code and procedures, and at age 15, Edison became manager of a telegraph office. His first inventions were the transmitter and receiver for the automatic telegraph. At 21, Edison made improvements on the stock ticker for printing stock-exchange quotations. With the $40,000 he was paid for the improvements in tickers, he established real laboratory in Newark, N.J. Deciding to give up manufacturing, he moved the laboratory to Menlo Park, N.J., where he was in charge of groups of employees working on various projects.

In 1878, Edison started work on an electric lamp and looked for things that could be electrically heated to incandescence in a vacuum. At first he used platinum wire in glass bulbs at 10 volts.He realized, however, that independent lamp control would be necessary for home and office use. He then developed a three-wire system with a supply of 220 volts. Each lamp operated at 110 volts, but the higher voltage required a new substance other than that of platinum. Edison conducted an extensive search for another filament material, on Oct. 21, 1879, he showed a lamp using

a carbonized cotton thread that glowed for 40 hours.

Edison made the first large power station on Pearl Street in New York City in 1882; its steam-driven generators of 900 horsepower gave enough power for 7,200 lamps. The success of this station led to the construction of many other power stations. Edison founded The Edison Electric Light Company in 1878, which eventually merged with other companies into the General Electric Company in 1892, one of the largest U.S. manufacturers.It still is around today.

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