Posted by: Ron DuBour | May 8, 2015

American Heroes~Thomas Alvin Edison (1847-1931)~by rldubour

Friday!!! time for another write from the book of American Heroes! Educational, Historical with the help of poetry, we look at:


Thomas Alvin Edison (1847-1931)

Was born in Milan, Ohio

Raised in Port Huron, Michigan.

Nancy and Samuel Edison

Parents were of Dutch origin.


Tom sold candy and newspapers on trains

Running from Port Huron to Detroit.

To supplement his income

Sold vegetables he’d exploit.


Station agent J.U.MacKenzie

Was so grateful to Edison

Trained him as a telegraph operator

For saving his three year old son.


Edison’s first big patent

Was in eighteen-sixty-nine.

The electric vote recorder

Many more he would refine.


In eighteen-seventy-seven

Invented the phonograph.

To the public this was magical

They dubbed him on his behalf.


“The Wizard of Menlo Park”

Edison became known by name.

The first industrial research lab

Would bring him world wide fame.


An American inventor

That greatly influenced life.

Holding one-thousand and ninety-three

Patents to this day would be rife.


Not only the United States

Holds patents in several countries.

The United Kingdom, France

And the nation of Germany.


Many tributes have been made

To Thomas Alvin Edison.

A genius with inventions

Will never be outdone.


In nineteen-thirty-one

At home his wife was there.

The last words that he said to her

“It is very beautiful over there.”


AUTHOR NOTES: Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio and was raised in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. (1804–1896) (born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy Matthews Edison nee Elliott (1810–1871). His family was of Dutch origin.In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher the Reverend Engle was overheard calling him “addled.” This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. He recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” His mother then home schooled him. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker’s School of Natural Philosophy. The cause of Edison’s deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections. Edison around the middle of his career attributed the hearing loss to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical lab in a boxcar caught fire. In his later years he modified the story to say the injury occurred when the conductor, in helping him onto a moving train, lifted him by the ears. Edison’s family was forced to move to Port Huron, Michigan when the railroad bypassed Milan in 1854, but his life there was bittersweet. This began Edison’s long streak of entrepreneurial ventures as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents would eventually lead him to found General Electric, which is still a publicly traded company, and 13 other companies. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, as well as vegetables that he sold to supplement his income. Edison became a telegraph operator after he saved three-year-old Jimmie MacKenzie from being struck by a runaway train. Jimmie’s father, station agent J.U. MacKenzie of Mount Clemens, Michigan, was so grateful that he trained Edison as a telegraph operator. Some of his earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. Edison’s first patent was for the electric vote recorder, (U. S. Patent 90,646), which was granted on June 1, 1869. Thomas Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention which first gained him fame was the phonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” Edison’s major innovation was the first industrial research lab, which was built in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was the first institution set up with the specific purpose of producing constant technological innovation and improvement. Edison was legally attributed with most of the inventions produced there, though many employees carried out research and development work under his direction. In 1908, Edison started the Motion Picture Patents Company, which was a conglomerate of nine major film studios (commonly known as the Edison Trust). Thomas Edison was the first honorary fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, which was founded in 1929. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and candles. Thomas Edison died on October 18, 1931, in his home, “Glenmont” in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina. His final words to his wife were “It is very beautiful over there.” Many tributes have been made to Thomas Edison. Several places and objects have been named after him, including the town of Edison, New Jersey. Thomas Edison State College, a nationally-known college for adult learners is in Trenton, New Jersey. There are numerous Edison High Schools around the country. Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph and a long lasting light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

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