Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

Thomas Alva Edison

1847 On the 11th of February, Thomas was born, one of Samuel Edison’s children, in Milan, Ohio, USA. He was an important American inventor, industrialist and businessman at the end of XIX century. He was known as “The Magician from Menlo Park”, being also the most prolific inventor of time by practical application of scientific discoveries. He was an autodidact but this fact prevented him making inventions regarding electricity (filament bulb), telephony, system of multiple deliver of telegrams, mechanical recording of sound (phonograph) and cinematography (kinetoscope).

1854 Because of financial issues, his parents moved to harbour city called Port Huron, in Michigan, and little Thomas was registered to a private primary school. After two months, schoolmaster refused to teach him because he did not assimilate anything of the information taught in the classroom. Until 12, his mother taught Thomas. He had a lot of knowledge for his age.

1860 He became a telegraph operator.

1868 On the 28th of October he got the first patent for the device which records votes electronically.

1869 He tries his luck in New York and invented the telegraph that prints directly and a device to record mechanistically the Stock Exchange. He got 40.000 dollar for these inventions and used the money to build a workshop-laboratory in Newark neighbourhood.

1872 He invented and experienced duplex telegraph system by which two telegrams are delivered in opposite directions simultaneously.

1873 Edison built at Menlo-Park, near Newark, the USA, “invention factory”, together with a group of specialists.

1877 He invented the phonograph, the first device which records and reproduces sounds.

1878 He enhanced the phone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, and during next years he invented the gramophone.

1879 He contrived the incandescent bulb.

1880 He did the first distribution of electricity installing a power plant on transatlantic liner called “Colombia”, the first electric lighted ship. In the same year he proposed a project for using the electric traction on railroad.

1882 Edison built the first power plant in the world, “Edison Electric Light Company”.

1883 He discovered thermo-electronic emission named Edison effect. This phenomenon concerns to electron emission by heated metal, known as thermo-electronic emission phenomenon. He found out this accidentally: introducing into an incandescent bulb a little metal plate he noticed that a galvanometer from the network indicated the passing of an electric current if the plate was connected to the positive terminal of the power supply and remained at zero if the plate was connected to the negative terminal of the power supply. At that moment Thomas did not considered this important, but he noted it. The phenomenon was studied and improved after that by physicist John Ambrose Fleming, so founding Electronics.

1892 He invented a camera for moving objects and people, which used 35 mm celluloid strip that had the edges perforated. The first attempts, done in the lab, were made with a pace of 15 frames a second but had no satisfactory results at that moment.

1894 He coined the kinetoscope, the first device that could play back moving images, with a frequency of 46 frames a second, but this machine allowed the watching of the movie only by a person. The device used movie strips that were perforated on the edges, where the lit files by transparency could be seen by a lens. The first public “show” took place in a hall on Broadway and then the device was built in series and marketed.

1895 For his merits, American Art and Sciences Academy awarded him with “Rumford Prize” for the activity regarding electricity.

1903 He coined a device for cement manufacturing.

1907 He discovered a process for building concrete houses.

1912 He made the first type of talking cinema by combining cinema with the phonograph.

1914 He improved alkaline battery with plates of iron and nickel introduced in aqueous sodium hydroxide as an electrolyte, invented by German Jungner in 1901.

1915 “Franklin Medal” was given to him for his contribution to the mankind’s wellbeing.

1931 On the 18th of October, great inventor Thomas Alva Edison died.[1]




1 - Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), - accessed on 25.09.2014

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