EMINENT AND well-renown physicist. Considered by many as one of the
greatest inventors in history. Born in Milan, Ohio. He obtained patents in
such fields as telegraphy, phonography, electric lighting and photography.
In 1874 Edison invented the quadruplex, a revolutionary device that could
transmit four telegraph messages at once over a single wire. Built a
laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey with the windfall he was to receive
for his invention.
In 1878, Edison announced he had built a machine that could talk. In
response, a sceptical Yale professor said the very idea of a 'phonograph'
was ridiculous. A French scientist dismissed it as a trick performed by a
ventriloquist. The device was later demonstrated in Washington D.C. In
1879, he and Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (in Britain) simultaneously invented
similar carbon filament incandescent light bulbs. Edison improved upon
Swan's design and by the end of 1880 had produced a 16-watt light bulb
that would last for 1500 hours. In 1882, he designed the first
hydroelectric plant in Appleton, Wisconsin.
As a boy, Edison had only
three months of formal schooling. He was taught at home by his mother, a
former teacher. He changed the lives of millions of people with such
inventions as the electric light bulb and the phonograph. In his lifetime,
he patented 1,093 inventions.