Essay Preview: Thomas Edison
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I decided to do my report on Thomas Alva Edison because he brought a lot of things into our world. He invented the light bulb, the alkaline battery, the phonograph, and many other things. Many of our modern electronics origins came from Thomas A. Edison. I thought he was very interesting. That is why I chose him.
Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, and lived with his middle class parents, Samuel Edison (his father) and Nancy Edison (his mother). Surprisingly, the young boy did not even talk until he was four years old.
In 1854, at age seven, Tom and his parents moved to Port Huron, Michigan. There, near the beginning of the year in a noisy schoolhouse with 38 other kids, his teacher lost his patience with Toms behavior and endless questions. So, his mother pulled him out of school and home taught him very well, for she used to be a teacher. But, Toms parents were not educated enough to home teach Tom, for his growing interest in things dealing with physics found his parents stumped. Luckily, his parents had enough money to hire a tutor.
By age twelve, he had persuaded his parents to let him sell snacks and newspaper on the railroad. By age fourteen, he had published his first newspaper called the “Weekly Herald.” At its high point, Tom sold 400 copies per day and was getting $10 per day (which was a lot back then). Because of the newspaper, he now had enough money to focus more on experiments.
Tom now had one lab in the basement of his home and kept things for experiments in his locker on the train. One day, while crossing a bumpy section of the track, the train jerked, letting a chemical from Toms experiment fall on the floor and set fire to the train. The conductor was so mad he hit Tom in the head and fired him. When Tom was 14, he contracted scarlet fever. This and/or being hit in the head made Tom totally deaf in his left ear and almost totally deaf in his right.
His newspaper publishing and selling was over after he was thrown off the train by a railroad supervisor. This incident happened for no reason; Tom had not done anything wrong. Even so, he continued to visit the train station. One day, the stationmasters son happened to be wandering near the track when a train was coming. Tom quickly saved the boy from being run over. In reward for saving his son, James Mackenzie (the stationmaster) taught Tom Morse Code and how to operate the telegraph.
During this time, Thomas Edison invented the automatic repeater. This invention repeated a message automatically to the person you ware sending it to until it was answered. Surprisingly, he never got paid for inventing this, even though it was very popular. After this, in 1868, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Here he invented the vote counter. The vote counter counted votes quickly and electronically. However, the politicians (people who are running for something such as president) did not want it because they wanted more time to persuade people to vote for them.
After this, he moved to New York, New York and was basically starving because he had no money. He walked down the street and begged for a cup of tea from the person at a drink stand. Then he noticed a crowd standing around a broken stock ticker. He made his way through the crowd and saw the owner who was panicking because he needed it for business. Tom fixed it easily. The owner was extremely happy. His company offered Tom a job to fix things for a monthly salary of $300.00. This was twice as much as the best electrician in N.Y.C. Of course, he took the offer.
As always, he used up his free time inventing things. In his free time, he invented a new stock ticker. A company paid $40,000 for all their rights for it! That was a ton of money back then.