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Who's Who?
Thomas Edison


Born 1847 — Died 1931.


Born Ohio, United States.

Also known as:

The Wizard of Menlo Park.

Claim to fame:

Inventor and Developer. He filed over 1,000 patents, almost all involving electricity. He made his money by increasing demand for electricity.

His greatest work in electric light, motion picture projectors, and in recorded sound was not necessarily based on original inventions. He was brilliant at developing and marketing ideas and bringing them to a wide audience.

How many inventors does it take to invent a light bulb?

Edison is probably most famous for the electric light bulb, which had existed in many forms for fifty years before he started work on it. But he developed it into something that was safe, stable and able to be mass-produced. His company, Edison General Electric Company, eventually became part of General Electric, one of the worlds biggest companies making aircraft engines and owning media like NBC, Sega and Universal Studios.

What did he fail to invent?

His most expensive failure was in trying to create a way to extract iron from iron ore. He also tried in vain to use cement to build pianos. However, the cement from his cement company was used to build Yankee Stadium.

What might he have wished he had invented?

  • The iPod
  • Maybe something electric for cracking walnuts
  • An electric Spork
  • The Tickle-Me-Edison doll

Likely to say:

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."

His most famous quotation is:

"Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration."

Unlikely to say:

"My socks smell like one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration."

Favorite ice cream:

Raspberry ripple.

Who would play Edison in a movie?

Lets go with Robin Williams. Edison and Williams are both brilliant at generating ideas and delivering a great performance.

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