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    Thomas Edison

    مُساهمة  Mr. Mag في السبت نوفمبر 06, 2010 10:31 am

    Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, scientist and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" (now Edison, New Jersey) by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

    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. He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison originated the concept and implementation of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Manhattan Island, New York.


    Early life

    Thomas Edison as a boyThomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel "The Iron Shovel" Edison, Jr. (1804–1896) (born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810–1871). He considered himself to be of Dutch ancestry.[1] 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. Edison 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 homeschooled him.[2] Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union. Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle ear infections. Around the middle of his career Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor when his chemical laboratory in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train in Smiths Creek, Michigan, along with his apparatus and chemicals. 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.[3][4] Edison's family was forced to move to Port Huron, Michigan, when the railroad bypassed Milan in 1854,[5] but his life there was bittersweet. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and he sold vegetables to supplement his income. This began Edison's long streak of entrepreneurial ventures as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still in existence and is one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.[6]



    Telegrapher

    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. Edison's first telegraphy job away from Port Huron was at Stratford Junction, Ontario, on the Grand Trunk Railway.[7] In 1866, at the age of 19, Thomas Edison moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where, as an employee of Western Union, he worked the Associated Press bureau news wire. Edison requested the night shift, which allowed him plenty of time to spend at his two favorite pastimes—reading and experimenting. Eventually, the latter pre-occupation cost him his job. One night in 1867, he was working with a lead-acid battery when he spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor. It ran between the floorboards and onto his boss's desk below. The next morning Edison was fired.[8]


    One of his mentors during those early years was a fellow telegrapher and inventor named Franklin Leonard Pope, who allowed the impoverished youth to live and work in the basement of his Elizabeth, New Jersey home. Some of Edison's earliest inventions were related to telegraphy, including a stock ticker. His first patent was for the electric vote recorder, (U. S. Patent 90,646),[9] which was granted on June 1, 1869.[10]


    Marriages and children


    Mina Edison in 1906On December 25, 1871, Edison married 16-year-old Mary Stilwell, whom he had met two months earlier as she was an employee at one of his shops. They had three children:




    Marion Estelle Edison (1873–1965), nicknamed "Dot"[11]


    Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. (1876–1935), nicknamed "Dash"[12]


    William Leslie Edison (1878–1937) Inventor, graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, 1900. [13]


    Mary Edison died on August 9, 1884, possibly from a brain tumor.[14]




    On February 24, 1886, at the age of thirty nine, Edison married 20-year-old Mina Miller in Akron, Ohio.[15] She was the daughter of inventor Lewis Miller, co-founder of the Chautauqua Institution and a benefactor of Methodist charities. They also had three children:




    Madeleine Edison (1888–1979), who married John Eyre Sloane.[16][17]


    Charles Edison (1890–1969), who took over the company upon his father's death and who later was elected Governor of New Jersey.[18] He also took charge of his father's experimental laboratories in West Orange.


    Theodore Edison (1898–1992), (MIT Physics 1923), had over 80 patents to his credit.


    Mina outlived Thomas Edison, dying on August 24, 1947.[19][20]




    Electric light




    Edison in 1878




    Video clip of Thomas Edison talking about the invention of the light bulb, late 1920sMain article: History of the light bulb


    After many experiments with platinum and other metal filaments, Edison returned to a carbon filament. The first successful test was on October 22, 1879;[25] it lasted 40 hours. Edison continued to improve this design and by November 4, 1879, filed for U.S. patent 223,898 (granted on January 27, 1880) for an electric lamp using "a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wires".[26] Although the patent described several ways of creating the carbon filament including "cotton and linen thread, wood splints, papers coiled in various ways",[26] it was not until several months after the patent was granted that Edison and his team discovered a carbonized bamboo filament that could last over 1,200 hours. The idea of using this particular raw material originated from Edison’s recalling his examination of a few threads from a bamboo fishing pole while relaxing on the shore of Battle Lake in the present-day state of Wyoming, where he and other members of a scientific team had traveled so that they could clearly observe a total eclipse of the sun on July 29, 1878 from the Continental Divide.[27]






    U.S. Patent#223898: Electric-Lamp. Issued January 27, 1880.Edison allegedly bought light bulb U.S. patent 181,613 of Henry Woodward that was issued August 29, 1876 and obtained an exclusive license to Woodward's Canadian patent. These patents covered a carbon rod in a nitrogen filled glass cylinder, and differed substantially from the first commercially practical bulb invented by Edison.[citation needed]




    In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said: "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles."[28]




    George Westinghouse's company bought Philip Diehl's competing induction lamp patent rights (1882) for $25,000, forcing the holders of the Edison patent to charge a more reasonable rate for the use of the Edison patent rights and lowering the price of the electric lamp.[29]




    On October 8, 1883, the U.S. patent office ruled that Edison's patent was based on the work of William Sawyer and was therefore invalid. Litigation continued for nearly six years, until October 6, 1889, when a judge ruled that Edison's electric light improvement claim for "a filament of carbon of high resistance" was valid. To avoid a possible court battle with Joseph Swan, whose British patent had been awarded a year before Edison's, he and Swan formed a joint company called Ediswan to manufacture and market the invention in Britain.




    Mahen Theatre in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic, was the first public building in the world to use Edison's electric lamps, with the installation supervised by Edison's assistant in the invention of the lamp, Francis Jehl.[30]



    Electric power distribution


    Edison patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the invention of the electric lamp. On December 17, 1880, Edison founded the Edison Illuminating Company. The company established the first investor-owned electric utility in 1882 on Pearl Street Station, New York City. It was on September 4, 1882, that Edison switched on his Pearl Street generating station's electrical power distribution system, which provided 110 volts direct current (DC) to 59 customers in lower Manhattan.




    Earlier in the year, in January 1882 he had switched on the first steam generating power station at Holborn Viaduct in London. The DC supply system provided electricity supplies to street lamps and several private dwellings within a short distance of the station. On January 19, 1883, the first standardized incandescent electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, New Jersey.



    The final years


    Edison was active in business right up to the end. Just months before his death in 1931, the Lackawanna Railroad implemented electric trains in suburban service from Hoboken to Gladstone, Montclair and Dover in New Jersey. Transmission was by means of an overhead catenary system, with the entire project under Edison's guidance. To the surprise of many, he was at the throttle of the very first MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, driving the train all the way to Dover. As another tribute to his lasting legacy, the same fleet of cars Edison deployed on the Lackawanna in 1931 served commuters until their retirement in 1984, when some of them were purchased by the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in Lenox, MA. A special plaque commemorating the joint achievement of both the railway and Edison, can be seen today in the waiting room of Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, presently operated by New Jersey Transit.[53]




    Edison was said to have been influenced by a popular fad diet in his last few years; "the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours".[25] He is reported to have believed this diet would restore his health. However, this tale is doubtful. In 1930, the year before Edison died, Mina said in an interview about him that "Correct eating is one of his greatest hobbies." She also said that during one of his periodic "great scientific adventures", Edison would be up at 7:00, have breakfast at 8:00, and be rarely home for lunch or dinner, implying that he continued to have all three.[51]




    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 of complications of diabetes 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. He is buried behind the home.[54][55]

    Seminole Lodge, Edison's winter home in Fort Myers, FloridaMina died in 1947. Edison's last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test tube of air in the inventor's room shortly after his death, as a memento. A plaster death mask was also made.[56]

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