One of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Alva Edison produced a number of inventions that changed the world – electric lighting, sound recording, and an early form of moving pictures, among many others. He had little formal schooling, but he was fascinated by science. He worked extremely hard, and would spend days, months, or even years experimenting in order to make something work. He often slept fully clothed on one of his work table, so that he could start work again first thing in the morning.
Menlo Park : In 1876, using the money from his stock “ticker”, Edison built an “invention factory” at Menlo Park, 39 km (24 miles) from New York City. This barn-like two storey building was the world’s first research laboratory, where a staff of scientists helped Edison to develop his ideas into devices that actually worked. In the six years that Edison worked at Menlo Park, he patented more than 400 different inventions.
Research work : At Menlo Park, Edison would come up with rough ideas and sketches. These would be refined, built, and tested by his assistants. They often had to build inventions again and again to find out why they did not work. Edison, when asked about his success, stressed the importance of these setbacks. “I failed my way to success,” he said.
Other inventions : Edison patented 1,093 inventions in his lifetime. He helped make the first successful typewriter, a dictating machine, and an improved telephone mouthpiece.He came close to inventing radio, and predicted the use of atomic power.