There isn’t much that hasn’t been written about Thomas Edison. But he wasn’t always considered to be a brilliant man. In fact, it was quite the contrary. Early on, at age 7, when the family moved to Michigan from Ohio, he spent 12 weeks in a noisy one-room schoolhouse with 38 other students. His teacher made no secret of his belief that the hyperactive child’s brains were “addled”, or scrambled and that Tom’s forehead was too broad and his head was unusually large for his body. Hearing this, Tom’s devoted mother removed him from school and did her best to teach him at home, on occasion with the help of tutors. It was difficult to appease his curiosity for knowledge, but she was convinced that her son’s unusual behavior and physical appearance was simply a sign of his remarkable intelligence.
Suffering scarlet fever at an early age, and a couple of run-ins with a train conductor, (his science experiment caught one of the railcars on fire) Thomas Edison eventually became totally deaf in his left ear and 80% in his right. This, however, did not deter him from inventing some of the world’s most amazing things. Additionally, he assisted Alexander Graham Bell in the perfecting of long distance telephony, the first reciprocating telephone and the magneto phone. All of this extra-curricular inventing, however, almost got him fired from Western Union, for “not concentrating on his primary responsibilities and doing too much moonlighting”.
Still traveling down the path of invention, Thomas Edison would attempt over 1000 times to perfect the original electric light bulb. Finally settling with carbon filament, he produced the first commercially practical incandescent light. All in all, he obtained 1093 patents for his inventions.
It is noted that in 1929, 2 years prior to Edison’s death, his very close friend, Henry Ford, completed the task of moving Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory to the Greenfield Village museum in Dearborn, Michigan, preserving it for the world to cherish. Though not considered a flawless man with his hearing impairment and lack of formal education, his desire to serve mankind by fulfilling the promise of research and inventions, made him the true force behind shaping modern civilization.
By: Maggie L. Jones
Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. - Thomas Edison
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