When we think about inventors and people who changed the world, one of the first names that come to our mind is Thomas Edison. Thomas Alva Edison was born in the mid-1800s, and he passed away at the age of 84, in the mid-1900s. He was an American businessman and inventor and throughout his life, he proved that with the right mindset, anyone can change the world.
We know him as the mind behind the light bulb, however, there are many other patents that have his name on them. Keep on reading to learn more about the genius of Thomas Edison, his inventions, as well as the other ways that he left a mark for generations to come.
Edison patented more than a thousand inventions
Before we start giving you more information about the light bulb, as well as the other important things that Edison did, let’s first talk about the number of inventions that he had. He is assumed to be one of the people who hold the most patents to their name, and the number of inventions that he had is pretty close to 1100. Before he passed away at the age of 84, Thomas created a record number of inventions.
They varied from inventions connected to the telephone, up to electric lights and power. Some of them involved items that improved the way the phonographs work, others were related to the Telegraph, and there were almost 150 of them that were connected to the batteries.
It is pretty difficult to remember everything that he invented, and for many things that we use even today, we are not even aware that Edison is the person behind them. One thing that we need to remember is that everyone can become an inventor, no matter how mediocre we think we are, who knows maybe we’re going to be the next inventor that he has even more patents than Edison. You can read more about what it takes to become an inventor, and you should remember that if you don’t try, you will never succeed.
A person who failed only once
The genius of Thomas Edison can be explained by one simple thing that he said. When we try and fail something, we tend to focus only on the negative. When we don’t succeed on the first try, every single time that we try to do the same thing again, we count as different failures. Edison was the type of person who did not believe in failing many different times. Once, Edison said that when he tries and does not succeed several different times, he only counts that as one failure. Every other time it is proving in different ways how something does not work.
This is a great way to look at things, and it is a great motivation of trying again and again until something works. This simple quote has motivated millions of people that came after him to learn that just because we haven’t found the right way how to do something it does not mean that we have failed. So, the next time you don’t succeed on the first try, see if you can find different ways to prove that something does not work until you find the right one.
He was not the sole inventor of the light bulb
When we think of the light bulb, we tend to believe that Edison was the sole inventor of it. This is not completely true. A variety of electric lamps were available since the beginning of the 1800s. Rue, a British inventor created the prototype of the bulb that we know today, however, that invention had an extremely low brightness level and an extremely short lifespan. Investing in it, replacing, or fixing these types of light bulbs was commercially not possible. They were pretty expensive to invest in, and since they had really short durability, they did not spike the interest of people.
In the 1880s, Thomas made a change to the already existing patent created by Warren De La Rue, and his version of the bulb was a much cheaper and more long-lasting. In addition to this, Edison’s bulb didn’t require that much electricity to operate properly. This patent was granted at the beginning of 1880, and further down the line, he collaborated with his employees to create electric meters, power systems, as well as light switches that we know and use even today.
So, even though Edison was not the sole inventor of the light bulb as we know it, it is safe to say that he is the father of the bulb as we know and use it today. Thanks to his inventions and patents, this unit became widespread, and it became commercially used all around the globe.
He said things that motivate us to this day
We all know Edison as a person who had a number of patents and inventions, we know him for his businesses, and we even know him as a person who was once the employer of Nikola Tesla. However, his brilliance shined through his words as well.
During his life, he said many things that motivate people even nowadays, and his sole purpose was to help people understand that making mistakes is not a sin. He used his words to say that working more does not mean that you are going to do real work, and at the same time if you work dozens of hours per day does not mean that it will bring you prosperity or happiness. If you have time, you should definitely explore more of his quotes and see if they inspire you as much as they have inspired people who lived in the 1900s as well as people today.
Edison left a mark on everyone, he is going to be forever remembered for his genius mind, brilliance, and his inventions. He was a well-rounded person who did his best to improve the world he lived in and to make a better place for everyone who came after him. The deeper you delve into his life, the more you will want to know, and who knows, maybe he will inspire you to patent your inventions and see if what you have imagined could potentially change the world today.
Controversies and Critiques
While Thomas Edison is celebrated for his remarkable contributions to the world of invention and innovation, his legacy is not without its controversies and critiques. One of the most notable controversies surrounds his strained relationship with the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla. Edison, a proponent of direct current (DC) electricity, and Tesla, an advocate for alternating current (AC), found themselves on opposing sides of the “War of Currents.” Edison, in an attempt to discredit AC, even went as far as publicly electrocuting animals with alternating current to demonstrate its dangers. This rivalry not only overshadowed their mutual accomplishments but also delayed the widespread adoption of AC, which eventually proved to be more efficient for long-distance electrical transmission.
Additionally, Edison’s approach to business practices has also been scrutinized. His aggressive pursuit of patents and litigation against competitors led some to view him as more of a ruthless entrepreneur than a pure inventor. Some critics argue that he exploited his employees and was more focused on profit than scientific innovation. If you want to move forward with an invention of your own you should check here and find a good place to start.
Impact Beyond Inventions
Beyond his numerous inventions, Thomas Edison left a lasting impact on the way businesses approach research and development. In 1876, he established the world’s first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. This lab became a model for future corporate research facilities and marked a shift from the traditional inventor-as-tinkerer model to systematic, team-based invention. Edison’s emphasis on experimentation and the application of scientific principles set a precedent for modern research and development practices.
Furthermore, Edison’s entrepreneurial spirit and ability to transform his inventions into commercially viable products set a standard for inventors to consider not only the technical feasibility but also the marketability of their creations. This emphasis on innovation with practical applications remains a cornerstone of the tech industry today.
While Thomas Edison’s inventions are often associated with American innovation, their impact extended far beyond U.S. borders. The development of the electric power grid, which Edison played a significant role in, revolutionized urbanization and industrialization worldwide. Cities across the globe adopted electric lighting, transforming nighttime urban landscapes and enhancing safety and productivity.
Edison’s phonograph, an early precursor to modern audio recording and playback technology, had a profound influence on the global music industry. It allowed for the mass production and distribution of music, enabling the sharing of cultural and artistic expressions worldwide. Back in the day it was hard to achieve instant success and have a global impact at the same time. Today you can click here and have an instant lift like a jet.
Comparison with Other Inventors
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Thomas Edison’s contributions to the era of innovation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is valuable to compare his approach with that of other notable inventors of his time. For example, Nikola Tesla, often considered Edison’s rival, was known for his groundbreaking work in electrical engineering and AC power systems. While Edison focused on practical applications and commercialization, Tesla was more inclined toward theoretical and visionary ideas.
Alexander Graham Bell, another contemporary inventor, was renowned for inventing the telephone. Unlike Edison, Bell’s work primarily revolved around communication technology rather than electrical systems. His invention had a profound impact on global telecommunications and shaped the way we connect and communicate today.