Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, the U.S.A. He was the son of a man who had tried his hand at every kind of occupation without succeeding in any. As a boy, Edison was weak in health and he used to ask a lot of questions. This attitude got him expelled from school with the remark from his teacher that his brain was “addled” Thereafter he was taught by his mother, who was a school teacher.
At the age of 10, Edison set up his first laboratory in the basement of his home. When he needed more money to buy supplies for his experiments he went to sell newspapers and sweets in the trains.
Early in 1861, the civil war broke out between North and South, and people were impatient to have news of the battles. Edition planned to print a newspaper himself.
He borrowed some paper and set up his press in the train. He named it Grand Trunk Herald. It was the first newspaper ever to be published and distributed from a railway train. During this period, he set up a simple laboratory on the train, and took advantage of all his free time during his journeys to read, carry out experiments and make notes.
Edison met with an accident which made him deaf. He got down from the train at a station to sell papers and did not notice the train had started off again. He ran after it, and a railwayman leaned out and tried to pull him in. the boy had his hands full of newspapers and the only thing the man could do was to drag him in by the ears. A little later, Edison noticed that his hearing was getting weaker. This was the beginning of his lifelong deafness.
In 1876, he set up his laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey, wherein 1878, he invented the incandescent electric bulb. On the New year day, the whole street was decoration was seen by correspondents from all over the world. While working on the electric bulb, he made other discoveries too.
In 1887 he moved to a larger laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey from where an incessant stream of new inventions originated. In 1877, he produced his most celebrated inventions. This was the gramophone or phonograph. In 1889, he built a motion picture camera.
In 1912, he would have been awarded the Nobel Prize with his former associate Tesla for their work in electrical generation and supply, but such was the animosity between them that Tesla refused to have his name linked with him. So, neither won the award.
In the last decade of his life, Edison became famous as a wizard of the technical age. He remained busy in inventing new things until his last breath in October 1931.