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Thomas Alva Edison - Genius

The fascinating story of an inventive genius

By Kevin Poulter

Thomas Alva Edison is given accolades as a genius and ‘the man who made the future’. Certainly much of the technology we use today evolved from his research and products – technology like electric light and even the DVD disc.

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Young Edison experimenting with his phonograph. His partial deafness encouraged him to produce equipment that was loud and clear. His 'headphones' resemble a stethoscope. Colour images of Edison are rare, as the process of colour photography and printing was not common in Edison's time.

Few have left such a footprint on the world as Edison, demonstrated by his inventions, products and millions of ephemera held in museums, libraries and private collections – engravings, photographs, notes, stories and books.

Edison’s modus operandi was simple. So simple, anyone can be inspired to be as successful. All that’s needed is passion, drive, study, endless experiments, comprehensive notes, a team of the best inventors and craftsmen, the best patent lawyers money can buy, almost no sleep (as you work around the clock), plus making and losing your fortune many times.

Edison’s early years shaped his inventiveness and career more than most geniuses. Thomas was born in Milan (Ohio) to a middle-class family in 1847. In just a short time it was apparent he was extremely inquisitive, visiting shipyards for Great Lakes shipping and asking endless questions. If you are at a distance, why could you see a hammer hit a board, before you heard it? Why make the joints so tight? What is pitch made of?

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