Thomas Edison, American inventor

Thomas Edison, American inventor

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), American inventor, aged 24. Despite receiving little formal education, Edison filed over 1000 patents during his life, more than any other inventor. His first commercial success came with a stock ticker for a Wall Street firm. This provided him with the funds to set up his own research company. Here he devised the phonograph (for recording sound) and the light bulb, amongst other inventions. During work on the light bulb he discovered the Edison Effect: a current flows from a hot filament to an electrode, but not the other way around. This formed the basis of the thermionic valve. He was awarded the John Fritz medal. Taken from The Pictorial Treasury of Famous Men and Deeds (1894).

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