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Thomas Edison Facts and Timeline of Inventions


When was Thomas Edison born? Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who was born February 11, 1847. He developed many devices that greatly influenced every-day life around the world. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large teamwork to the process of invention, and therefore is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Edison is considered one of the most popular inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United KingdomFrance, and Germany. He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.

When did Thomas Edison Die? He died in West Orange on October 18, 1931.

Timeline of Thomas Edison’s Life and Inventions

Below are some of Thomas Edison’s most popular inventions answering the question of “What did Thomas Edison Invent?” and learn some fun facts about his life.

1847: Thomas Alva Edison Born on February 11th at Milan, Ohio.

1854: Edison’s family moves to Port Huron, Michigan.

1857: Set up a chemical laboratory in the cellar of his home.

1862: Printed and published “The Weekly Herald,” the first newspaper ever to be typeset and printed on a moving train.

1868: He invented an automatic vote recorder for legislatures.

1869: Thomas Edison invented several telegraph devices.

1871: Edison made several improvements in stock ticker technology.

1874: He invented the quadruplex telegraph for Western Union company, which transmitted four messages simultaneously.

1875: He invented the electric pen, and worked on various telegraph inventions.

1877: Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and the carbon transmitter.

1879: He invented a direct current generator for incandescent electric lighting and the carbon filament lamp.

1880: In Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison performs the first test of his electric railway.

1881: Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company

1882-1883: He designed and contracted for the first three-wire central station for distributing electric light, power, and heat in Brockton, Massachusetts.

1883: He constructed the first, relatively crude, three-wire central system for electric lighting in a simple wooden structure in Sunbury, Pa.

1886: He invented an improved wax-recording phonograph called the graphophone.

1881 – 1887: Edison invents a system of wireless telegraphy, to and from trains in motion, or between moving trains and railway stations. The new system was installed on the Lehigh Valleys in 1887, and was used there for many years. He invented a wireless system of communication between ships at sea, ships and shore and ships and distant points on land.

1887-1890: He made major improvements on the brown wax and black wax cylinder phonograph. He obtained over eighty related patents, while establishing a very extensive commercial business in the manufacture and sale of phonographs and records, including associated dictating machines, “shaveable” records, and shaving machines.

1891: He made a number of inventions associated with improving electric railways. He Invented and patented the motion picture camera. This mechanism, with its continuous tape-like film, made it possible to take, reproduce, and project motion pictures as seen and heard today.

1892: Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.

1891-1900: One of his most significant inventions of this period was a giant roller machine for breaking large masses of rock and finely crushing them. He invented the Fluoroscope realizing the necessity and value of a practical fluorescent screen for making examinations with X-rays.

1893: Thomas Edison receives two U.S. patents. The first is for a “Cut Out for Incandescent Electric Lamps” and another for a “Stop Device.”

1902: Circuit Court’s decision reversed on March 10 by Court of Appeals, which essentially disallows Edison having a monopoly on motion picture apparatus.

1905: He invented a revolutionary new type of dictating machine, which enabled the dictator to hear repetitions and make paper scale corrections.

1907: He invented the Universal Electric Motor which made it possible to operate dictating machines on all lighting circuits.

1900–1909: He made many important inventions relating to the processes involved in the production of pre-cast buildings.

1900–1910: He invented and perfected the steel alkaline storage battery and made it a commercial success

1910-1914: He invented the diamond point reproducer and the “indestructible” record, thereby commencing a new era in phonographs.

1912: Thomas Edison invented the Kinetophone or talking motion picture.

1913: He invented an important automatic correction device for the dictating machine.

1914: Edison invented the Telescribe, combining the telephone and the dictating phonograph, thus permitting the recording of both sides of a telephone conversation.

1915: He invented the first synthetic form of carbolic acid.

1917: American involvement in World War I begins; Edison creates Army and Navy Model of the Disc Phonograph.

1918: Motion picture studio ceases production in February; studio sold on March 30 to the Lincoln & Parker Film Co.

1926: Edison resigns as president of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., and becomes chairman of the board; his son, Charles takes over as president.

1928: Edison awarded Congressional gold metal for his many contributions.

1929: Edison Portable Disc Phonograph with New Edison Needle Records introduced.

1931: Thomas Edison submits his last patent application. Edison dies in West Orange on October 18.