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Thomas Edison was a man who influenced America more than anyone else. Some of the inventions he pioneered are still used to this day. He was a man who spent almost his entire life working as a scientist, and receiving more than 1,200 patents in his lifetime. (Anderson pg.7) Thomas Edisonís life was probably twice as productive as a modern day chemist, he was a firm believer of an eight hour work day, eight hours in the morning, and eight in the afternoon. Aside from his amazing history as an adult Edison lived an equally exciting childhood. Thomas Edison was born in Milan Ohio on February 11, 1847. At the time, his father was owner of a successful shingle and lumber company. However with new railroads being built through Milan his father lost customers to the bigger companies which began to open. The Edisonís were forced to move to Port Huron, where he first began his education. When he was only seven years old his teacher, the Reverend G.B. Engle considered Thomas to be a dull student, and was terrible in math. After three months of school his teacher called him "addled," which means confused or mixed up. Thomas stormed home.(minot, pg1) The next day, Nancy Edison brought Thomas back to school to talk to Reverend Engle. He told her that Thomas couldnít learn. His mother became so angry at the strict Reverend that she decided to home-school him.(minot 1) After a while his mother, a former teacher herself, recognized his un usual abilities to reason. She quickly got him interested in History and Classic books. Thomas however was strangely attracted to the subject of science. By the age of ten Thomas Edison had already been experimenting and by now owned a sizable quantity of chemicals. Unfortunately his experiments were often quite expensive and he found it his duty to pay for them. Because he didnít go to school he had plenty of time to earn money by himself. When he was only twelve, he began selling newspapers on the Grand Trunk Railway, he even printed the newspapers himself (Szhlmen, 1). He spent everything he earned on books and chemicals after about one year his mother became so sick of the noises of exploding beakers and the smell of burning flooded the house with smoke that he was no longer allowed to work in the house (Minot). Luckily h e was given permission to move to his lab into the train baggage car. He would be able to experiment during the long five hour layover in Detroit (Minot). Sadly one of chemicals fell off an unstable rack and caught fire. The fire was quickly spotted and only caused minor damage. Tom was then banned from experimenting on the train. Along with chemistry he began to work with telegraphy. When he was fourteen, he and another boy who lived nearby set up a telegraphic connection between their houses. By using the telegrapher so often Tom became equivalent to a second class which could earn a very steady pay. (Vanderbilt, 17). With his knowledge in telegraphy he began working as a full time operator soon after he made his first major invention it was a telegraphic repeating instrument that enabled messages to be transmitted automatically over a second line without the need for an operator. He had invented a machine that does the job he is hired to do. For a while Edison kept this invention secret. He began using it while at work, but was caught asleep with it on. After he was fired he moved to Boston, here he planned to dedicate all of his time to research for new inventions. Soon after he invented an automatic vote counter. Now the presidential votes could be counted in a fraction of the time it used to take. But the government didnít like it, it was too fast. Those who decided not to use it argued that people want time between the time that they vote and the time they hear the results. However, this machine is later used, and the same design is still used today. Since his last invention didnít produce any profit, he was hoping his next invention would help him financially. Edison wandered from Boston to New York City in 1869 close to broke. He convinced an employee at the Gold Indicator Company to let him sleep in his office. While there he studied the Stock Ticker, a telegraph machine that was used to report the price of gold to brokers' offices. A few days later the machine broke down and couldn't be fixed by any of the employees. Edison surprised the manager by repairing it, and he received a job as a Supervisor, getting $300 a month. He continued to study the ticker and made numerous advancements on it. His new ticker would be able to print out fresh stock quotes and values on a thin piece of paper. This made it easier to stay updated and made the business a bit more competitive. Edison needed a good sized pay day and he expected to make around $4,000 for the patent rights for the ticker. But the ticker had such a huge impact on the stock market, and they became so popular that he was able to sell the rights for nearly $40,000. the stock ticker, was a great success. (Clark p. 25). This was his biggest payday ever, after he was given the check he just paced around his lab with amazement. He didnít believe that any bank would honor a check that size.(kanal 2) Rather than spend the money on new supplies, he let it grow in the bank while he made plans to open a new and improved lab in Newark, New Jersey. (Edison bio). He planned on continuing research with telegraphy he began improving his earlier devices which made it possible to send several messages over the same line. This greatly improved the productions of the existing telegraph lines. At the same time he was making improvements on Alexander Graham Bellís phone, he invented a carbon telephone transmitter which improved the clarity and lowered the cost of the existing models. By adding a carbon transmitter, it enabled people to talk, rather than shout into the receiver. On Christmas 1871, when he turned 24, he married Mary Stilwell, age 16, but that hardly affected his working life (Vanderbilt p. 24). He was then asked to improve the telegraph by increasing the maximum number of words able to be sent per minute. He increased it from 40-50 to around 200. In 1872 he received 38 patents. In 1873 he invented a working model of the duplex, and then the quadruplex lines. This invention saved $500,000 for telegraphers. While studying for new paper for the telegraph, Edison came upon paraffin wax paper and introduced it as wrapping paper for candies. Because Edison was not very well studied in the world of business, he was having some problems like most inventors. He therefore moved to a place called Menlo Park, New Jersey, to continue research. There he started his own laboratories so no one could bother him with business problems, and started a new life where
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