Characters

  1. Thomas Alva Edison: He was an American who invented the electric lamp.
  2. Edison’s mother: She was a very kind and patient woman as she taught Edison at home after he was taken out of school.
  3. Edison’s father: He wanted Edison to read as many books as possible.

Introduction

One of the most famous and prolific inventors of all time, Thomas Alva Edison exerted a tremendous influence on modern life, contributing inventions such as the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, as well as improving the telegraph and the telephone. In his 84 years, he acquired an astounding 1,093 patents. Aside from being an inventor, Edison also managed to become a successful manufacturer and businessman, marketing his inventions to the public. A myriad of business liaisons, partnerships, and corporations filled Edison’s life, and legal battles over various patents and corporations were continuous.

Summary

Edison’s childhood

The story starts with the introduction of the protagonist. Thomas Alva Edison was an American who invented the electric lamp. Even when he was a child, he loved doing experiments and often asked questions that never satisfied him until he got the right answer. In this story, we get a glimpse of his childhood.

One day at Albert’s school, the teacher was telling the children a story about the birds. He got up and asked the teacher why can’t a man fly like a bird? The teacher answers that it is because a man has no wings. The young boy thought for a moment and said kites can fly even though it does not have wings. The other boys started laughing while the teacher lost her patience. She thought that Albert was naughty and asked his parents to take him out of school. His parents took him home but they knew that he was not stupid as he was just eight years old when this happened.

Young Edison was taught by her mother after he was taken out of school. She patiently answered all his answers and provided good guidance. Albert observed things very closely and did a lot of experiments, some of them were silly.

Edison and his experiments

One morning he was watching a bird flying down to the ground picking up a few worms in its beak and flying away. This gave young Edison an idea. He thinks that the bird is able to fly because it eats worms.

He desperately wanted to try this experiment on someone. He caught hold of a few worms, beat them into a pulp, and mixed it in water. He offered the mixture to a servant girl saying if she drank if she will be able to fly. She believed him and fell ill drinking the mixture. His mother had warned him to not do such silly experiments.

Once he went to a poultry farm with his mother and asked his mother why the hens were sitting on the eggs. His mother answered that the hens are hatching eggs so he wanted to know why he can’t hatch eggs. The next morning, he sat on a dozen eggs and ruined his shirt by smashing them. He got a good beating from his mother that day.

He failed in all these experiments but he learned that his ideas were wrong. He was very fond of books and read quite a lot as his father gave him twenty-five cents for every book he read. He read widely and kept buying books and set up a small laboratory with the help of his mother.

Edison set up his own railway wagon

After some time, he realized he needed more money for new books and to meet new people and see new places so he took a job on the railway. At first, his parents did not like this idea as he was just twelve but they agreed because he gave them valid reasons for his decision. He became a newspaper boy and travelled to Detroit.

He sold sweets, newspapers, and fruits and earned two dollars on the first day. That night he gave his mother one dollar and promised that he will give her a dollar from every earning. A year or two later he bought an old printing press and set it up on his railway wagon. He edited and printed his paper and made more money to set up a small laboratory in his railway wagon.

When he was fifteen, he met with an accident while he was doing an experiment in his laboratory. The train turned around a corner leading to a sudden jolt and a bit of phosphorus fell on the floor of his carriage and it caught fire. The fire spread and Albert screamed for help the guard came in and together they were able to put out the fire. Albert was dismissed at the next station.

Edison’s invention

For the next five years, he took the job in different cities and learned a lot from experts he met at factories and workshops. During this period, he was out of a job and was staying with a friend who worked in a company there. One day an important machine stopped working suddenly at the company. Edison was there and took a look and repaired it in a short time. The manager of the company gave him a job. Edison paid his debts and improved his laboratory.

In the next six years, Edison made a series of inventions. Edison earned more money and fame. The next year he invented the talking machine known as the gramophone now. He was invited to the white house to show the president his new invention which made him famous all over America. He owed it all to his mother’s help and encouragement and to his own hard work.

In March 1878, he began to work on an electric lamp and promised the people that he will invent electric light in two years when everyone used candles and oil lamps. Scientists laughed at him and said it was impossible. He conducted a lot of experiments that failed but he did not give up hope. I was determined to keep his promise and after one thousand and two hundred experiments he succeeded in making an electric bulb. On New Year’s Day,1880 he and his workers put up an electric light at his laboratory, and on 4th September 1882, for the first time, New York shone in the brightness of electric light.

Conclusion

Edison served his country during the First World War and made forty wartime inventions and was awarded a medal for his service. Edison fell ill at a function hosted by the President of the United States of America. His illness became worse and died on Sunday morning of 18th October 1931. He never wanted to invent anything which will destroy life and just wanted to make people happy. He believed the world had lived in darkness for too long and he wanted to give laughter and light.