‘ Of all my inventions, I liked the phonograph best.…’ - Edison Thomas Edison "... Thomas Edison was more responsible than any one else for creating the modern world we know today.... No one did more to shape the physical character of modern civilization.... Accordingly, he was the most influential figure of the millennium...." The Heroes Of The Age: Electricity And Man
‘The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast.’ Biography • Thomas Edison was born in February 1874, in Ohio,USA. • From an early age, was notorious for his persistent questioning on just ‘How does that work?’ • Home schooled – only had 3 months of formal education! • By 12, he had his own business. • At 14, he contracted scarlet fever, and lost all hearing in his right ear. • He soon entered into the communication business, roaming the country working with telegraphs. • His first invention, the electric vote recorder, was a failure. • He soon moved to New York and there had his big break – improving the way the stock ticker worked. • His company became successful after selling his 2 most famous inventions: the phonograph and the electric light system. ‘I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing.…’
Biography Continued ‘Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.’ • After marrying his first wife, he moved to Menlo Park, where he built his most famous laboratory. • One year after his first wife died, he proposed to the daughter of one of his lab technicians using Morse code. • A year later he bought a new laboratory that was ten times larger than Menlo Park – the largest in the world! • Edison also improved many inventions. • He once worked for 3 days straight – taking only short naps! • He even began the first work on motion pictures. • Edison earned 1,093 patents – the most ever issued to any individual. • He was nicknamed the ‘Wizard’ – not only invented but created worldwide companies to sell them • Became one of the greatest inventors and industrial leaders in history Ruthless Businessman ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ ‘The three things that are most essential to achievement are common sense, hard work and stick-to-it-iv-ness..…’
Edison’s Phonograph The First Ever Recorded Message
Background • This was a combination of the telephone and telegraph. • Edison invented it to fit a need in the market. • Western Union needed a way to record messages sent by telephone, as it was not economical to slow down the messages to allow someone to transcribe the message. • Edison was working on the telegraph repeater and on turning voices into electrical signals when he invented the phonograph. • It was invented in December 24th 1877.
The Phonograph • The phonograph was a diaphragm attached to a heavy stylus. As the diaphragm vibrated, so did the stylus. • This scratched some tin foil paper mounted on a cylinder to make an indentation. • This was then replayed using a second stylus. • It was later improved by using a wax cylinder, and sold commercially. • Edison foresaw future uses of the phonograph, like phonographic books for the blind, music-boxes and toys, reproduction of music, and dictating letters so they did not have to be written.