One day in 1882, Thomas Edison flipped a switch that lit up lower Manhattan with incandescent light and changed the way people live ever after. The electric light bulb was only one of thousands of Edison’s inventions, which include the phonograph and the kinetoscope, an early precursor to the movie camera. As a boy, observing a robin catch a worm and then take flight, he fed a playmate a mixture of worms and water to see if she could fly! Here’s an accessible, appealing biography with 100 black-and-white illustrations.
Thomas Edison’s greatest invention? His own fame. At the height of his fame Thomas Alva Edison was hailed as “the Napoleon of invention” and blazed in the public imagination as a virtual demigod. Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion picture cameras, Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels. But as Randall Stross makes clear in this critical biography of the man who is arguably the most globally famous of all Americans, Thomas Edison’s greatest invention may have been his own celebrity. Edison was certainly a technical genius, but Stross excavates the man from layers of myth-making and separates his true achievements from his almost equally colossal failures. How much credit should Edison receive for the various inventions that have popularly been attributed to him—and how many of them resulted from both the inspiration and the perspiration of his rivals and even his own assistants? This bold reassessment of Edison’s life and career answers this and many other important questions while telling the story of how he came upon his most famous inventions as a young man and spent the remainder of his long life trying to conjure similar success. We also meet his partners and competitors, presidents and entertainers, his close friend Henry Ford, the wives who competed with his work for his attention, and the children who tried to thrive in his shadow—all providing a fuller view of Edison’s life and times than has ever been offered before. The Wizard of Menlo Park reveals not only how Edison worked, but how he managed his own fame, becoming the first great celebrity of the modern age.
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According to the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, "Genius is two percent inspiration and ninety-eight percent perspiration". Edison's work ethics are emphasized in his maxim and detailed in The Story of Thomas A. Edison, a biography which traces the life and work of this creative and fascinating, self-educated visionary who defied convention. Thomas Alva Edison, the "Wizard of Menlo Park", instinctively knew what people liked and needed. Best known for inventing the electric light bulb and the phonograph, he was also a pioneer of the motion picture industry. Edison created the kinetoscope, a precursor to the movie camera. He also designed the world's first motion picture studio dubbed the "Black Maria" where he made close to 300 experimental films documenting a vast array of subjects. Thomas Edison, the shy quiet genius who held over a thousand U.S. patents for his inventions, not only contributed significantly to research and technology worldwide, but he revolutionized the entire motion picture industry.