Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Thomas Edison
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." That was the motto of one of Ohio's
Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847. At the age of 8, he was
thrown out of school after just three months of class. His only formal education was
provided at home by his mom. He sold newspapers and candy on the railroad at the age of
eleven. By the time he was 16, he had worked his way up to a job as an itinerant telegraph operator.
At age 21 he moved to Boston where he patented his first invention, the electric vote
recorder. Today he's memorialized as the "wizard of Menlo" and the most useful Americans to
ever have lived. His most famous invention is the first electrical lighting system.
Edison once stated, from his New Jersey laboratory, that he could produce a new, small
invention about every ten days and he could produce a big trick twice a year. He
went on to prove his boast. More
than 60 years after his death, Thomas Alva Edison still holds more patents, 1,093
of them to be
exact, more than any other American. And a most interesting side note to this American legend
of ingenuity and perseverance – Thomas Edison developed his entire empire of patents,
inventions, and corporations without a single dollar of federal funding.