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Thomas Edison Patents

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." That was the motto of one of Ohio's greatest citizens.

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.

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