“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
- Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
And Thomas Edison himself certainly had both of these. How else would he have achieved over 1800 patents worldwide? Thomas Alva Edison was someone who you would call a genius. No sensible person would refuse if given the choice to spend an entire day with him. You might say, “So what is so special about Thomas Edison? I would much rather spend a day with a pop star!” Well, read on and find out for yourself.
Thomas Edison was born in Ohio, USA on February 11, 1847. When he was seven, he was expelled from school, because his short-tempered teacher got fed up of his curiosity for learning about how everything worked. The teacher added that Thomas’s brain was “addled”. But his patient mother simply withdrew him from school, and started teaching him at home. She always held the belief that Thomas’s strange outward behaviour was just a sign of his incredible intelligence. Being free from schoolwork, Thomas had time to read various educational books, and by the age of 12, he had read Gibbon's Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Sears' History Of The World, Burton's Anatomy Of Melancholy, the World Book of Science, and lots of other books about Practical Chemistry. You can easily see how intelligent Thomas Edison really was, despite what his teacher had said about him. No wonder he grew up to invent light bulbs, phonographs, carbon telephones, electric lighting systems, incandescent chandeliers, kinetographic cameras, alkaline batteries, fluorescent electric lamps, etc. The list goes on. So what do you think now? Do you still want to go with that pop star or would you rather spend an entire day with Thomas Edison?
What would you do if you really could spend an entire day with Thomas Alva Edison? I would let him give me a tour of his useful and efficient inventions. He could tell me the story of the day he invented the phonograph, and how the song Mary Had a Little Lamb became the first thing to be recorded over it. He could tell me of how he kept on trying to invent the lightbulb despite failure after failure, and how he finally managed to do it on October 21, 1879. And he could also tell me about how each and every one of his major inventions worked. I guess he would be delighted to tell me all these things, since I am very interested in things like this. I would also like to know which one of his inventions Thomas Edison liked the best and why. Nowadays, everyone says it was the phonograph, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was a secret invention that he did not want to reveal to the world, maybe because it was potentially harmful? I think I just might be able to persuade him to tell me all about it. If there would still be time remaining after all this, I would like to give Thomas Edison a few suggestions about what he could try to invent next. Perhaps a supersonic bicycle, or maybe even a teleporter. Who knows what Thomas Edison...