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Thomas Edison… manager of teamwork based research… not inventor of light bulb!

Thomas Edison2.jpg              Edison Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, scientist and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed

1922 photo of Thomas Edison         Edison testing first light bulb (illustration)


Edison Born: Feb 11, 1847 [Milan Ohio, USA]   Died: Oct 18, 1931 [West Orange New Jersey, USA (at age 84) ]


      See the source image                


       Edison light bulb patent (1890)                     Edison Dynamo (Electricity Generator)

See the source image                    See the source image

Edison cylinder Phonograph                                            Edison Gramophone


We have read how Thomas Alva Edison should be remembered as the man who invented the incandescent light bulb.

I would say, he should be remembered more as a manager of teamwork based industrial research, putting together teams with many minds to solve a problem, attracting investment capital to fund many teams that worked under his leadership.

Thomas Edison did not have formal education or college degree. As a child, he was primarily home schooled by his mother.

He educated himself through reading! He did attend a formal school for 3-months; did not attend any college.


Thomas Alva Edison should be remembered more as a good manager of a team of inventors; more as a businessman who brought funds to continue research at the Edison (and other) Companies from several investors in America from around 1887 through 1927 (over a period of 40 years) to develop, not just the incandescent light bulb, but also many other electrical machines… such as power generators, sound recorders, motion pictures, and, not but least, mass communication, using electrical gadgets.

According to Wikipedia, Edison was raised in the American Midwest; early in his career, he worked as a telegraph operator, which inspired some of his earliest inventions. In 1876, he established his first laboratory facility in Menlo Park New Jersey, where many of his early inventions were developed. He later established a botanical laboratory in Fort Myers, Florida, in collaboration with businessmen Henry Ford and Harvey S. Firestone. He also established a laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey that featured the world’s first film studio, the Black Maria. He was a prolific inventor (I would say a ‘workaholic’ who rubbed shoulders with many inventors) 

He holds 1,093 US patents in his name, also many patents in other countries in his name.

Edison married twice and fathered six children. He died in 1931 of complications of diabetes.



According to the Edison Innovation Foundation, he operated on four simple principles, taught to him by his loving mother:

  • Never get discouraged if you fail. Learn from it. Keep trying
  • Learn with both your head and hands.
  • Not everything of value in life comes from books- experience the world.
  • Never stop learning. Read the entire panorama of literature.

Inspirational Edison quotes. 

1.”Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

2. “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

3.”There is no substitute for hard work.”

4. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

5. “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

6. “What you are will show in what you do.”

7. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

8. “The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”

9. “Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very frequently is most unjust to youth.”

10. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

11. “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

12. “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

13. “I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”

14. “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

15. “I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”

16. “Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”

17. “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

18. “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

19. “Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of thrift is limitless.”

20. “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”

21. “Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”

22. “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

23. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

24. “If there’s a way to do it better – find it.”

25. “Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have.”

26. “There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever.”

27. “The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”

28. “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

29. “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.”

30. “Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.”

31. “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

32. “One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work. But… I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.”

33. “There is far more opportunity than there is ability.”

34. “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

35. “When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.”

36. “I start where the last man left off.”

37. “Great ideas originate in the muscles.”


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Suresh Rao

Mellowed out and enlightened septuagenarian. Tech savvy. Social writing is just a pastime to kill time. I keep contributing to several developmental projects in the area of engineering education, IT and Healthcare projects launched by my kith and kin. I am too lazy to write a book, 'cause I think my life itself is a book! I am also at
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Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi
26 days ago

That’s a lot of research on Edison. Businessman or an inventor, he did a great job for the entire humanity and his contribution is inspiring for many because, he got all that success even without having had the formal education.

Placeholder Image 90 is an experiment to bring the creative people together on one platform. It is a free platform for creativity. While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of platforms that provide space for expression around the world, the feeling of being a part of fraternity is often lacking. If you have a creative urge, then this is the right place for you. You are welcome here to be one of us.

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