preview

Thomas Edison Foundations

Better Essays
Thomas Edison: Rewiring the Foundations of America Thomas Alva Edison, one of the participants in The War of Currents, a prosperous businessman, and a prolific inventor. Edison was a persistent, patient, and optimistic individual who created and patented one of the first models of the electric light bulb using the concept of direct current. He was one of America’s most prominent pioneers in the field of electrical technology. His exploration of energy led him to encounter a new and more stable form of lighting, which will lead to the industrialization of America. Born on February 11, 1847, in Milan Ohio, Edison was the last and seventh child of Samuel and Nancy Edison (Love). Thomas Edison grew up in a nearly impecunious household, since his…show more content…
The lack of financial stability caused the Edison family to move to Port Huron, Michigan in 1855. In Port Huron, Edison started to attend school, but was often ridiculed by his teachers, causing his mother to remove him from school and teach Edison herself. While being homeschooled, Edison developed a passion for chemistry. He had built a laboratory in his family’s basement and would often spend his spare money on buying chemicals from a local pharmacy (Jeffrey). Later in 1859, when Edison turned twelve, he got a job on the Grand Trunk Railway selling newspaper and snacks to the passengers. This job granted Edison the access to new cities, which allowed Edison to showcase his entrepreneurial skills. In addition, he also set up a chemistry lab in one of the baggage cars and created The Weekly Herald, which is the first newspaper ever to…show more content…
He opened a new laboratory in Menlo Park in 1876 to continue research on the lightbulb, but later created The Edison Electric Light Company on November 15 to carry out experiment to improve the current electric lightning system and to patent new designs (Kalamazoo Gazette). Edison based his model off of previous light bulb, which all were capable of emitting light, but burned out easily and was impractical for regular usage. Originally, Edison’s light bulb was created with a platinum filament ("Platinum In California”). Platinum had a high resistance to heat and could expand and contrast in sync with the glass bulb, which made it a promising metal to be tested (Leslie). Since platinum was considered a rare and precious metal in the 1800s, Edison had difficulty in financially producing and testing his model ("Edison Come to Grief"). In addition to its cost, platinum had a low electrical resistance, which made it unsuitable for practical use. Edison later resorted to using carbon based filaments instead, which burned for approximately thirteen hours. Continuing to improve his design, he patented a design in 1879 which used carbonized thread and cardboard. By 1880, Edison had demonstrated his lamps using carbonized cardboard to large crowds at Menlo Park Laboratory, resulting in the huge popularity and increase in the use of electric lighting (Conot et
Get Access