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Soon after Edison began working on the railroads he became practically deaf. There are several theories on what happened to make the inventor deaf one of the widest spread beliefs is that Edison lost his hearing when a conductor boxed his ears after Edison accidentally set fire to a train car. Edison said that he lost his hearing when a brakeman caught Edison by his ears to stop Edison from falling off the train. Regardless of what happened Edison couldn't hear out of his left ear and was about eighty percent deaf in his right ear.
One day before getting on a train fourteen year old Edison noticed a todler with his back turned to an oncoming train. Tom reacted quickly throwing himself and the toddler off the tracks in the nick of time. The three year olds dad trained Edison to operate a telagraph machine as a reward. By the age of sixteen Edison had mastered this skill and left home. He moved to Boston, however a year and a half after he started working there he was forced to quit because his employer accused him of "not concentrating on his primary responsibilities, and doing to much moonlighting." Edison was moved to New York where he arrived practically broke.
Three weeks after arriving in New York Edison had a job that paid much better than his Boston employer. The story goes that Edison who was broke and on the verge of starving came across a panicing broker. The broker was freaking out because an important stock ticker had broken. Edison tinkering paid off when he quickly fixed the ticker. The broker hired Edison on the spot as the company's repair man for $300.00 a month a very impresive amount in 1869.
A year later Edison became a rich man when a company paid $40,000 for an improved stock ticker. Edison had expected no more than $5,000. After getting his first check for that much money Edison was at a loss for what to do.
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A Lightbulb works by putting putting electric current through a filament the filament then heats up and glows causing light. The tricky part is finding a filament that doesn't burn out. To do that the filament is placed in a vacuum. Until 1879 such a filament hadn't been found, then Edison and his workers at Menlo Park refined the lighbulb.
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# Vanderbilt, Byron. Thomas Edison, Chemist. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society, 1971
# Israel, Paul. Edison A Life of Invention. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998
# Clark, Ronald. Edison the Man Who Made the Future. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1977
# Newman, David. http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/ , 2007
# Beals, Gerald. http://www.thomasedison.com/biog.htm , 1999
# About Inventors. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bledison.htm