Thomas Edison created the practical incandescent electric light bulb and the phonograph. A savvy businessman, he held more than 1,000 patents for his inventions. Thomas Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, youngest of seven children. His father was an exiled political activist from Canada , while his mother was a school teacher.
In 1876, Edison moved his expanding operations to Menlo Park, New Jersey, and built an independent industrial research facility. That same year, Western Union encouraged him to develop a communication device to compete with Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. He never did. However, in December of 1877, Edison developed a method for recording sound: the phonograph. Though not commercially viable for another decade, the invention brought him worldwide fame. In 1879 Edison was granted a patent for his own improved light bulb.
In 1887, Edison built an industrial research laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, which served as the primary research laboratory for the Edison lighting companies. He perfected the phonograph, and developed the motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery. As the automobile industry began to grow, Edison worked on developing a suitable storage battery that could power an electric car. Edison’s battery for the self-starter on the Model T for friend and admirer Henry Ford was used extensively in the auto industry for decades.
Appearance and Mentions
Murdoch in Toyland (mentioned)
- Edison came to Toronto to check if James Pendrick was using his patents in his film-projector. Just after the screening of Pendrick's sound-type movie, the audience discovered one of Pendrick's investors shot in the head. Pendrick was quick to accuse Edison, but Detective William Murdoch found it doubtful that he would be capable of murder.
- When it was later determined that Pendrick was the intended target but the killer missed due to Pendrick moving his head during the performance, suspicion later fell on Edison, as Murdoch believed that since he studied the film, he would've known the exact moment to shoot, as a Wild West gunshot was part of the film. Edison insisted that he only studied the film a few time but not enough to commit the murder. And even if he wanted to kill Pendrick, it would be in a way no one would suspect. Murdoch later realized that it was Pendrick's assistant, who had been fired previously for copying one of Edison's patents, and had studied the film multiple times, intending to frame Edison for Pendrick's murder. After she was arrested, Edison was cleared of all charges. He offered Pendrick a partnership with men in Hollywood but Pendrick pridefully declined. Upset at his rejection, Edison promised Pendrick that his new "Murdoch Mysteries" film (coined by Crabtree), would never see the light of day.
Excitable Chap (mentioned)
- Prior to attending the Pendrick Symposium, Nikola Tesla had played a prank on Thomas Edison: Tesla had left out technical drawings for a teleportation device where he knew Edison's spies could find them. A whole team and four months wasted by Edison.
- So, at the Symposium, Alexander Graham Bell had to stop a fight between them.
Shock Value (mentioned)