Born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, Thomas Edison rose from humble beginnings to work as an inventor of major technology. Setting up a lab in Menlo Park, some of the products he developed included the telegraph, phonograph, the first commercially practical incandescent electric light bulb, alkaline storage batteries and Kinetograph (a camera for motion pictures). He died on October 18, 1931, in West Orange, New Jersey.
“Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation….”
“Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward” – Thomas Alva Edison
In his 84 years, Thomas Edison acquired a record number of 1,093 patents (singly or jointly) and was the driving force behind such innovations as the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb and one of the earliest motion picture cameras. He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory. Known as the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” for the New Jersey town where he did some of his best-known work, Edison had become one of the most famous men in the world by the time he was in his 30s. In addition to his talent for invention, Edison was also a successful manufacturer and businessman who was highly skilled at marketing his inventions–and himself–to the public.
In the late 1920s, not long before his death, Thomas Edison reportedly gathered with other scientists in a secret laboratory to record the voices and presence of the dead. They used “speakers, generators, and other experimental equipment,” Modern Mechanix magazine alleged after the fact, in October of 1933.
The magazine article describes Edison’s machine, in which a “tiny pencil of light, coming from a powerful lamp, bored through the darkness and struck the active surface,” which could detect the smallest particle. These particles would be proof of the afterlife, physical bits of human personality left in the atmosphere, waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, after “tense hours” spent watching the delicate instruments, nothing happened; which was, the magazine adds, why no one had heard of this experiment before.