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It was February 11,1847 in Milan,Ohio when Thomas Alva Edison was born. He only studied in school for 3 months in Port Huron,Michigan. He began selling newspapers at 12 on the Grand Trunk Railway. By this time,he spent his spare time experimenting with printing presses and with electrical and mechanical apparatus. In 1862,he published a weekly entitled the Grand Trunk Herald which was printed in a freight car that served as his laboratory. Telegraphy was taught to him when he saved a station official's child. While working,he made his first important invention, a telegraphic repeating instrument that made messages be transmitted over another line without the need of an operator.

He was next employed in Boston and spent his time on research. He invented a vote recorder and somewhat completed a stock quotation printer. He earned $40,000 upon selling telegraphic appliances. With this, he established his own lab in 1876. He made an automatic telegraph system that provided faster speed and range of transmission. He also developed the telephone by inventing the carbon telephone transmitter.

He invented the phonograph, where sound could be recorded mechanically on a tin foil cylinder, in 1877. After 2 years, he showed in public his most important invention, the incandescent electric light bulb. In 1882, he installed the world's first large central electric-power station in New York city.

His laboratory was moved in 1887 from Menlo Park to West Grange, New Jersey, where he made a large lab for experimentation and research. He also invented the kinetoscope in 1888, which was the first machine to make motion pictures in a fast succession of viewing. Another one he made was the Edison storage battery. By developing the phonograph and kinetoscope, he made the first talking moving pictures in 1913. The electric pen, mimeograph and microtasimeter were also his discoveries. He built plants which manufactured benzene, carbolic acid and derivatives. He became the president of the U.S. Navy Consulting Board. All in all,he made more than 1,000 inventions. He was more of a technologist than a scientist.

He was appointed as the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France and later became its commander. By 1882, he received the Albert Medal of the Society of Arts in Britain. In 1928, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for the development and application of inventions which revolutionized the civilization of the last century.He died on Oct. 18,1931 in West Grange.