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Thomas Alva Edison — Fotopedia
Thomas Alva Edison, 1890, Oil on canvas by Abraham Archibald Anderson

Painted during Thomas Alva Edison's visit to Paris for the Universal Exposition of 1889, Abraham A. Anderson's portrait depicts the wealthy entrepreneur at the height of his career. World-renowned for his inventions-including the phonograph, incandescent lamp, and movie camera-Edison, who received numerous honors in Europe, presided over one of the most popular exhibitions at the exposition. Particularly intriguing to audiences was Edison's phonograph, the recent improvement of which Anderson chose to picture. Although Edison patented the device in 1877, earning himself the title of the "Wizard of Menlo Park," eleven years passed before he achieved sufficient clarity of sound to make it commercially viable. Using the word "specie" as a test, Edison labored until it could be properly transmitted. "When that was done," Edison reported, "I knew everything else could be done, which was a fact."

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Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park", he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison's patents, are the impacts of his inventions, because Edison not only invented things, his inventions established major new industries world-wide, notably, electric light and power utilities, sound recording and motion pictures. Edison's inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.


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