Record of Lights

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, the youngest of seven children. Ironically, Edison did not do well in school. He did not enjoy going to school and would spend most of his time daydreaming and just staring off into space. When he wasn’t daydreaming, he would ask questions regarding how things worked.

It appears that he did this to nearly every adult he met, asking how and why to everything and anything. He did this so frequently in school that his teacher believed him to be too hard to teach and his brains to be “addled”. This attitude from his teacher caused his mother to pull him out of school and home school him.

From an early age Edison suffered hearing loss that was thought to have been brought on by a bout with scarlet fever. Edison did not let this hearing loss slow him down. He continued to study with his mother and was continually curious about the workings of the world around him. As a child Edison loved conducting experiments. He apparently was able to build a working model of a railroad engine.

In 1863–at just fifteen years old–Edison got a job as a telegrapher. This skill would keep him employed for several years, during the Civil War telegraphers were in high demand. Even while working as a telegrapher, Edison would find ways to be creative. He actually lost one job when he was working as a night time telegrapher in Canada.

He had found a way to rig the telegraph to a clock that would send one tap every half hour as required-to let the dispatcher know that he was ready to take a message. Edison had a total of three months formal education in the public schools. Despite this, he continued his studies under the direction of his mother and later would credit her with helping to make him who he was.

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