Admittedly we’ve gotten caught up in a number of podcasts and documentaries all about Elizabeth Holmes. If you aren’t familiar, Elizabeth Holmes is a former biotech engineer who was convicted of criminal fraud. Now, there is a lot more to the story, as you can imagine, but we noticed a theme throughout these platforms when they’ve been talking about Holmes and that has been a direct comparison to Thomas Edison. All of this to say, we grew very curious about the man, the myth, the legend, the wizard of Menlo Park; so we put together some of our favorite, most unique findings. Let’s get started!
(image via: history)
Thomas Edison Was a Hustler
When Edison was 12, he began selling newspapers and candies on the Grand Trunk Railroad. Aside from his initial job, he also set up a chemistry lab in the baggage car, and built a printing press for the newspaper he created known as, ‘The Great Trunk Herald’.
Edison Almost Lost His Hearing
12 was a big year for Edison, because not only was he hustling folks on the Grand Trunk Railroad, he also grew very sick from what is believed to have been scarlet fever. Now, his hearing loss has been attributed to a number of things, one being a lasting effect of scarlet fever, some say he was boxed in the ear after starting a fire in the baggage car on the train, and others say he was puled by the ear too hard. Edison didn’t let his lack of hearing affect his work, in fact, he used it to his advantage to pay even closer attention to his experiments and not get distracted.
Edison’s First Patented Invention Went Unused
Edison patented an Electrographic Vote-Recorder in 1869; the idea was that this machine could speed voting up by tallying votes electronically versus representatives shouting yay or nay. Unfortunately, politicians didn’t like this idea because it meant no more filibusters or last-minute deal making so the device went unused.
(image via: britannica)
Failure = Success
Eison had quit his job to fully devote his time to his inventions, and after his Electrographic Vote-Recorder went unused, he vowed to only create inventions that could be used by everyday people with everyday lives.
Creepy Talking Doll, Anyone?
Speaking of inventions for everyday people, one of Edison’s most successful inventions was the phonograph which was capable of recording sounds and playing them back. He went a step farther with this and attempted to make talking toys; however, the big complaint was that the toys were expensive and nobody could really understand what they were saying, so Edison only ended up selling about 500 toys. But as a side-note, we know those toys had to sound creepy as heck.