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Picture of Thomas Edison
The Bettmann Archive

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was an American inventor who lived between 1847-1931. He patented 1093 inventions in his life, including the incandescent light bulb, which provided a practical means of electical lighting for every family in the U.S.

Edison also invented the phonograph, a device which records and plays back sound. He used his design for the phonograph to later develop the kinetoscope, a motion picture machine used in moviemaking.

Edison credited hard work for his success, and had experimented with 6000 different materials for the filament in his light bulb before finding one that worked. He used to say that "genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration".


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA