Rain Before Rainbows

He Can’t Learn

As a child, Thomas Edison tormented his teachers. He would rarely sit still, was constantly badgering them with questions, could not focus, and seemed to be ignoring their instructions. True, he was hearing-impaired; but his teachers felt he was also slow, probably retarded. After all, he had managed to burn down his family’s barn before he was six. His mother tried several different schools, but the results were always the same. Finally, his mother gave up trying to convince the teachers that her son could learn and decided to educate him at home.

When Edison was older, he got a position working for the railroad. Work did not interfere with his quest for knowledge. He got permission to set up a chemistry lab in a baggage car. A decision that his boss would soon regret after Edison destroyed a telegraph station while experimenting with a battery. The inventor was so focused on his experiments that he would often neglect to do his job, and he was fired the following year after he failed to set a danger signal and caused a train to derail.

Edison lamp

A few years later, out of money and work, he went to New York City to find a job. After several unsuccessful interviews, he was waiting for his last interview when he learned that the company’s telegraphic gold-price indicator for the Gold Exchange had broken down. He offered to fix it and managed to land the job at the same time. This position caused him to invent the Edison Universal Stock Printer, which earned him enough money to set up his own laboratory. Over his lifetime, Edison was granted 1,093 patents for his inventions; among them are the incandescent light bulb, an automatic telegraphy machine, the phonograph, and the motion picture machine. Edison is also known for his perseverance. After one unsuccessful attempt to create a storage battery, he said, “Well, at least we know 8,000 things that don’t work!” Thomas Edison constant inventions made him the perfect choice to become the first person inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame after it was established.


Edison quote

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