- , EDISON EFFECTThomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was one of the most productive American inventors. He invented many electrical devices and systems that played an important role in the development of modern, near-universally available electrical power distribution systems. Writing about Edison could fill a volume. When he died, the New York Times devoted four and a half pages to his obituary.Edison was born in Milan, Ohio. He set up a laboratory in his father's basement when he was only ten years old. At age twelve he began selling newspapers and candy on trains. After having served as a roving reporter, he became the night operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company. Later he was commissioned to improve the stock ticker at the Gold Exchange. With the money he earned he set up an industrial research laboratory. What resulted from his efforts thereafter showed his genius. He invented the phonograph, the light bulb, and he perfected motionpicture equipment. And he accidentally discovered the principle of the radio vacuum tube that made radio and television possible, which came to be known as the "Edison effect."According to his fans, the Wizard of Menlo Park, as Edison was called, could build anything in his West Orange laboratory from "a lady's watch to a locomotive." Edison has been immortalized by the name of a number of towns, by the great respect and gratitude that people had for him, and, although he's long gone, by the people now enjoying the many benefits that came from his inventive mind.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.