Have you heard of Thomas Alva Edison, who invented the light bulb and motion picture camera? Edison’s childhood wasn’t easy. He didn’t speak until he was four, and when he did, he always asked people to explain how things worked. He was always so curious and eager to learn that sometimes he did dangerous things. At the age of six, he was responsible for starting a fire that destroyed family barn. As a punishment, his father whipped him in public. The teachers and schoolmaster often lost patience with him and finally threw him out of school. They considered him stupid, learning-disabled and problematical because his mind was always distracted-unfocused.
Edison’s mother, however, had a different opinion about her son because she believed that Edison was special. She took him out of school and began teaching him herself at home. She exposed him to books of history, English, philosophy, as well as science, at a far higher level than was suitable for his age. Edison learned fast and was particularly interested in science. At eleven, Edison established his own laboratory in the basement of their house.
At the age of twelve, Edison worked at Grand Truck Railway, selling food and newspapers. Yet, he managed to educate himself through reading. He even built a laboratory at the back of the train station. Later, he was hired at Western Union, New York, as an inventor. At the age 29, Edison established the world’s first invention factory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he developed the phonograph and the first light bulb. It was a big invention because from then on, electricity was available for household use. Throughout his life, Edison patented 1093 inventions. He also founded many industrial companies, one of which is General Electric that still exists today.