Thomas Edison



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Thomas Edison

Another industry that grew during the late 1800s was the electric-power industry. By the 1870s, inventors had efficient generators. Generators were machines that produce electric currents. As a result, people grew eager to tap the power of electricity.

The inventor who found many ways to use electricity was Thomas Edison. In 1876, he opened a lab in New Jersey and employed many assistants who were organized into teams to do research. He received more than 1,000 patents as a result of his inventions. Edison would start with an idea for a possible invention. Then he would work hard to make that idea a reality – even if problems arose. He would watch, study, and labor and apply extra work where it is needed until success or failure.

Edison’s most famous invention was practical electric lighting. Other inventors had already created electric lights, but they were too bright and flicker for home use. Edison figured out to make a safe, steady light bulb. He also invented a system to deliver electricity to buildings.



  1. How did Edison explain the process of inventing?

  2. How did Edison change the way of life in America?

  3. What is one main misconception about Edison?

Alexander Graham Bell

The next step in communication after the telegraph was the telephone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell. He was a Scottish immigrant who taught deaf students in Boston. At night, Bell and Thomas Watson tried to invent a device to transmit human speech using electricity.

After years of experiments, Bell succeeded. On day in 1876, he was adjusting the transmitter in the laboratory in his apartment. Watson was in another room with the receiver. The two doors between the rooms were shut. According to Watson’s memoirs, Bell accidentally spilled acid on himself and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” Watson rushed down the hall. He burst into the room, exclaiming that he had heard and understood Bell’s words through the receiver.

Scientists around the world claimed, “Here is the greatest marvel ever achieved in electrical science.”



  1. Why was Bell trying to invent a device like the telephone?

  2. Why was the telephone “the greatest marvel ever achieved in electrical science?”


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