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Thomas Alva Edison: Inventor of Our Past


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• Part 2: Working Teen
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Part 3: Everlasting Success

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Book Review: Edison's Fantastic Phonograph

Part 1: Early Years

One of the most important people ever was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. His name was Thomas Alva Edison, and he, more than any other person, is responsible for the world as we know it today.

An inquisitive child, young Thomas didn’t speak until he was 4. After that, neither his parents nor his teachers could shut him up. He was always asking "Why?" If people didn’t know why, he would ask them, "Why not?" These two questions, more than anything else, help explain why Edison was the brilliant thinker that he was. He always had to know "Why," and he never wanted to hear "Why not?"

When he was 7, Thomas was thrown out of school for not playing nice with other children. Actually, he asked too many questions and didn’t do his homework. His patient mother, Nancy, agreed to teach him at home. His father, Samuel, encouraged him to read famous books by paying him 10 cents for each one he finished reading.

Thomas proved to learn more quickly than his parents had anticipated, however, and they soon introduced him to the town library. At age 11, he had decided to read every book in the library. One of his favorites was the World Dictionary of Science. He also very much enjoyed reading the famous scientist Isaac Newton’s famous book called the Principia. This book was confusing and rambling to all but the highest scientific adult minds, but young Thomas understood it and marveled at Newton’s genius. Reading the Principia inspired young Thomas Edison to be like Newton, a many who delighted in proving things for himself through his own experiments.

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