It is difficult to imagine the modern world without the contributions of Thomas Edison. Although Edison’s inventions are well known and his place in history firmly established, familiarity with his work doesn’t lessen the awe inspired by it. While many can lay claim to creative genius, few demonstrate the remarkable breadth of Edison’s interests. Fewer still demonstrate Edison’s business insight. His inventions, coupled with a business vision focused on commercial development, gave rise to three major industries: recording, motion pictures, and electric utilities.
Edison was born on 11 February 1847 in Milan, Ohio, the last of seven children. Like many children during that era, Edison had little formal education. During his early youth his mother taught him at home. As he grew older he became more self-directed in his reading and sought out scientific books and technical journals.