8 Facts to Amaze and Inspire On Thomas Edison's Birthday


The inventor and businessman would have been 170 this year.

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1. Fact: Edison has 2,332 patents worldwide.

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2. Fact: Edison's patent record wasn't broken until 2013.

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3. Fact: Edison created his first invention at 22.

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4. Fact: We can thank Edison for the modern movie.

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5. Fact: The first recorded words came from a nursery rhyme.

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6. Fact: Edison's contribution to the lightbulb took 1000 trials.

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7. Fact: Edison had some big fails.

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8. Fact: He loved his work.

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Successful inventor, scientist and businessman, Thomas Edison changed the world. For Feb. 11, what would have been his 170th birthday, let's take a moment to acknowledge his achievements and what we can learn from them.

Related: 10 Optimistic and Inspiring Quotes

Although he’s most recognized for the invention of the light bulb, his successes go much further. From the phonograph to the motion picture camera, without Edison, the world would be a different place. But just like any entrepreneur today, Edison tried and failed many times, learned from his experiences and never gave up. His persistence is a model for all of us.

Take a look at this short slideshow, courtesy of First Utility -- and be amazed by his inventiveness and learn what you can take from his legacy.

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense.” - Edison

Edison did more than invent the phonograph and a more practical electric bulb. He has more than 2,000 patents in his name worldwide. That catalog speaks to his work ethic, inventive mind and constant curiosity. 

Despite advances in technology, it took decades for any one person to catch up to Edison's record number of patents, underscoring once again the incredible feat that Edison had accomplished in the first place. 

Edison got started young -- and invented this device to record votes at just 22. It's a reminder that often, people underestimate their abilities. However, if you trust yourself enough to try, you'll be surprised how much you can achieve.

Related: The 10 Must-Have Ingredients for a Successful Invention

Edison's kinetographic camera led to the motion picture industry we have today. It's proof of the vast impact one person have have on the world. 

Related: The Hard Truth About How Much Your Invention is Really Worth

It seems anticlimatic, but the first recorded words in human history were "Mary had a little lamb." This speaks to the routine nature of Edison's constant experimentation. The verse was far less important to him that finding a solution that worked. 

"Sucess is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." This famous quote by Edison speaks to the way he lived his life. He experimented endlessly. This process led him to some of his greatest discoveries. The light bulb, for instance, wasn't a new invention developed by Edison. Through his work he discovered a way to make the filament in an electric light bulb more practical. This discovery, as we know, had great impact. That process of hard work can have unexpected results. But the process can be long and arduous. 

“I have not failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Edison

Not all Edison's bets paid off. An iron ore separator quickly became unviable when the iron market changed. But he'd go on to invent and tinker, understanding that some fails were part of the process. 

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun."

Edison loved his work. This fueled him through constant experiements, wins and failures. It helped him try new things and explore. This passion is important. If you’re not doing what you love, it becomes difficult to achieve great things. Find what you love, pursue it and have fun.

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