|Born: Feb 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, USA
Died: Oct 18 1931 in West Orange, New Jersey, USA
Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman, born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio, who started his early career as a telegraph operator. He is one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1093 patents in the United States and more in the UK, France and Germany. Inventions associated with those patents have greatly contributed to the development of mass communication. They include the stock ticker, electrical power, mechanical vote recorder, photography and recorded media. His most well known accomplishments are perfecting the lightbulb and developing an electric power distribution system.
Edison’s inventions made him into a pop culture icon. He is sometimes portrayed as an adversary to Nikola Tesla, often in a negative light. This is perhaps due to the fact that while Nikola Tesla was able to make large sums of money from his patents, he died in debt, poverty and obscurity. Edison, on the other hand, founded 14 companies, including Edison General Electric, which then merged with the Thompson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric, which to this day is still one of the biggest companies in any industry.
There are a number of places named after Thomas Edison, including the town of Edison and the Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey. The City Hotel in Sunbury, Pennsylvania became the first building to be lit with Edison’s three-wire system. It was renamed to Hotel Edison in 1922.
The Edison medal was created in 1904 and today is awarded by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) “for a career of meritorious achievement in electrical science, electrical engineering or the electrical arts.”
1887: Matteucci Medal.
1890: elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
1889: John Scott Medal
1899: Edward Longstreth Medal of The Franklin Institute.
1908: Edison received the American Association of Engineering Societies John Fritz Medal.
1915: Franklin Medal of The Franklin Institute
1920: Navy Distinguished Service Medal
1923: Edison Medal (innagural award)
1928: Congressional Gold Medal