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Thomas Edison, Prolific Inventor and “Invention Factory” Founder
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Edison at age 80 in 1927

Edison at age 80 in 1927

Prolific Inventor and “Invention Factory” Founder

Thomas Edison expanded his own talent and capabilities by creating a research and development lab at Menlo Park where he worked with an invention team. The strategy paid off; when Edison died at 84, he had 1,093 patents--the most of any inventor in U. S. history.

With the creation of his Menlo Park, New Jersey, lab in 1876, Edison expanded the 19th-century craft-shop model of invention, pointing towards the corporate R&D labs to come.

“[My lab will produce] a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.”

Within six years of the lab’s founding, Edison, “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” earned more than 400 patents for a steady stream of inventions. They included the phonograph, a carbon telephone transmitter (the microphone in the telephone mouthpiece), the first practical incandescent lightbulb, and the electrical generating and transmitting system to make it commercially feasible and successful.

Next: Did “The Wizard” Do It All on His Own?›

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