October 11, 1868 — Thomas Alva Edison patented his first invention today: the electric voice machine. This was the first of 1,093 patents that he was issued during his lifetime (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931).
The American inventor and businessman developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.
Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Image: Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief on a cylinder phonograph for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916)
Words of Wisdom
Be courageous! Whatever setbacks America has encountered, it has always emerged as a stronger and more prosperous nation. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward.