Most Quoted Entrepreneur: Thomas Edison


Thomas Edison: the man who created the modern world.

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, who invented many things. Most people think he invented the electric light bulb, but he really only made it better, to make it last long enough to help people see in the dark. Edison holds the record for the most number of patents: 1093.

With his education deemed complete he began working for the railroad as a newsboy and candy seller at 12, and four years later he became an apprentice telegraph operator. Over the next several years he made slight but clever improvements to telegraph technology without filing any patents. His first "official" invention was a vote recording machine, patented in 1869.

After a brief entrepreneurial partnership with New York electrician Frank Pope, designing a stock ticker and a duplex telegraph (capable of transmitting multiple messages concurrently), he worked as a freelance inventor and consultant for several years, mostly in the telegraph industry. He was a wealthy man after 1874, when millionaire Jay Gould paid the then-staggering sum of $100,000 for rights to Edison’s quadruplex (a machine capable of sending up to four telegraphs concurrently).

He opened his famed laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876. The following year he invented the carbon-button transmitter (carbon microphone, which became a key component for generations of telephones) and showed the prototype for the phonograph, originally called the speaking and singing machine. With financial backing from J. Pierpont Morgan and the Vanderbilt family he launched the Edison Electric Light Company (now General Electric) in 1878, and the Edison Illuminating Company (now Consolidated Edison) in 1880. The following year he demonstrated the first practical incandescent light bulb, which provided illumination for 40 hours. In 1882, Edison’s firm constructed the first commercial power system, serving lower Manhattan.

In 1885 he personally supervised the electrical design and wiring of the Lyceum Theatre in New York, the first stage on Broadway lit entirely by electricity. In 1901 he invented the alkaline storage battery.

Like his friend Henry Ford, Edison was virulently anti-Semitic and blamed Jews for all of the world’s major problems. Remembering his time as a telegraph operator, his first daughter was nicknamed "Dot" and his eldest son was called "Dash." Another of his sons, Charles Edison, was Governor of New Jersey from 1941-44. In adulthood "Dash", Thomas Edison, Jr., sold his name to endorse patent medicines, becoming such an embarrassment to his father that the elder Edison asked his son to stop using the family name, and for a time the younger Edison lived as Thomas Willard.

THOMAS EDISON QUOTES

"Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success."

Thomas A. Edison


"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. "

Thomas A. Edison


"Discontent is the first necessity of progress."

Thomas A. Edison


"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."

Thomas A. Edison


"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Thomas A. Edison


"Great ideas originate in the muscles."

Thomas A. Edison


"Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something."

Thomas A. Edison


"I find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success."

Thomas A. Edison


"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."

Thomas A. Edison


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

Thomas A. Edison


"I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work."


"I start where the last man left off."

Thomas A. Edison


"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

Thomas A. Edison


"It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work."

Thomas A. Edison


"Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless."

Thomas A. Edison


"Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

Thomas A. Edison


"Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged."

Thomas A. Edison


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Thomas A. Edison


"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.."

Thomas A. Edison


"Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. "

Thomas A. Edison


"Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work. "

Thomas A. Edison


"The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil."

Thomas A. Edison


"The body is a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants."

Thomas A. Edison


"The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around."

Thomas A. Edison


"The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense. "

Thomas A. Edison


"The value of an idea lies in the using of it."

Thomas A. Edison


"There is far more opportunity than there is ability."

Thomas A. Edison


"There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking. "

Thomas A. Edison


"There is no substitute for hard work."

Thomas A. Edison


"There’s a way to do it better – find it."

Thomas A. Edison


"They say President Wilson has blundered. Perhaps he has, but I notice he usually blunders forward."

Thomas A. Edison


"To have a great idea, have a lot of them."

Thomas A. Edison


"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. "

Thomas A. Edison


"To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity."

Thomas A. Edison


"Waste is worse than loss. The time is coming when every person who lays claim to ability will keep the question of waste before him constantly. The scope of thrift is limitless."

Thomas A. Edison


"We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything. "

Thomas A. Edison


"What a man’s mind can create, man’s character can control."

Thomas A. Edison


"What you are will show in what you do."

Thomas A. Edison


"When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes."

Thomas A. Edison


"Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have."

Thomas A. Edison