• Heavy Machine Shop

    Thomas Edison

    National Historical Park New Jersey

For Kids

Thomas Edison holding a lightbulb.

Thomas Edison holding a light bulb.

NPS Photo

Want to learn more about Thomas Edison? Do you need to write a paper about Thomas Edison or one of his inventions? You've come to the right spot! Check out the information about Thomas Edison and his inventions below. Still can't find what you are looking for? You can contact a Park Ranger and ask them your question.

 
Edison with his motion picture projector in the library.

Thomas Edison with his motion picture projector in the library.

NPS Photo Credit

Edison's Inventions

What were Thomas Edison's top three inventions? The question is harder than you might think. Edison earned 1,093 United States patents for his inventions.

How do you make a filament for the light bulb? What machine can make enough electric power to light up all those bulbs? How do you get electric power to all those light bulbs out there? All these questions have to be answered; all these things have to be invented. That is why each of the inventions below took years of hard work. No wonder Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration!"

These three inventions are considered Edison's greatest: the electric light system, the phonograph and motion pictures. If Edison had only invented one of these, he would have made an important contribution to the world. But even these top three inventions were not enough for him. Other patents included the alkaline storage battery, improvements to the telegraph, the telephone and the stock ticker, Portland cement and even a substitute for rubber. At Edison's three laboratories (Newark, Menlo Park and West Orange), his "muckers" worked night and day on his many ideas.

 

Timeline of Thomas Edison.

A brief biography of Thomas Edison.

An overview of Edison and his era.

A few of the gifted men who turned Edison's ideas into realities.

Edison's Patents - Check out the Thomas Edison Paper's Project website at Rutgers University for information on Edison's patents.

Did You Know?

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was not a very good student. When he was 7, he left school after only three months. His mother, however, home schooled him, and he taught himself mostly everything he knew about science and technology.