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Thomas Alva Edison

Male 1847 - 1931  (84 years)    Has 92 ancestors and 10 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name Thomas Alva Edison 
    Relationshipwith Francis Fox
    Birth 11 Feb 1847  Milano, , Lombardia, Italia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death 18 Oct 1931 
    Siblings 6 Siblings 
    Person ID I184380  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 17 Sep 2001 

    Father Samuel Ogden Edison,   b. 16 Aug 1804, Marshalltown, Anapolis Co, Nova Scotia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 26 Feb 1896, Norwalk, Huron Co, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 91 years) 
    Mother Nancy Elliott,   b. 4 Jan 1810, Chenango Co, New York Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 9 Apr 1871, Port Huron, St Clair Co, Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 61 years) 
    Marriage 12 Sep 1828  Vienna, Elgin Co, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F74318  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Mary Stillwell,   b. 6 Sep 1855, Newark, New Jersey Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 9 Aug 1884, Menlo Park Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 28 years) 
    Marriage 25 Dec 1871 
     1. Marion Estelle Edison,   b. 18 Feb 1873, Newark Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 16 Apr 1965 (Age 92 years)
     2. Thomas Alva Edison, Jr.,   b. 10 Jan 1876, Newark Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 25 Aug 1935, Springfield, MA Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 59 years)
     3. William Leslie Edison,   b. 28 Oct 1878, Menlo Park Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 10 Aug 1937 (Age 58 years)
    Last Modified 4 Jan 2001 
    Family ID F74322  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Mina Miller,   b. 6 Jul 1865, Akron, Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 24 Aug 1947 (Age 82 years) 
    Marriage 24 Feb 1886  Akron, Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Governor Charles Edison,   b. 3 Aug 1890   d. 31 Jul 1969 (Age 78 years)
    +2. Madeleine Edison,   b. 31 May 1888   d. 14 Feb 1979 (Age 90 years)
     3. Theodore Miller Edison,   b. 10 Jul 1898   d. 24 Nov 1992 (Age 94 years)
    Last Modified 4 Jan 2001 
    Family ID F74319  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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    Link to Google MapsBirth - 11 Feb 1847 - Milano, , Lombardia, Italia Link to Google Earth
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  • Notes 
    • 21 November 1871 Edison buys a house in Newark.
      1874 August Charles Pitt Edison works for a while at his uncle's laboratory in Newark.
      early November Edison is forced to sell his house and the family moves into an apartment in Newark.
      1875 March Charles Pitt Edison returns to work in his uncle's laboratory.
      29 December Edison purchases property in Menlo Park, New Jersey, for a new laboratory and home.
      1876 Winter Edison's father oversees construction of the laboratory in Menlo Park.
      c. 26-28 March Edison family moves to Menlo Park.
      1886 January Edison purchases Glenmont, his home in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey.
      1901 May Madeleine Edison threatened by kidnappers.
      1906 26 March Edison buys a farm in Burlington, New Jersey, for his son Thomas Alva Edison, Jr., who has recently been released from a sanitarium for the treatment of alcoholism.
      1909 February Edison agrees to loan his son William Leslie Edison $150 to move to a house in the country.
      1911 August Edison tours Europe with his wife, Mina, and their children, Charles, Madeleine, and Theodore.
      1927 Charles Edison becomes president of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
      1859-1862 Works as a newsboy and candy butcher on the trains of the Grand Trunk Railroad.
      1863-1867Works as an operator in telegraph offices in various Midwest cities and conducts experiments with telegraph apparatus.
      1868 Works as an operator at the Western Union Telegraph Company's main office in Boston and receives support from local entrepreneurs for his electrical inventions.
      13 October Executes the patent application for his electric vote recorder, for which he later is issued his first patent.
      1869 Devotes himself full time to inventing and to pursuing various telegraph enterprises.
      Apr-May Moves to New York City.
      1870 Establishes two telegraph manufacturing shops in Newark, New Jersey, and works on inventions for printing and automatic telegraphy.
      1872 Fall Begins intensive work on duplex telegraphy.
      1873 May-June Tests his automatic telegraph system in England.
      1874 10 April Discovers the electromotograph principle.
      Summer Invents the quadruplex telegraph, ownership of which is disputed by Western Union and Jay Gould's Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company.
      1875 30 June Conceives electric pen and autographic press copying system.
      Summer Ends his involvement in telegraph manufacturing to devote full time to inventing.
      Fall Experiments with acoustic telegraphy and conducts "etheric force" experiments.
      1876 January-March Has the Menlo Park laboratory constructed under the supervision of his father, Samuel.
      1877 Winter Begins experiments with carbon telephone transmitters, which he develops into a commercial device over the next year.
      18 July Conceives phonograph.
      7 December Demonstrates his cylinder phonograph at Scientific American office in New York.
      1878 Winter-Spring Gains international renown for inventing the phonograph.
      July Accompanies a scientific expedition to Rawlins, Wyoming, in order to observe the eclipse of July 29 and measure the heat of the sun's corona with his recently invented tasimeter, and then takes a western vacation.
      27 August Begins electric lighting experiments.
      15 November The Edison Electric Light Company is incorporated.
      1879 2 January Begins construction of his first generator.
      Spring Develops his standard bipolar dynamo design. Begins a search for plentiful supplies of platinum in the mining regions of Canada and in the western and southern United States.
      22 October Conducts the first successful experiment with a high-resistance carbon filament.
      1 November Executes his first patent application for a high-resistance carbon filament (U.S. Pat. 223,898).
      1880 25 March Experiments with a process of magnetic ore separation.
      late April Installs the first commercial marine incandescent electric lighting plant aboard Henry Villard's SS Columbia.
      Spring Builds experimental electric railway at Menlo Park.
      1 October Begins the commercial production of electric lamps at the Edison Lamp Works in Menlo Park.
      1881 c. 10 March Moves his business operations to 65 5th Avenue in New York City, where he daily advises the managers of the various Edison light companies.
      Winter Organizes the Edison Electric Lamp Company, the Edison Machine Works, and other companies to manufacture lamps, generators, conductors, and other components for his electric lighting system.
      17 May-25 June Executes twenty-three patent applications on electric lighting.
      September Edison's ore separator is used by the Edison Ore Milling Company to separate iron ore from black sand at Quonocontaug, Rhode Island.
      1882 12 January Edison's central station on Holborn Viaduct in London begins operation.
      Spring-Summer Executes fifty-three patent applications covering electric lighting, electric railways, and secondary batteries.
      4 September Opens the Pearl Street central station in the Wall Street district of New York.
      4 October-28 November Executes thirty-four patent applications covering electric lighting and electric railways.
      November Closes his Menlo Park laboratory and establishes a laboratory on the top floor of the Bergmann and Company factory in New York City.
      1883 c. 1 May Forms the Thomas A. Edison Construction Department and spends the next year promoting and building central stations in the United States.
      1884 14 May Is elected a vice president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, an organization of which he is a founding member.
      October Reorganizes the Edison Electric Light Company.
      1885 Winter-Spring Executes seventeen patent applications covering telegraph and telephone inventions.
      June-July Spends several weeks at Woodside, Ezra T. Gilliland's beach house near Boston, where he sees Mina Miller and keeps a personal diary.
      1886 23 June Announces that the Edison Machine Works will relocate to the former site of the McQueen Locomotive Shop in Schenectady, New York.
      October Begins experiments on an improved phonograph.
      November Moves his laboratory to the Edison Lamp Works in East Newark (Harrison), New Jersey.
      1887 Winter Purchases fourteen acres of land in West Orange, New Jersey, near his home in Llewellyn Park; plans to construct a new laboratory.
      January-April Conducts experiments on squirted cellulose filaments for incandescent lamps at the Edison Lamp Works; continues this work at the West Orange laboratory.
      February-April Recuperates from pleurisy at his winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.
      3 May Hires H. Hudson Holly as the architect for the West Orange laboratory; Holly is dismissed at the end of July and replaced by Joseph Taft.
      Summer Rents a factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey, for phonograph manufacture.
      Summer-Fall Charles Batchelor oversees construction and outfitting of the West Orange laboratory, which opens in early December.
      October Organizes the Edison Phonograph Company, appoints Ezra T. Gilliland as general sales agent, and reaches agreement with George E. Gouraud for the international marketing of the phonograph.
      Reaches agreement with Lowell Briggs and William W. Jacques for the rights to manufacture and market dolls with Edison phonographs.
      15-20 November Makes extensive notes on experiments to be conducted at his new laboratory in West Orange, mostly involving electric lighting research, which is the primary work of the laboratory in its first years.
      1888 17 January Executes a patent application (U.S. Pat. 484,582) for the electroplating process of duplicating phonograph cylinder records. Experimentation continues throughout the next decade.
      January Jonas W. Aylsworth begins experiments on the composition of phonograph cylinders. These experiments continue until his resignation in January 1891.
      January-February Renews the search for bamboo, grass, and other fibers to be used in the incandescent lamp filament; sends Frank McGowan and Charles F. Hanington to South America and James Ricalton to Asia.
      3 May Organizes the Edison Phonograph Works and begins construction of a factory in West Orange. Small-scale production of phonographs begins in the Fall.
      May-October Executes twenty-two patent applications for phonographs and cylinder records.
      June Engages in an intensive campaign, including several overnight efforts, to produce the "perfected" cylinder phonograph.
      8 October Executes the first of four major patent caveats for the kinetoscope and kinetograph and puts William Dickson in charge of experiments.
      27 December Organizes the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works to engage in the large-scale magnetic separation of iron ore in Sussex County, New Jersey.
      1889 10 January-1 February Executes twelve patent applications for improvements in phonographs and cylinder records.
      January Files suit against his former associates John C. Tomlinson and Ezra T. Gilliland for alleged fraud in negotiations with Jesse Lippincott and the North American Phonograph Company.
      March-July Constructs an ore milling plant at Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.
      24 April The Edison General Electric Company is organized.
      23 July Testifies regarding electric power and electrocution in William Kemmler v. Charles F. Durston.
      August-October Attends Paris Exposition and tours Europe with Mina Miller Edison
      December Organizes the Edison Manufacturing Company to manufacture and market the Edison-Lalande battery.
      1890 February The Automatic Phonograph Exhibition Company is organized to market the coin-in-the-slot phonograph.
      30 April Closes the experimental ore milling plant at Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.
      May The Edison Phonograph Works suspends the manufacture of talking dolls.
      August Purchases property in Silver Lake, New Jersey (now the Bloomfield-Belleville area); locates the plant of the Edison Manufacturing Company on the site.
      Summer Completes construction of his iron concentration plant in Ogden (later Edison), New Jersey. Full-scale operations begin the following April.
      October Reaches agreement with the Edison General Electric Company for support of his research on electric light and power.
      1891 20 May Demonstrates the kinetoscope at the West Orange laboratory for the Federation of Women's Clubs.
      June-December Spends most of his time at the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works plant in Ogden.
      14 July The primacy of Edison's lamp patents is upheld in the decision of Edison Electric Light Co. v. U.S. Electric Lighting Company.
      24 August Executes patent applications (U. S. Pats. 493,426 and 589,168) for the kinetoscope and kinetograph.
      1892 15 April The General Electric Company is organized.
      14 November Closes the Ogden plant for repairs and modifications, the first of many such shutdowns.
      1893 February Completes construction of the Black Maria motion picture studio, which becomes fully operational in May.
      August-September Joins members of the Miller family for a visit to Chicago during the Columbian Exposition.
      29 December Executes a patent application (U. S. Pat. 567,187) for the "Giant" ore crushing rolls.
      1894 The bank panic of 1893 and the ensuing depression result in the discharging of numerous "old hands" and the suspension of many activities at the laboratory. For the next four years spends most of his time at the Ogden plant, which he shut downs repeatedly for repairs and design modifications. Sell blocks of his General Electric stock and railroad bonds to finance these activities.
      January William K. L. Dickson produces "Edison Kinetographic Record of a Sneeze," the first motion picture to receive a copyright. Dickson and Theodore Heise go on to copyright approximately seventy-five motion pictures in 1894.
      14 April The first commercial viewing of the peephole kinetoscope is held by the Holland Brothers at 1155 Broadway, New York City.
      April John F. Randolph succeeds Alfred O. Tate as Edison's private secretary.
      21 August The North American Phonograph Company enters receivership.
      1895 Summer Experiments in the mass production of iron ore briquettes suitable for shipping and use in blast furnaces; development continues through early 1897.
      October Resumes work on squirted cellulose lamp filaments under contract with General Electric Company.
      1896 27 January Organizes the National Phonograph Company.
      January-March Experiments with x-rays and sends a completed x-ray fluoroscope to Columbia University physicist Michael Pupin.
      March-July Closes the Ogden plant for modifications.
      23 April The Edison Vitascope, a motion picture projector invented by Thomas Armat, has its commercial debut at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City.
      April Tests his gold ore separation process on placer samples sent from the Ortiz Mine in Dolores, New Mexico.
      November Introduces the Edison Home Phonograph, an inexpensive, spring motor driven phonograph.
      1897 16 July Executes a patent application (U. S. Pat. 644,746) for the three-high crushing rolls in his ore milling process.
      Summer The Ogden plant is again closed for repairs and modifications.
      30 November Edison's own motion picture projector, the projectoscope or projecting kinetoscope, has its first commercial exhibition.
      December Begins a series of lawsuits alleging patent infringement by his competitors in the motion picture industry.
      1898 20 December Shuts down his ore milling plant at Ogden; plans to repair the machinery, build additional employee housing, and start up the mill in the Spring.
      1899 January Designs a long rotary kiln for making cement.
      17 February Edison's father-in-law, Lewis Miller, dies. Edison attends his funeral in Akron, Ohio.
      15 April Organizes the Edison Portland Cement Company.
      Summer Begins experimental work on storage batteries.
      1900 March Vacations with his family in Fort Myers, Florida, his first vacation at his winter home in several years. Thereafter, takes annual winter vacations in Fort Myers.
      June 16 Executes a patent application on a method of mass producing cylinder phonograph records.
      Summer Edison's experimental mill for the concentration of gold ore begins testing at the Ortiz Mine in Dolores, New Mexico but is shut down in November due to poor quality ore.
      1901 Winter Supervises construction of the Edison Portland Cement Company works at Stewartsville, New Jersey, using some equipment from the nearby New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works.
      14 May Receives threatening letters demanding $25,000 in gold, "or we will kidnap your child." Hires Pinkerton detectives and the plot is foiled.
      27 May Organizes the Edison Storage Battery Company.
      1902 January Introduces "moulded" records commercially.
      May Successfully conducts the first road tests of electric vehicles equipped with Edison storage batteries.
      August Begins commercial production of cement at his mill in Stewartsville.
      1903 January Initiates production of his "E" type alkaline storage battery.
      2 March An explosion at the Edison Portland Cement Company's coal grinding plant results in the death of eight workers, including chief engineer Edward A. Darling, and the shut-down of the plant for redesign.
      8 June Signs an agreement with his son Thomas A. Edison, Jr., whereby the younger Edison will not use his own name in any business enterprise in exchange for a weekly allowance of $35.
      December The Edison Manufacturing Company releases its hit film The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter.
      30 September Authorizes longtime associate Sigmund Bergmann to organize a corporation for the manufacture of storage batteries in Germany; nominally becomes a director of the Deutsche Edison Akkumulatoren Gesellschaft in April 1905.
      2 October Laboratory employee Clarence M. Dally dies as the result of radiation burns sustained during x-ray experiments.
      1 November Suspends the manufacture of his alkaline storage battery in order to investigate the loss of electrical capacity and leaking cans.
      1905 23 January Undergoes an operation to remove or drain a mastoidal abscess.
      Winter Forgoes his annual vacation in Florida because of work on the storage battery.
      Summer Begins a series of experiments using perforated tubes holding nickel flake as the positive electrode in his storage batteries. Tests continue for a decade.
      1906 25 January Wins a thirty-year lawsuit against Jay Gould's Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company for infringement of his automatic telegraph patents; receives only one dollar in damages. The decision is reversed on appeal by both parties in February 1911.
      October Conceives and announces a plan to develop molds whereby an entire house can be made of poured concrete.
      11 February Announces his intention to "give up the commercial end and work in my laboratory as a scientist."
      5 March The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finds for Edison in Thomas A. Edison v. American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, affirming the validity of his reissued camera patent and increasing his control of American film production.
      8 January Signs a cross-licensing agreement with the North American Portland Cement Company for mutual use of important cement patents.
      17 January The Edison Business Phonograph Company is incorporated.
      17 February Private secretary John F. Randolph dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound; he is succeeded by Harry F. Miller.
      25 February Enters New York hospital and has two additional operations on his left ear.
      1 October Introduces Amberol cylinder records. With approximately 200 threads each, these records increase playing time from two to four minutes.
      December Agreement achieved among motion picture manufacturers results in the organization of the Motion Picture Patents Company.
      1909 April Receives a gold medal from the Royal Academy of Sciences in Sweden for his inventions in connection with the phonograph and the incandescent light.
      June Dictates personal reminiscences to Thomas C. Martin in order to provide additional material for Edison: His Life and Inventions (1910), the authorized biography prepared by Martin, Frank L. Dyer, and William H. Meadowcroft.
      1 July Begins commercial manufacture of his new "A" type alkaline storage batteries.
      December Begins to develop a disc record and phonograph.
      1910 1 January Edison's former associate and longtime friend Charles Batchelor dies.
      January Plans to establish an Engineering Department at the West Orange laboratory in order to centralize research and development for the numerous Edison companies.
      May Exhibits a scale model of his poured concrete house at the Real Estate and Ideal Homes Exhibit at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Continues to receive international attention for his idea.
      26 August Demonstrates his kinetophone or "speaking pictures" to members of the press at the West Orange laboratory.
      17 Septemer Two electric vehicles equipped with Edison storage batteries leave New York on a promotional "ideal tour," ending with an ascent of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
      October Receives national attention after making statements to the press revealing his unorthodox religious beliefs, including his skepticism regarding the existence of an immortal soul.
      1911 28 February Organizes Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
      August Tours Europe with his wife, Mina, and their children, Charles, Madeleine, and Theodore.
      11 November Makes Miller Reese Hutchison his personal representative at the West Orange laboratory.
      1912 Winter Introduces the Home Projecting Kinetoscope.
      Fall Introduces Blue Amberol cylinder records. Introduces the Diamond Disc phonograph.
      1913 May Is named "most useful" man in America by a survey of Independent magazine readers.
      1914 Summer Establishes a plant in Silver Lake, New Jersey, for the manufacture of carbolic acid and other chemicals. Later erects other plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.
      9 December Watches as fire destroys the Edison Phonograph Works.
      1915 4 March Makes Steven Mambert efficiency engineer of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
      1915 Fall Becomes head of the newly formed Naval Consulting Board. Attends events in his honor at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco with Mina Miller Edison and Henry Ford.
      1916 15 January Defends his storage battery after an explosion aboard an E-2 submarine is blamed on gases evolved by its batteries.
      Summer Takes his first camping trip with Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs. Later trips include Henry Ford.
      1917 9 April U.S. Supreme Court decides against Edison in Motion Picture Patents Company v. Universal Film Manufacturing Company, making the Motion Picture Patents Company's licensing agreements illegal.
      1918 Sells his motion picture business to Lincoln and Parker Film Company.
      1920 Fall In the wake of the postwar economic downturn, initiates an "economy campaign" that leads to the dismissal or resignation of several top managers and a drastic reduction in the manufacturing labor force.
      1921 January Resigns from Naval Consulting Board following a prolonged debate over the location and mission of the proposed naval research laboratory.
      Summer Takes a camping trip with Harvey Firestone and President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding.
      1924 1 September Consolidates the Edison Phonograph Works into Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
      1926 August Steps down as president of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., in favor of his son Charles; becomes chairman of the board.
      1927 July Organizes the Edison Botanic Research Corporation to develop a process for producing rubber from plant substances native to the United States.
      1928 21 May Receives an honorary medal from Congress.
      1929 21 October Is honored at Light's Golden Jubilee.
      28 October Stops production of phonograph records; shifts production emphasis from phonographs to radios.
      1931 6 January Executes his last patent application (U.S. Patent 1,908,830)

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