From the Guardian article linked below: “One man that exemplified the science of taking massive actions is Thomas Alva Edison, an American inventor and one of the greatest innovators of all time. During his career, Edison patented over 1000 inventions, including the electric light, the phonograph and the motion-picture camera.
In the period from 1878 to 1880, after Edison had built a small laboratory in New Jersey, he worked on at least three thousand different theories to develop an efficient incandescent lamp. Many inventors had tried ever before him, but couldn’t produce perfect incandescent lamps.
By January 1879, Edison had built the first high resistance incandescent electric light, just as he desired, but still the lamp only burned for few hours. To get the perfect ‘filament,’ he went from one experiment to another, tested thousands and thousands of numerous materials to use for the filament, but they did not work with the tools available at that time.
He tested carbonised filaments of every plant imaginable; he tested no fewer than 6000 vegetable growths. He was never discouraged or inclined to be hopeless of success, despite his several mistakes. He finally discovered that they could use a carbonised bamboo filament that last over 1,200 hours.
After thousands and thousands of failures, mistakes and errors, Edison finally invented the first practical incandescent light. Though it took him about 10,000 trials to make the light bulb, he gave the world some of the best invention that has heralded the ‘modern’ world.
When a reporter tried to ridicule his various attempts by asking him how he felt to have failed for 10,000 times, he said something that stunned the whole world: “I have not failed 10,000 times; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He has an unbreakable record; he not only eventually succeeded, but established a system of electric power generation and distribution to homes.
Edison also developed the first movie camera and was the first to record sound. He gained worldwide acclaim for his inventions and continued working, even with advancing age and in frail health, amassing a total of 1093 patents, more than any other inventor at that time. His last patent was obtained at age 83 and he died at 84 on October 18, 1931 in New Jersey.
Three days later, on the night of October 21, as a national tribute proclaimed by President Herbert Hoover, millions of Americans turned out their lights to plunge the country into momentary darkness in order to illustrate how the world was before Edison discovered the light bulb.
When someone called him a genius, Edison made the famous reply: “Genius is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration,” a statement that testify to his virtues of tenacity and persistency even in the plethora of his errors. An overzealous reporter once wrote a headline about Edison: “God said, ‘let there be light’ and there was Thomas Edison.” He was a light to the world, for when Edison died, the lights were put out as a tribute to this legend that set the world aglow with the discovery of the electric bulb light.