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  • 1. Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison was called Alva, or Al by his family. He was a very curious child. He was always asking questions. Even his mother, who had once been a schoolteacher could not answer all his questions. He would experiment to try to find the answers. Once he tried to hatch some eggs by sitting on them. Another time he accidently burned down the family's barn. The teacher told someone she thought there was something wrong with Alva; that he was quot;addledquot; * . He told his mother and they took him out of the school. He only went to school for 3 months in his whole life. Afterwards, he was taught at home. He wanted to experiment. To make money for his experiments, he went to work at age 12 selling newspapers and candy on a train. When he had some spare time on the train, he would do experiments in the baggage car. When he was 16 he went to work for the telegraph * office sending messages. He became nearly deaf due to an injury to his ears. He later said he didn't mind being deaf because it helped him to concentrate. When he was 22 years old he went to New York. He only had $1 in his pocket. He hunted for a job during the day, and at night he slept
  • 2. in the basement of a gold company. He watched everything around him very closely. Some equipment broke down and Edison was able to fix it because he had been watching it work before he went to sleep each night. The owners gave him a job. He improved the machine so much the company paid him $40,000 for his invention. He started the American Telegraph Works in New Jersey. He built a laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was here with his employees he made many of his inventions. He would work night after night, and sometimes he would fall asleep at his workbench. His wife wouldn't see him for days at a time. He and his team worked to make a light bulb which would burn for a long time without burning out. They tried 1,500 materials and nothing worked well. Finally he tried a new material in the filament * that burned nearly 200 hours. After he had made the light bulb, he worked to make a power system so people could use the bulb. In 1882 he flipped a switch and 85 houses in New York City had electric lights for the first time. Thomas Edison was probably the world's greatest inventor. He had a patent on 1,093 inventions. In addition to the electric light, he also invented the phonograph * , a camera to take motion pictures, a cement mixer, the automatic * telegraph, and he improved Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. Biography at ThomasEdison Born 1847 - Died 1931 1. Tell about some of Edison's childhood experiments. ______________________________________________________
  • 3. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 2. Why did Edison's mother decide to homeschool him? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 3. What jobs did Edison hold when he was a child? ______________________________________________________ _______ ______________________________________________________ ________ 4. What was the name of the company he started in New Jersey? ______________________________________________________ 5. How did deafness prove to be an asset to Edison? ______________________________________________________ 6. Give an example of Edison's persistence in making the light bulb. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 7. Why was it important for Edison to build a power system in New York? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 8. What else did Edison invent besides the light bulb? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 9. What would you like to invent?
  • 4. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Biography at ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Born 1847 - Died 1922 Alexander Graham Bell was born in Scotland. His mother, who was deaf, was a musician and a painter of portraits. His father, who taught deaf people how to speak, invented quot;Visible Speechquot;. This was a code which showed how the tongue, lips, and throat were positioned to make speech sounds. Graham, or quot;Aleckquot;, as his family called him, was interested in working with the deaf throughout his life. He only attended school for five years; from the time he was 10 until he was 14, but he never stopped learning. He read the books in his
  • 5. grandfather's library and studied tutorials. When he was a teen-ager, he and his brother Melly used the voice box of a dead sheep to make a speaking machine that cried, quot;Mama!quot; This created even more interest in human speech and how it worked. When he was in his early 20's, his two brothers died of tuberculosis * . Bell himself had the disease and his father moved the family to Canada looking for a better climate in which to live. Bell recovered from the disease. Two years later he went to Boston to open a school for teachers of the deaf and then became a professor at Boston University. It was at this time that he met Mabel Hubbard, one of his students who was 10 years younger than he. Mabel had become deaf at the age of four due to scarlet fever. Five years later they were married. At the wedding ceremony he gave her a gift of all but 10 shares of the stock in the newly formed company called Bell Telephone Company. They had three sons. Thomas Watson became an associate of Bell. He made parts and built models of Bell's inventions. One day while they were working Bell accidently heard the sound of a plucked reed * coming over the telegraph wire. Watson had been tuning the metal reeds in the next room. Bell drew up a plan for the telephone and they continued to experiment. The next day he transmitted the famous words, quot;Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!quot; A few months later on Feb. 14, 1876, he applied for a patent on his telephone. He knew he would have to work quickly to get the patent * because other people were also trying to make an invention to transmit the human voice. Elisha Gray claims he too invented the telephone, but Bell got to the patent office an hour or so before he did. It is said that Antonio Meucci also succeeded with the invention before Bell.
  • 6. A copy of the Bell phone Because Bell had the patent, he had the right to be the only one to produce telephones in the U.S. for the next 19 years. He showed the invention to Queen Victoria of England and she wanted lines to connect her castles. By 1917, nearly all of the United State had telephone service. He continued to invent other things. He developed a method of making phonograph * records on a wax disc. He made an iron breathing lung, and a device for locating icebergs at sea. He experimented with sheep. He was interested in kites that could lift a man, and he invented a hydrofoil * which set a world speed record of over 70 miles per hour. He along with others started the National Geographic Society and he served as its president for several years. He became a U.S. citizen, but he died in Canada at the age of 75. Henry Ford Industrialist* July 30, 1863 - April 7, 1947
  • 7. Henry Ford was born on a farm near Detroit, Michigan. He never really enjoyed farming and left the farm at age sixteen, three years after his mother died. As a child he was fascinated by machines. He always carried around in his pockets nuts and bolts and machinery parts. By the time he was thirteen he could put together a watch that kept time. This interest in machines led him to work for a while as an apprentice machinist, and later he went to work for Westinghouse servicing their steam engines. Clara Bryant became his wife in 1888. He returned to the farm, built a house, and ran a sawmill. They had one child, a son they named Edsel. When Henry was twenty-eight he became an engineer at Edison Company which made electrical generating stations. He was made chief engineer two years later and advanced to a salary of $125 a month.
  • 8. The first car he made was a quot;gasoline buggyquot; called the Quadricycle. He drove it around for two years, and it drew a crowd everywhere he went. In 1903 he built two race cars to advertise the automobile. One he named the quot;999quot; and the other the quot;Arrowquot;. He hired Barney Oldfield, a professional bicycle rider and race car driver to race for him. In 1904 Ford himself driving the Ford Arrow set a new land speed record in his car - over 91 miles per hour! The event took place on the frozen ice of Lake St. Claire. When he was forty years old Ford and eleven investors formed the Ford Motor Company. They had a $28,000 investment in it. The Model T Ford was introduced on October 1, 1908. Some called it the quot;Tin Lizziequot; and the quot;Flivverquot;. The cost of the touring car: $950. Five years later he started using an assembly line and could produce cars faster and cheaper until the price of the touring car fell to $360. Ford Assembly Line Assembly lines had been used before, but he was the first to use conveyor* belts to move the parts where they needed them. The 1912 Model T Ford touring car included such
  • 9. extras as oil lamps, horn, 1912 Model T speedometer, and tools. Henry Ford's motto was quot;simplicityquot; *. By simplifying the process of making cars, he was able to make the car affordable to the common worker in America. Of course, this simplification resulted in only one color choice. He wrote, quot;A customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants - so long as it is black.quot; In his book he contrasts the making of axe handles by hand and machine to show how mechanization *reduced the cost of his car. Ford hired handicapped workers*. He studied the jobs and the requirements and put each man in a place where he could do the job and make a living for his family. Sales lagged in the 1920's as other car makers offered more options and financing. He and his son Edsel Restored Model A Ford designed a new car, the Model A. Ford was a firm believer in the idea that the able-bodied should work. He thought as an employer his job was to serve others. He paid his workers $5 a day. This was nearly twice as much as most employers paid their employees. He felt there was something sacred about wages and what they represent. He instituted the 40 hour week with men working eight hours a day, five days a week. He had a code of conduct for his employees which forbade heavy drinking and gambling. His company also made airplanes for a few years. One, a twelve passenger plane, was called the quot;Tin Goosequot;. He produced tractors to help the farmer to farm more efficiently. Ford developed an interest in plastics made from soybeans. He worked with George Washington Carver on the research. He even
  • 10. made a plastic car that could withstand heavy blows even better than steel. However, it was never successful. Ford had a heart attack in 1938 and turned the running of the company over to his son, but Edsel died five years later, and Ford had to again assume leadership. He stayed in that position for two years, but due to his ill health, he made his grandson Henry Ford II president of the company in 1945. Henry Ford died at the age of 83 of a cerebral * hemorrhage *. He was one of many people who helped to make America great. At the end of his book he describes his vision of a great country in which the resources of a country and the skills of its people are developed so that all have a fair share. Henry Ford Biography at E F I W R O T C A R T B X Y H A S S E M B L Y Y H P T A Q R Y V J K Z N G N B I N D U S T R I A L I S T C D A C A F W P X Y F W M I I B I A D M A R J O U A L C J R R O R T G R R E C P A M E C P S I K E D N H M P X M C U L E C O S I I