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Edison's early life
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He was born on February 11, 1847. His mother taught him at home. Much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections.
Edison developed many skills when he was young. He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit and sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident prohibited further work of the kind. Later, Edison obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road. This began Edison's long streak of entrepreneurial ventures, as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.
He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park", he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison died of complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home, "Glenmont" in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina, his second wife. He is buried behind the home.