A voracious reader, at age 11 Edison decided to read every book in his local library. His parents convinced him to be more selective instead, and he focused his powerful intellect on books on science.
Edison had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked. This curiosity led him to explore the world, and he soon moved to Boston to work for Western Union for several months. During this time, he met many other inventors and scientists, as Boston was considered the hub of the scientific, educational and cultural universe.
In the New York City area, his creatively truly flourished, as he saw opportunity around every corner. In 1877, he patented the first phonograph. Meanwhile, he was working frenetically to develop a practical incandescent bulb, a project that he would not perfect until 1879, after 10,000 attempts.
Before his death in 1931, at age 84, Edison obtained 1,093 patents, a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, but especially for someone who started life as a restless boy whose boundless curiosity all too often led him into trouble. Edison’s success can be attributed to his consistent optimism, which helped his family to believe in him, and then led him to continuously explore new ideas, against the odds, becoming one of our greatest inventors and a pioneer of the modern age.