Thomas Alva Edison, famed American inventor and holder of 1,093 U.S. patents, sold newspapers, published his own newspaper and worked as a telegraph operator prior to becoming a full-time inventor and entrepreneurial businessman. He began selling newspapers at age 12 and worked as a telegraph operator from 15 to 22.
When Edison was 22 years old, he sold one of his inventions for $40,000, quit his telegraph operator job and devoted himself to inventing full-time. He built an independent industrial research facility with machine shops and laboratories. After patenting the light bulb in 1880, Edison started a company, the Edison Illuminating Company, to deliver the electricity to power his light bulbs. This utility company later became the General Electric Corporation.