Thomas Edison is famous because he is the most prolific inventor in American history. His 1,093 patents, a record number, covered innovations and improvements in a number of areas such as electric power, motion pictures and sound recording.
Edison was born in Ohio in 1847 and began experimenting at a young age. In 1868, he became an independent inventor in Boston and moved to New York the following year. His reputation as an inventor grew because one of his inventions, the quadruplex telegraph, Edison's first financial success, allowed telegraph companies to send more messages over fewer wires.
Edison built a research facility in Menlo Park, N.J., in 1876. There, Edison and his employees spent long hours creating well-known inventions such as the electric light bulb, the phonograph and an improved telephone transmitter.
In 1887, Edison built a new facility in West Orange, N.J. The first major invention created at the facility was motion pictures. Edison and his team created a motion picture camera, called the kinetograph, and a machine for watching the movies, called the kinetoscope, which allowed one person at a time to watch the movie. Because no one was making movies at the time, Edison also created a movie studio at his facility.
Edison died in West Orange in 1931.