Thomas Edison was an American inventor who had over 1,000 inventions accredited to him. Among his most important were the phonograph, light bulb and motion picture camera. He was also a pioneer in telecommunications and electrical distribution.
Edison was the youngest of seven children and credited his mother for his successes. She allowed Edison to set up a chemistry set in his basement, a move that helped quell his insatiable curiosity. He was later kicked off a train for conducting a chemistry experiment that resulted in the train being set on fire. In school, he was considered to be slow, but his mother, a well-respected school teacher, decided to pull him out and teach him herself. It was a successful endeavor because soon she had taught Edison everything he knew, and he soon started reading books on his own and teaching himself new things.
At age 15, Edison started working as a telegraph operator. When he was 22, he invented an improved stock ticker for the stock exchange for which he received $40,000. Back then, $40,000 was enough money to quit his job and start working as a full-time inventor, which he did in addition to caring for his ill mother.