Thomas A. Edison

On this day in 1846, Thomas A. Edison was born in Milan, Ohio.  During his lifetime, 1,093 patents were issued to Edison during his lifetime, the last at age 83.  He was nothing short of practical, saying once that he never wasted time inventing things people did not want to buy. Almost deaf since childhood, Thomas Edison famously remarked that genius was “one percent inspiration and 99% perspiration.” He invented the phonograph in 1877, the incandescent electric lightbulb in 1879, and the kinetiscope (a forerunner of the movie projector) in the early 1900’s. Thomas Edison invented the carbon telephone transmitter used in radio broadcasting and public address microphones as well as in early telephones. In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company vowing to make electricity so cheap that “only the rich will burn candles.” Thomas Edison died in 1931.

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Nelson Mandela

Also, on this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela is freed after 27 years in captivity in a South African jail on Robben Island.  South African leader Nelson Mandela was released from jail after 27-year-long imprisonment on February 11, 1990. In June 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of treason and sabotage. Mandela, the leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, later became South Africa’s first democratically elected President on May 10, 1994

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