Short and Sweet:

Tips for living the abundant life

Another Coffee from the November 1999 Deep Cove Crier

Thomas Edison and the Canadian Brain Drain…..

I had no idea that Thomas Edison’s family were United Empire Loyalists, refugees fleeing to Canada in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War.  Thomas’ grandfather Samuel Sr. even took part in the Canadian conquest of Detroit during the war of 1812.  But frustrated with inequalities in Canada, his son Samuel Jr. joined in Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie’s 1837 unsuccessful plot to liberate Toronto from Canada.  As Samuel Edison Jr. fled with his family to Ohio, Canada lost one of the world’s greatest inventors: Thomas Alva Edison.

In talking to many people, I have not met one yet who hasn’t heard of Thomas Edison.  But few of us have realized just how prolific an inventor Edison really was, with 1,069 different inventions patented!   Edison of course is best known for the creation of the world’s first usable lightbulb.  Realizing that a lightbulb needed a power source, he went on to create the world’s first electrical power station, a revolutionary act that transformed modern technology, and created ten of millions of jobs.  Henry Ford once commented: ‘To find a man who has not benefited by Edison and who is not in debt to him, it would be necessary to go deep into the jungle.’

It was also interesting to discover that his own father and his teachers saw this unique genius as unintelligent.  He irritated his superiors by continually asking questions.  He also had trouble hearing which made learning difficult in school.  Years later, Thomas said, ‘My father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce’.  Thomas was afraid to tell his mother how difficult school was, in case she too would lose her confidence in him.  His mother Nancy, who always stood up for him, eventually pulled him out and home-schooled him herself.  Edison later said: ‘My mother was the making of me; she let me follow my bent’.  At one particularly low point, he realized that his mother was ‘the most enthusiastic champion a boy ever had.’  At age 12, he began selling newspapers and snacks from 6am-11pm to railway passengers.  During his spare moments, he used to conduct chemistry experiments in the baggage cars until one day he was fired for setting the train car on fire. As the last of seven children, Thomas was always a kid at heart, seeing life as one big experiment.

How did Thomas Edison’s sleepiness both create a technological breakthrough, and get Edison fired?  Click to find out more….


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North Vancouver, B.C.