Thomas Edison was born in 1847. He first went to school at the age of eight and a half. But after only three months his teacher called him "stupid" and he came home crying. From that time his mother taught him at home and he read science books by himself. He got a job sending telegraph messages. Then he started inventing things. At the age of 12 he had a job selling newspapers. He made money in a clever but simple way. He checked the news stories first. When the news was interesting he took a lot of papers; when it was boring he took only few.
In 1877 he made a "phonograph" - the first ever sound recorder. The following year he invented the light bulb. In 1882 New York was the first city in the world with electric lights. In 1889 he made a "kinetoscope' He also made films for his new machine. In 1903 he made the world's longest film (it was ten minutes long!) After more than one thousand inventions, Edison died at the age of eighty-four. In his honour they switched off the lights all over America.