Get in Touch

Bright Sparks – Thomas Edison

The modern world would look very different without the contributions of those who helped us harness electricity and develop electrical equipment. Here, we focus on some of the pioneers of the electrical world and their remarkable achievements.

NAME: Thomas Alva Edison

DATES: 11 February 1847 (Ohio, US) – 18 October 1931 (New Jersey, US)

EARLY LIFE: Following a stint as a newspaper boy on the Grand Trunk Railroad, Edison spent five years as
a telegraph operator then opened a manufacturing shop making stock tickers (his own invention) and telegraph instruments.

The sale of his quadruplex telegraph invention allowed him to establish his ground-breaking industrial research laboratory Menlo Park in 1876.

FIRST INVENTION: Electrical Vote Recorder.



1877 invented the phonograph (precursor of the gramophone) and patented the Carbon Telephone Transmitter, also used in radio broadcasting.

1878-9 set up Edison Electric
Light Company and developed the incandescent electric light bulb, plus fuses, sockets, switches and other electrical ancillary products.

1880 invented the magnetic ore separator and founded the Edison Illuminating Company for the distribution of electricity.

1 882 opened the first commercial incandescent lighting and power station in London.

1885 patented wireless induction telegraphy systems for trains to communicate with stations and ships to communicate with shore bases.

1891 exhibited the kinetograph motion picture camera and kinetoscope viewer (his film studio made over 1,000 films).

1896 created the fluoroscope for viewing X-rays; applied for a patent on the first fluorescent lamp.


1900-1910 developed the nickel-iron- alkaline storage battery.

1901 construction of the Edison Cement Plant began.

1907 developed the universal electric motor.

1913 developed the kinetophone (talking movie).

1 914 patented the electric safety lantern, used widely by miners.

1914-1919 worked out how to manufacture synthetic carbolic acid and built several coal-tar plants – both important in the war effort.

1928 awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

3 things you might not know:

1. In 1862, Edison saved a young boy from being hit by a train. As a thank you, the boy’s father taught him telegraphy, which furthered his burgeoning interest in electricity.

2. Edison was mostly home schooled by his mother.

3. Edison was very hard of hearing and proposed to his second wife by tapping out Morse Code on her palm.


Having invented or helped develop devices from the phonograph and motion picture camera to the electric light bulb, Edison’s place in the history of electricity is assured.

Working with large teams and harnessing the benefits of mass production, he had a major impact on many industries – benefiting the lives of ordinary people.

image description

Heat Pumps – the lowdown

Heat pump technology isn’t new. In fact, it dates back as far as the 1800s. But, like any technology, it has advanced over time. As a result, heat pumps have become more widely used in recent decades. In the last few years, heat pumps have become even more of a talking point in the UK […]

Read more
image description

How to identify whether you need a CompEx electrician

Any qualified electrician can take care of basic electrical installations, but not every electrician is qualified to work in hazardous areas (which requires a CompEx electrician). Manufacturing facilities often require more than the basics, so it’s important you get the right electrical contractors for the job. CompEx (meaning Competency working in Explosive atmospheres) refers to […]

Read more
image description

Why smart buildings are the future

There’s no denying that technological advancements in recent decades have changed the way we all work and live. Everything is becoming smarter and more efficient – including our buildings. More and more homeowners and businesses are investing in smart tech for their properties. While the initial outlay might be significant, the long-term benefits justify the […]

Read more
image description

What is a switchgear and why are they so important?

You don’t have to be an expert in electrical systems to operate a successful factory, but it does help if you have a basic understanding of the key components and their importance. One key element of your electrical system is the switchgear. Switchgear is a broad term that typically covers several devices that work together […]

Read more
image description

Future-proofing your factory

With compliance regulations and market demand constantly changing, it can be tough for manufacturers to keep on top of emerging trends. Even the best business strategies need to be flexible to ensure they can be adapted when necessary. So how do you prepare for the unknown? How can you future-proof your factory to ensure you […]

Read more
image description

What can cause power outages (and how to protect against them)?

A reliable power supply is crucial for factories to maintain uninterrupted operations. Any power outage can lead to delays in production, resulting in significant losses in terms of productivity and revenue. Understanding the causes of power outages helps you to prepare effectively for potential disruptions. Appropriate measures can be taken to mitigate the impact of […]

Read more