Inventions Change Lives

Thomas Edison developing an invention.

Do you like to come up with ideas, build things, and help other people? You could be an inventor.

Thomas Edison was a famous inventor. He was born in 1847 and lost most of his hearing when he was twelve years old. He did not allow this to affect his ability to learn. In fact, he said the silence helped him focus. He loved to read books and solve problems. He wanted to create things or make existing devices better. When he was old enough, Edison built a research lab. His experiments led to many great inventions. He wanted to use his inventions to help people.

Thomas Edison’s favorite invention – the phonograph.

In 1877 Edison was trying to record a message from a telegraph and accidentally discovered that he could replay the sound. This discovery made him famous! He called this machine that could record and play sounds a phonograph. Today we call it a record player. The phonograph helped Edison hear sounds. Over time, he improved the phonograph, and now people use it to play music. Music is important to many people and cultures. This invention helps us share and enjoy all kinds of music from around the world.

What Do You Think? What could you invent that might change someone’s life?

Reading Response Click on this link to respond to your reading. Print out the response page or upload it to your classroom site.

What’s the Big Idea?

Photo Credit: (t)Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-55344]., (b)Ilene MacDonald/Alamy Stock Photo