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Thomas Edison: Telephone, Electricity and Phonograph, 1915

Full-Time Inventor

Encouraged to move to Boston in 1868, Edison began working there for Western Union, arriving in the midst of the telegraphic expansion, seeing the array of new developments and inventions, meeting financial supporters, and setting up his new workshop. In the financial industry at that time, rapid, accurate, and documented communications were the foremost need. Taking advantage of this, in 1869, Edison filed his first patent application covering a printing telegraph and left Western Union to work full-time as an inventor.

His next stop was New York. During the 1870s Edison lived to invent and his pace was frantic. He formed numerous partnerships, continually improving and expanding automatic telegraph equipment, maintaining investment support, and enduring litigation. In 1871 Edison married a 16-year-old employee, Mary Stilwell, and during the next eight years three children—Marion, Thomas Alva, and William—were born.