Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 10 years ago

thesis statement on Thomas Edison?

i need help with a good thesis statement on thomas edison, it has to be controversal and i have to be able to prove it.... cannot think of one, even my teacher can't

1 Answer

  • 10 years ago
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    Your statement: Thomas Edison was overrated as an inventor.

    Edison was considered one of the most prolific inventors of his time, holding a record 1,093 patents in his name. One must read between the lines, however. While it is true that Edison held the 1,093 patents, many of the underlying inventions themselves were not his. He had scientists and engineers on staff at his laboratories in Menlo Park and subsequently in West Orange, NJ. It was these employees who also had a direct hand and were responsible for many of the patents held in Edison's name. As noted in an issue of US News & World Report, “part of Edison's genius lay in his ability to identify and surround himself with talented individuals.” Additionally, these talented individuals were employees of Edison's company. As such, they could not file for the patents in their own names and rightly so.

    In addition, most of "Edison's inventions" were not completely original but rather improvements of earlier patents and this includes the incandescent light (the bulb’s filament was the key that made this successful) which he ‘perfected,’ not invented. Again, it was Edison's employees who played the largest role in these improvements and patents. Most of Edison's inventing was done at Menlo Park and the very early years at the West Orange facility. It was these laurels he rested on for the remainder of his life. Edison found that most of his time at the West Orange lab and manufacturing complex was often consumed by administrative chores, not inventing. Also, many of Edison’s later inventions, e.g., concrete homes, were failures. During his lifetime, Edison was frequently criticized for not sharing the credits for "his" 1,093 inventions with his employees. But this negative aspect of Edison's character has largely been lost to the general public nearly 80 years after his death.

    I will acknowledge that Edison was directly responsible for a handful of the most significant and important inventions in the last 130 years and this is his legacy. But I don’t believe there are many people who can name five of his inventions and probably no one who can name 10 of ‘his’ 1.093 inventions. The majority of them were largely ‘re-dos’, insignificant or failures.

    He also lost the ‘Battle of the Currents’ to George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, one of the most brilliant people who ever lived:

    As an aside, history is often distorted because of Hollywood movies that are embellished with lies and half-truths and history teachers that really don’t know history.

    To paraphrase Ben Franklin in the figurative sense: Believe half of what you read and less of what you hear.

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