Happy Birthday to inventor Thomas Edison, who was born on February 11, 1847. If he's had the foresight to invent a longevity machine, he'd be 161 years old today.
Thomas Edison received his first patent in 1869, at the age of 23. It was for an "electrographic vote recorder," which allowed a legislator to cast a vote for or against an issue by turning a switch either left or right. It was a complete flop, ironically because it was too efficient and interfered with the ability of pols to lobby for vote-switching -- something that was commonly done during the time it took to count votes by hand.
Edison eventually held 1,093 patents. Whenever you flip on a light switch, listen to music, or watch a video, Edison had a hand in it. Wired has a condensed look at Edison’s career. See a video of Edison talking about the light bulb.
Edison complained that his first wife wasn't a great inventor. He proposed to his second wife via Morse Code. And then there was that incident with the elephant... Read Ten Fascinating Facts about Thomas Edison.