He was born in a middle class family in the small town of Milan, Ohio, near Lake Erie. His parents were Canadians. Father was a company involved in timber trade and construction. His mother was born before him six children, of whom three died, it was feared that he too may not survive.He got the name Thomas, which was often broadcast on his family, the second father himself chose his name Alva to commemorate his friend, which led interests. This is called the name of the youngest child, using the diminutive form of Al.

When he was 7 years his family moved to the town of Port Huron on Lake Huron. Shortly thereafter, Al infected by scarlet fever and is seriously ill. The boy began to attend school with 8 years. Al liked to acquire knowledge on their own and the school teacher tried to instill in him the strength of the message, which in spite of the fear of flogging could not remember. Probing questions, which are usually asked only evoked the wrath of the teacher. Became the worst student in class and 3 months after he heard how the teacher talked about the very good things. Angry at the teacher ran out of school and did not want her back. For some time, even went to other school irregularly. He was educated mostly at home alone reading a book. In the age of nine and read the book, which was described in simple experiments. He was so fascinated by the contents of the book that made all ekperymenty described therein. Later arranged a small room in his laboratory and began to invent your own using the available components. In one of his experiments to check the body's reaction to his fellow man after swallowing a large quantity of powder to make a sparkling drink. He thought that the powder that will produce gas in the stomach colleague, whereby it lifts into the air like a balloon. In another experiment has been scratched by cats with their tails when plugged ducts to generate a load elektyczny during the ociernia cat sierściami myself. When I accidentally destroyed the furniture, his mother was angry and told him to move to the basement. There, a small al carried out experiments, causing further explosions and thunder that shook the house and caused his father's anger. Nancy reassured him, however, saying that Al knows what he's doing.

In the age of 10, Al became the local expert on the telegraph wire running its own equipment at the station in his town. At the same time was also expelled from the local primary school because, according to a teacher asking too many questions and refused to perform many household tasks, which he considered unnecessary waste of time. Since then, Thomas has learned exclusively, and he never attended any longer "official" school. His education took personally his father, who was a traveling salesman, and took his son on the common road-route to the United States and Canada.

When he was 12 years, was built train service linking the town of Port Huron city of Detroit so noted the opportunity to earn money. The decision to start work because his family has suffered from a lack of money and needed cash for his expensive hobby. In receiving his first helped his father, who got him a deal as a seller of newspapers on the train relationships Port Huron-Detroit. To increase your earnings but also sold newspapers, soft drinks and sweets. He was satisfied with his work because he could finally earn their money. Leisure time spent in the free library in Detroit, where he also borrowed a book to be able to read while traveling by train. Had its place in the luggage compartment, which after some time began to carry out experiments. Unfortunately, when one of them, Al caused a fire burned in the car and the conductor threw his instruments from the train.

In 1861, the American Civil War broke out, during which the killed and wounded more than a million people. News from the front were reported in the newspapers, which Al traded on the train which has contributed to the growth of its earnings. To be more certain that sell all the copies of newspapers, which he took with him, the Al acquainted with the major print news póbną which were to be printed on a given day. When they were an important message that he took more newspapers, respectively.

At age 15 he took part in a dangerous rail accident, a result which has lost some hearing and no longer ride with my father around the country. Dealt with by the construction of its own laboratory, which began experimenting with the telegraph and other means of transmission of information by electricity.

At age 16, Thomas was already one of the most well known experts from the telegraph in the U.S. thanks to the invention of the making six devices to connect to a single wire telegraph transmission.
Menlo Park
In the age of 21 Thomas usamodzielnił ultimately moving to Boston, where he was employed at the Society of Western Union telegraph. In Boston, the company had their best engineers and American studios. With many stores you can buy all the necessary components and tools for carrying out experiments. In one Thomas bought the works of Michael Faraday. The electrical shop of Charles Williams on Court Street inventors such as he formed an unofficial club. Williams knew it and moved his laboratory to the factory.

He suggested the local stock market and the newspaper "Boston Daily Telegraph constructed on the basis of the telegraph equipment will automatically print the current share prices. This device proved to be a full success and Thomas sold his invention giełdom and newspapers in Boston and New York, earning the astronomical sum of 40 000 dollars.

For the money, opened a laboratory - the world's first "invention factory" in Menlo Park, New Jersey (now named after him), whose task was "to create a groundbreaking invention every six months and one less important every 10 days". In addition to their own ideas realized it was there that the order "invention on demand", ie CONCRETE solving technical problems, which no one previously could not cope. Interest has developed very well and after two years of laboratory employing sixty workers.
Edison Electric Light Company
In 1876, after Edison invented light bulbs persuaded famous financier JP Morgan and a very wealthy family Vanderblitów the establishment of the name Edison Electric Light Company, which in 1911 was merged with several other companies operating in the "electricity sector" by creating the world's largest current capital company General Electric. Edison Electric Light Company was the company that built the world's first electric power plant and the first urban lighting system.
West Orange Lab
In 1887, Edison opened an additional laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, where it grew into a powerful center of the laboratory consists of several buildings. Today it houses a museum.