Thomas Edison Failed Inventions

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Posted 2 years ago

Thomas Edison's failuresThomas Edison held an astounding 1,093 patents in the U.S. alone, besides many in the U.K., France, and Germany. To say the least, he was a giant of inventions. Many of these were so major that they have changed the course of our culture. How different our nations and most of the world would look without the phonograph, father of modern music media, or the motion picture camera, ushering in the age of movies. Edison produced almost 1,200 movies himself!;  and of course, the electric light bulb, enabling us to work, walk and drive around the clock in every season.

However, if you’re looking for a list of Thomas Edison’s successful inventions, that isn’t the focus of this article. Along with his many successes, Edison had many failed inventions. Here are a few:

  • For a period of time, Edison was fixated on cement as a universal building medium. His cement company built pianos, houses, cabinets, etc. from the substance. His redeeming success using cement was Yankee Stadium.
  • About the same time as the cement factory, Edison was determinedly attempting to invent a separator for iron ore that would boost the mining industry. He failed, but as all genuine inventors, was undaunted and moved on to other endeavours.
  • Edison’s automatic vote recorder would have saved a bundle in time and cost at election time had political leaders had the foresight to appreciate it. It was not to be.
  • Edison even deviated into improving the toy industry with his invention of the talking doll. Technology was, of course, primitive by today’s standards, and the result was not pleasing enough to be a hit.
  • The electric pen was intended to produce a series of tiny holes in paper that would become the template for ink copies, somewhat like the gestetners of the ‘70’s. Again, it was an idea that was passed up.


Typical of all prolific inventors, Edison had at least as many failures as successes. His tenacity and unfettered imagination were the keys to his many successes. Take note, all would-be inventors!






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