Born 166 years ago on Feb. 11, 1847, Thomas Edison was an incredibly successful inventor, scientist, and businessman, accumulating a 1,093 patents in his lifetime.
Although the man from Milton, Ohio purchased many of his patents and is falsely credited with others (like the lightbulb), he was responsible for many useful creations. His laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. was so productive that at one point, he promised to turn out "a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so."
All told, he played a vital role in shaping the modern world.
AUTOMATIC TELEGRAPH: In an effort to improve the telegraph, Edison created another, based on his perforated pen, that required no one to tap out the message at the receiving end. This new technology increased words transmitted per minute from 25-40 to as many as 1,000. Edison also eventually produced a "speaking telegraph."