Thomas Alva Edison (February 11 1847 - October 18 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention, and can therefore be credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory. Some of the inventions attributed to him were not completely original but amounted to improvements of earlier inventions or were actually created by numerous employees working under his direction. Nevertheless, Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,097 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany..
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