Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1911.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Drawing by Emanuel Groser, Berlin, dated 24 September 1911, with Edison's signature. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was a prolific American inventor who registered over 1000 patents. His inventions include the automatic telegraph, the electric lamp, the phonograph (gramophone) and the kinetoscope, an early form of cinematography.