Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor, 1889.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This photograph depicts Edison speaking into the phonograph. Thomas Edison (1847-1931), 1889. This prolific American inventor registered over 1000 patents many of which were related to the development of electricity. His inventions - in collaboration with his staff - include the automatic telegraph, the electric lamp, the phonograph (gramophone) and the kinetoscope, an early form of cinematography.