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One of the most influential American inventors of all time, Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931) is responsible for the creation of several devices that shaped the face of modern technology. Most famous for his invention of the first practical light bulb, Edison was also a shrewd businessman who bridged the gap between invention and large-scale manufacturing. Possibly the single most important figure of the Second Industrial Revolution, Edison’s vast network of corporate contacts ensured that his name was forever cemented in history as the archetypal American scientist. Paul Israel is a historian of technology who serves as the Director and General Editor of the multi-volume documentary edition of the Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University. He joins us on Culture Insight to share his insight into the life and work of Thomas Alva Edison.

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