Thomas Edison Quotes

Success is based on imagination plus ambition and the will to work.


We are striking it big in the electric light, better than my vivid imagination first conceived. Where this thing is going to stop Lord only knows.


To do much clear thinking a person must arrange for regular periods of solitude when they can concentrate and indulge the imagination without distraction.


Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.


Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.


The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~


I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.


The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast


I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.


Great ideas originate in the muscles.


Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.


I am wondering what would have happened to me if some fluent talker had converted me to the theory of the eight-hour day and convinced me that it was not fair to my fellow workers to put forth my best efforts in my work. I am glad that the eight-hour day had not been invented when I was a young man. If my life had been made up of eight-hour days, I do not believe I could have accomplished a great deal. This country would not amount to as much as it does if the young men of fifty years ago had been afraid that they might earn more than they were paid for.


I never pick up an item without thinking of how I might improve it. I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it. I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill. The dove is my emblem.


It is very different to make a practical system and to introduce it. A few experiments in the laboratory would prove the practicability of system long before it could be brought into general use. You can take a pipe and put a little coal in it, close it up, heat it and light the gas that comes out of the stem, but that is not introducing gas lighting. I’ll bet that if it were discovered to-morrow in New York that gas could be made out of coal it would be at least five years before the system would be in general use.


Which do I consider my greatest invention? … I like the phonograph best … because I love music. And then it has brought so much joy into millions of homes all over this country, and, indeed, all over the world.


A quality of an inventor is imagination, because invention is a leap of the imagination from what is known to what has never been before.


I never did anything worth doing entirely by accident and none of my inventions came about totally by accident. They came about by hard work.


The point in which I am different from most inventors is that I have, besides the usual inventor’s make-up, the bump of practicality as a sort of appendix, the sense of the business, money value of an invention. Oh, no, I didn’t have it naturally. It was pounded into me by some pretty hard knocks.


I never pick up an item without thinking of how I might improve it. I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it. I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill. The dove is my emblem.


I was always afraid of things that worked the first time. Long experience proved that there were great drawbacks found generally before they could be got commercial; but here was something there was no doubt of.


In working out an invention, the most important quality is persistence. Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged, that’s the place to get interested.


It has been just so in all my inventions. The first step is an intuition—and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise. This thing that gives out and then that—“Bugs”as such little faults and difficulties are called show themselves and months of anxious watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success—or failure—is certainly reached.


It usually takes me from five to seven years to perfect a thing. Some things I have been working on for twenty-five years—and some of them are still unsolved. My average would be about seven years. The incandescent light was the hardest one of all: it took many years not only of concentrated thought but also of world-wide research. The storage battery took eight years. It took even longer to perfect the phonograph.


Many inventions are not suitable for the people at large because of their carelessness. Before a thing can be marketed to the masses, it must be made practically fool-proof. Its operation must be made extremely simple. That is one reason, I think, why the phonograph has been so universally adopted. Even a child can operate it. … Another reason is that people are far more willing to pay for being amused than for anything else.


I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process.


Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.


I find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.


Work while others are wishing.


“The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.”


The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.