Thomas Edison’s Brilliant Life, Told in Reverse

Click to hear Episode 9: Thomas Edison v. the World

Alex finally gets around to telling the story of the most famous Ohioan, Thomas Alva Edison. We sit down with the leading Edison scholars to discuss his amazing life of invention and innovation. And to spice it up we tell the story of “the Wizard of Menlo Park” in reverse, from death to birth. Alex details his most important inventions from electric light to motion pictures to the phonograph and sound recordings.

We’re joined by Dr. Paul Israel from Rutgers University, the Director of the Thomas A. Edison Papers and author of Edison: A Life of Invention (2000). Dr. Israel describes the modern world we live in being built by Edison. The telephone, the music business, television and movies were all invented or innovated by Edison and his team’s work at their Menlo Park in New Jersey. Dr. Israel manages over 5 million papers in the Edison collection and buy his book Edison: A Life of Invention

Ernest Freeberg, author and professor of history at the University of Tennessee also joins the program to discuss Edison’s most famous invention: electric light. The history of electric light, the impact on the world and the innovation involved it bringing to the entire world are discussed. His great book, The Age of Edison (2013) analyzes the invention of Edison’s incandescent light bulb from every angle and gives incredible insight in the inventor himself. Such a great read. Buy it here:

Lastly, we’re joined by Robert Wheeler, the president of the Board at the Edison Birthplace Museum in Milan, OH. Robert, a relative of Edison, discusses Edison’s family life and his youth in the small town of Milan up by Lake Erie. Go check out the excellent museum at

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