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American inventor (1847-1931)

Thomas Edison quote

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

THOMAS EDISON, Harper's Monthly, Sep. 1932

It is a terrible situation when the Government, to insure the National Wealth, must go in debt and submit to ruinous interest charges, at the hands of men, who control the fictitious value of gold. Interest is the invention of Satan.

THOMAS EDISON, as quoted in Moriah Saul's Plantation Earth

What a wonderfully small idea mankind has of the Almighty. My impression is that he has made unchangeable laws to govern this and billions of other worlds and that he has forgotten even the existence of this little mote of ours ages ago.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 21, 1885

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. They may even discover the germ of old age.

THOMAS EDISON, "Wizard Edison," The Newark Advocate, Jan. 2, 1903

Smoking too much makes me nervous. Must lasso my natural tendency to acquire such habits. Holding heavy cigar constantly in my mouth has deformed my upper lip, it has a sort of Havana curl.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 12, 1885

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

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, From Telegraph to Light Bulb with Thomas Edison (Hedstrom)

A lawsuit is the suicide of time.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 13, 1885

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, Thomas Alva Edison: Sixty Years of an Inventor's Life (Jones)

We are going out with the ladies in yacht to sail, perchance to fish. The lines will be bated at both ends.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 17, 1885

All bibles are man-made.

THOMAS EDISON, The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison

We really haven't got any great amount of data on the subject, and without data how can we reach any definite conclusions? All we have — everything — favors the idea of what religionists call the "Hereafter." Science, if it ever learns the facts, probably will find another more definitely descriptive term.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, Thomas A. Edison: Benefactor of Mankind (Miller)

The roots of tobacco plants must go clear through to hell. Satan’s principal agent Dyspepsia must have charge of this branch of the vegetable kingdom.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 12, 1885

Not one of all the gods of all the various theologies has ever really been proved. We accept no ordinary scientific fact without the final proof; why should we, then, be satisfied in this most mighty of all matters, with a mere theory?

THOMAS EDISON, interview, "Thomas A. Edison on Immortality", The Columbian Magazine, January 1911

We tried some experiments in mind reading which were not very successful. Think mind reading contrary to common sense, wise provision of the Bon Dieu that we cannot read each others minds, twould stop civilization and everybody would take to the woods. In fifty or hundred thousand centuries when mankind have become perfect by evolution then perhaps this sense could be developed with safety to the state.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 16, 1885

I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, The Freethinker, 1970

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, Golden Book, Apr. 1931

Thomas Edison quote

We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.


We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide.... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindbergh

During all those years of experimentation and research, I never once made a discovery. All my work was deductive, and the results I achieved were those of invention, pure and simple. I would construct a theory and work on its lines until I found it was untenable. Then it would be discarded at once and another theory evolved. This was the only possible way for me to work out the problem.

THOMAS EDISON, "Talks with Edison," Harpers Magazine, Feb. 1890

Restlessness is discontent — and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man — and I will show you a failure.

THOMAS EDISON, The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison

There is a great directing head of people and things — a Supreme Being who looks after the destinies of the world. I am convinced that the body is made up of entities that are intelligent and are directed by this Higher Power. When one cuts his finger, I believe it is the intelligence of these entities which heals the wound. When one is sick, it is the intelligence of these entities which brings convalescence. You know that there are living cells in the body so tiny that the microscope cannot find them at all. The entities that give life and soul to the human body are finer still and lie infinitely beyond the reach of our finest scientific instruments. When these entities leave the body, the body is like a ship without a rudder — deserted, motionless and dead.

THOMAS EDISON, attributed, The Romance and Drama of the Rubber Industry (Firestone)

My mind is incapable of conceiving such a thing as a soul. I may be in error, and man may have a soul; but I simply do not believe it. What a soul may be is beyond my understanding.

THOMAS EDISON, "Do We Live Again?", The Illustrated London News, May 3, 1924

Fish seem to be rather conservative around this bay, one seldom catches enough to form the fundamental basis for a lie. Dante left out one of the torments of Hades — I could imagine a doomed mortal made to untangle wet fish lines forever. Everybody lost patience at the stupidity of the fish in not coming forward promptly to be murdered.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 17, 1885

I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study.

THOMAS EDISON, interview, "Thomas A. Edison on Immortality", The Columbian Magazine, January 1911

Perhaps dandruff is the excreta of the mind — the quantity of this material being directly proportional to the amount of reading one indulges in. A book on German metaphysics would thus easily ruin a dress suit.

THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 12, 1885

I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory. My chief difficulty was in constructing the carbon filament. . . . Every quarter of the globe was ransacked by my agents, and all sorts of the queerest materials used, until finally the shred of bamboo, now utilized by us, was settled upon.

THOMAS EDISON, "Talks with Edison," Harpers Magazine, Feb. 1890

There is no substitute for hard work.



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