Study Questions and Essay Topics
Discuss the significance of the American tycoons (such as Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Carnegie) on Edison's approach to the marketplace.
How did Edison incorporate the business ideas of the day into his invention factories at Menlo Park and West Orange?
How did Edison's invention strategy change as he got older?
How did technology affect the young Thomas Edison, even before he became an inventor?
How did Edison's behavior as a student and as a young telegraph operator foreshadow his approach to invention and the business world?
Why did Edison initially neglect one of his most important inventions, the phonograph?
How did competition among inventors (for example, the battles between Alexander Graham Bell and Edison) spur new inventions?
Why did many of Edison's young inventors in the Menlo Park and West Orange facilities leave?
Discuss the importance of failures-such as the battle over AC systems or ore-milling–in Edison's career.
Which image fits Edison better: the image of the lone inventor, or the image of the business magnate?
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