The 1800’s were full of innovative individuals, but there are few that set the precedent for the way we live our lives today. It is due to these individuals that we are able to progress in technology due to their revelations in electrical, and communication tech. Take a look at our top 3 innovators of the 19th century.


Thomas Edison

Born in February 1847, to an exiled political activist father and a teacher mother, Edison was the youngest of 7 children. He only received several weeks of formal schooling before being homeschooled by his mother thereafter. At a young age, he sold newspapers to travelers and through this gathered information necessary to eventually start his own newspaper, the “Grand Trunk Herald” Later, he got a dealt a hand of good karma after saving an infant from a nearly fatal accident. The child’s father gave Edison his first job as a telegraph operator.  He seeked out and received other jobs, which he was later fired form for conducting experiments during work hours.

He later fled to New York to pursue a career as an inventor and this began with his first real invention… the stock ticker which he later sold to  the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company for $ 40,000. During the 1870’s, after finishing his experiments in NY, he moved to Newark Nj, hired a machinist and dedicated most of his work to the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, iron ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. After that, he turned his focus on the incandescent electric light bulb and developed the first practical one that finally worked. Overall, though he  developed thousands of ideas and obtained 1093 finalized US patents, the inventions he is best known for are the,stock ticker, phonograph, first practical electric light bulb, motion picture camera, mechanical vote recorder and a battery for an electric car. Though we take a lot of this technology for granted today, it is the foundation for many things we do on a daily basis, such as turning on the light as you walk into work. Citation: Thomas Edison Biography –

Alexander Graham Bell

Born in 1847 in Edinburgh Scotland, Alexander Graham Bell is famous for the invention of the telephone, but his life previous to that is usually left out. Graham Bell’s father taught elocution to deaf children and invented a Visual system to help the deaf learn to communicate visually, but Bell was taught mostly by his mother who was a gifted artist and pianist despite being deaf. While following in his father’s footsteps and teaching elocution, he also was very curious as to how to perfect the harmonic telegraph. The goal was to transmit several messages over a single wire… simultaneously. On top of this, he thought it was possible to send voice messages over wires as well and dedicated his career to proving this theory.

On March 10, 1876, he produced the first intelligible telephone call where the words  “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you” were heard over a wire. After a legal battle for the rights to the invention, he won and later established the Bell Telephone Company. Interestingly enough, his interests later changed to boating and he began innovating in that realm as well. Though he didn’t invent the modern cell phone, it was his basis for communication technology that suggested that transferring information like this was even possible. Citation: Alexander Graham Bell biography –


Nikola Tesla

Nikola tesla, known as the Father of Radio was a one of a kind individual. Labeled a genius from a young age, with an eidetic memory and a knack for electrical innovation. This was definitely in his genes as his mother was constantly creating household devices in her spare time. In university, he was a brilliant student until he fell victim to a gambling addiction. This later resulted in him not being able to obtain a degree. Later in his life, though he was a great inventor, he dealt with poverty due to his lack of money management skills. He worked under Thomas Edison to help optimize his generators using AC current, but was tricked out of a supposedly promised pay day.

In regards to his innovative contributions to society, it is safe to say that this genius provided great foundation for better businessmen to take over. His improvement to the electricity transmission system, and the creation of the AC current proved to be his greatest feat. It was more efficient than Edison’s DC current system. He also came up with the Tesla coil (which transformed energy into an extremely high voltage) and had contributions in x-ray and and radar and radio technology. It was due to all these innovations that we remember him as one the greatest innovators of the 19th century. Citation : Nikola Tesla Biography-