Thomas Edison submits his last patent application.

Thomas Edison wasn’t just smart – he was the kind of kid who set up a chemistry lab in the basement his home at the tender age of 10. He began studying science in earnest soon after, becoming a prolific inventor with a view for the practical. Over the course of his life, Edison secured 1,093 patents for his inventions.

On this day, January 6th, in 1931, just two days before his death Edison executed his last patent application. True to form for a man who spent his whole life working with electricity, the patent was for a component of an electroplating process.

Edison’s favorite invention was the phonograph – a device borne out his work with the telephone and telegraph, using specialized needles on tinfoil-coated cylinders to record and replay sound. Some years later, after completing his work on the light bulb, Edison improved and commercialized his invention, creating discs onto which there was recorded sound – a precursor to the modern-day compact disc.

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