Thomas Edison Net Worth

Hardly an hour goes by that you don't use one of Thomas Edison's inventions. He was the greatest American inventor of all time with 2,332 worldwide patents and a pioneer of the modern industrialized world with a net worth of $170 million.

Thomas Edison Net Worth
Net Worth:$170 million
Born:February 11, 1847
DiedOctober 18, 1931
Country of Origin:United States
Source of Wealth:Inventions, Business
Last Updated:2023


Thomas Edison is an American inventor and businessman who had a net worth of $170 million at the time of his death on October 18, 1931, (In 1931 he was worth $12 million, today that sum equals $170 million after inflation adjustments).

He was the only American inventor who had 1,093 patents awarded, with patents in the United States and 2,332 worldwide patents. Some people think that he is a fraud, others think that he is a genius and one of the pioneers of the modern industrialized world.


  • Edison made up fake news as a joke or maybe to get known even more in Forbes magazine when he had the chance to talk to Bertie Charles.
  • Edison’s relationship with Nikola Tesla: They are both great inventors partners that are working hard for a piece of the same pie. People said a lot of things but the truth is that tesla worked for Thomas’s company for a while but they stopped collaborating because they had different ideas, nothing more.
  • When Thomas Edison interviewed candidates for research assistant positions, he offered them a bowl of soup to see if they going to taste it before or after the salt.
  • Edison got backing from J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family, we know that he managed to make some money from his parents but, he still needed funding for some of his projects.
  • The footballer pele’s named after Thomas Edison, so his father named him Edson Arantes do Nascimento but the name got lost because everyone calls him pele.
  • The first home powered by Edison‘s direct current (DC) system was J.P morgan which was one of his investors.


thomas edison early life
Thomas Edison early life

Thomas Alva Edison was born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan after his family moved there in 1854. Edison had hearing problems from an early age and that led him later to deaf. His hearing problem made his mother, who was a teacher, to withdraw him from school and start teaching him at home. Edison’s parents’ home had a big library full of books and a laboratory where Edison spent his time learning and experimenting.

Being deaf didn’t stop Edison from getting a job to help himself and his family because of their tough financial situation, at the age of 12 he started selling newspapers and snacks to train travelers, he also publishes his own newspaper, called “The Weekly Herald making” him $50 of profit, that made Edison net worth started to grow.

Working on the train got Edison to discover the telegraph operators and was fascinated by their machines. After being kicked out from the railway, Edison became a telegraph traveling operator for “western union” in 1866 at the age of 19. He worked nights and then came home to carry on his own project in the lab during the day. But after a few months, he got fired from the job because of his experiment in working hours.


thomas edison career

Edison’s first patent and invention was In 1869 with his electric automated vote-counting machine, She didn’t get much interest from politicians. But Edison didn’t stop and he started another new project, the multiplex telegraph system that allows sending two simultaneous messages in two directions on a single wire in 1874.

Edison sold the quadruplex telegraph to “Western Union” for the sum of $10,000 ($228,700 in today’s dollars), it was a large sum at that time and that increased Edison’s net worth. Edison invented this money to build the first industrial research laboratory in history, the famous facilities in Menlo Park, New Jersey with a cost of $2,500 ($50,000 in today’s dollars). Then he hired a large team of scientists and researchers to help him improve his technologies and innovation.

thomas edison Phonograph

In 1877 Edison invented the Phonograph, which was a big success. People were so fascinated with the machine, so they started calling him “the wizard of Menlo Park”. The machine wasn’t perfect, the sound quality wasn’t good and you can play the recordings only a few times, But the invention made him so famous. Edison Phonograph Company made $10,000 for the manufacturing and sales. The Phonograph early days was sold for $150 for a piece, which make Thomas Edison’s net worth skyrocket.

thomas edison telephone transmitter

Edison continued his invention by working on the telephone transmitter or the microphone because he thought the bells were too quiet, but the reality is that Edison was deaf. In 1877 he finished his carbon microphone project so he could improve the telephone for “western union”. In 1886 Edison found a way to improve the telephone bell and the microphone and in 1890 this improvement was used in all telephones.

In 1878 Edison began working to improve the light bulb, he started thinking of the best way he could improve it using gas and oil. The problem was that the lamp couldn’t stay for long and the material inside it burned. Finally to make the light bulb work for a long time and cheap for commercial purposes, Edison used a carbon filament or strip coiled and connected to platina contact wires.

In December Later that year, Edison created the “Edison Electric Light Company” in New York City funded by several financiers, including J. P. Morgan. After the success that the light bulb had, Edison began working on the first Electric power distributor. In 1882 Edison laid underground wires to distribute 110 volts of direct current DC on Pearl Street Station, New York City.

Westinghouse Electric

The competition started to show, Westinghouse Electric was using the alternating current (AC) systems designed by Nikola Tesla, which had many advantages over Edison’s DC system, special for the transmission of AC into long distances using cheaper wires. Edison tries to fight back by making a public demonstration where he tortures animals to show people that the alternating current is dangerous.

The War of the Currents

The War of the Currents

The war of the current started when Thomas Edison developed the DC (Direct current) electrical power system and hired Nikola Tesla to help him improve the system. After working with Edison Tesla discovered how to make his system, the AC (Alternative Current) system that uses a transformer voltage for a long-distance transmission was efficient and less expensive.

In 1888 George Westinghouse bought the patent for Tesla’s AC generator, After his deal, Tesla’s AC has spread rapidly through the manufacturers and cities. Edison got worried and started questioning publicly the safety of the AC system, he said “Just certain as death, Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in a system of any size.”

He was so dedicated to discrediting Tesla, Edison began to give kids 25 cents when they bring him a stray dog so he can electricity them with AC dynamos until they die. Edison didn’t stop only at Dogs, He started electrifying horses, calves, and even a big elephant. Edison made the death of the animal very slow so it can make the public uncomfortable with the use of the AC system.

Tesla didn’t respond to Edison’s games, The cheap cost and performance of the AC system got proven in 1893 and won the bid to supply electric power for the world’s Columbian Exposition, Tesla had Officially won the war of the currents. Edison gave up on the electric power business, his net worth decreased and then he founded another company that added AC technology to its systems.

In 1892 because of the small profits from the Edison company, J. P. Morgan kicked off Edison from his own company and merged Edison General Electric with Thomson-Houston so they Formed “General Electric” that continued the competition with “Westinghouse“.

West Orange lab

After the death of his first wife in 1884, Edison moved to Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey. He then bought 13 acres of property in Fort Myers, Florida that cost $2,750 and built a winter retreat. Edison built his West Orange lab that occupied two large city blocks with a cost of $180,000 where he continued to work on his inventions.

Edison was credited with making the first commercial machine that used X-rays to take radiographs, it was named the fluoroscope. Later he discovered the calcium tungstate fluoroscopy screens produced brighter images. The tasimeter was invented by Edison but he didn’t patent it since he didn’t find it practical for commercial uses.

Edison got a patent for the Kinetograph, a motion picture camera, which he collaborated with William Kennedy Dickson to build, then Edison built the kinetoscope.



thomas edison Phonograph

Carbon telephone transmitter

thomas edison telephone transmitter

Electric light

Electric power distribution

thomas edison Electric power distribution


Fluoroscopy thomas edison


tasimeter thomas edison

Telegraph improvements

telegraph improvements thomas edison

Motion pictures

thomas edison motion pictures

Rechargeable battery


Thomas Edison married at the age of 24 to the 16 years old Mary Stillwell, together they had three children Marion Estelle Edison Oeser, Thomas Alva Edison, Jr., and William Leslie. Their first two children were nicknamed dot and dash just like the sound used in the telegraph operators. Suddenly Edison’s wife died in 1884, later that year he met Mina Miller she became his second wife they moved to west orange, new jersey. After a period of time, they had three children Madeleine Edison Sloan, Charles Edison, and Theodore Edison. Edison spent most of his time working in the lad and less time with his family. On October 18, 1931, Thomas Edison died leaving a net worth of $170 million.

FAQ About Thomas Edison

How much was Thomas Edison worth?

At the time of his Death, Thomas Edison Net worth is $170 million.

What was Thomas Edison’s net worth when he died?

At the time of his death On October 18, 1931. Thomas Thomas Edison’s net worth was $170 million.


  • When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this, you haven’t.
  • Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have.
  • The man who doesn’t make up his mind to cultivate the habit of thinking misses the greatest pleasure in life.
  • Fools call wise men fools. A wise man never calls any man a fool.
  • Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.
  • A genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.
  • When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes.
  • Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.
  • The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.
  • The thing I lose patience with the most is the clock. Its hands move too fast.


Check out the best books about Thomas Alva Edison.


Hardly an hour goes by that you don’t use one of Thomas Edison’s inventions. He was the greatest American inventor of all time with 2,332 worldwide patents and a pioneer of the modern industrialized world. Thomas Edison’s Net Worth at his death was $170 million.

Edison had a Successful life, he was the first inventor that started a lab and hired a team of scientists to help him improve his projects. The War of the Currents was the hardest time in Thomas Edison’s life he worked hard to win it but he wasn’t good enough as Nikola Tesla.

Edison had 6 children with two wives but wasn’t the best father, he was working all the time and focused less on his family life.

What do you think about Thomas Edison’s Net worth? Leave a comment below.