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Thomas Edison
(11 February 1847 – 18 October 1931)


Who was Thomas Edison?

Thomas Alva Edison was born on 11 February 1847 in Milan, Ohio. He was a brilliant American scientist and inventor who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world.

Edison was thrown out of school when he was 12 because he was thought to be not intelligent.

Edison is one of the greatest inventors and industrial leaders in history.

Why is Thomas Edison famous?

Thomas Edison held a world record of 1093 patents for inventions such as the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.


"Mary had a little lamb" - The very first voice recorder

In 1877, Edison created a way to record sound on tinfoil cylinders by using two needles, one for recording and one for playback. The first words that Edison recorded were "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

image: phonograph
Edison Standard phonograph

Also on this day ....

11th February 1990 - Nelson Mandela is released from prison after 27 years.
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. In the 1940s he led the movement to end South African apartheid (South Africa’s system of white supremacy and segregation of races). He was arrested because of his views and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Imagine not being able to do things because you have the wrong colour skin. In South Africa, when Nelson Mandela was a boy, people were treated differently because of the colour of their skin. Non-white people, for example, couldn't use libraries, beaches, parks and toilets that were reserved for white people.

Today, thanks to the self-sacrifice of Nelson Mandela, apartheid has been outlawed. Everyone in South Africa now has an equal opportunity at home and at work to live comfortable, productive lives.

Nelson Rohihlahla Mandela, born on 18 July 1918, became the first black president of South Africa on 10 May 1994.


Oxfam Education
Explore the life of Nelson Mandela and the difference between fact, fiction, and opinion with lessons for ages 10–11.

Assembly on Nelson Mandela


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