Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He and his company developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. As the founder of Edison Records and the Motion Picture Patents Company, he was an important early influence on the music and movie industries.

We have managed to assign Edison a tenuous Erdős number of 6, and slightly more justifiable Bacon and Sabbath numbers of 5 and 6, respectively.

Erdős 6

Bacon 5

Sabbath 6


Discovery: ali on the QI forums, ACR, Alex Gray

Photo: public domain.

  1. Although Edison and Francis Upton worked together on the lightbulb, only Edison’s name appears on the patents. Their collaboration can be established by Upton’s expository article in Scribner’s Monthly endorsed by Edison. 
  2. Upton took postgraduate studies in Hermann von Helmholtz’ Berlin laboratory, but left to work with Edison. Although Helmholtz wrote highly of Upton’s skill, we do not have any record of a coauthored publication between the two. 
  3. Edison’s appearance on Chumbawamba’s album Un is a sample of an early phonograph recording of him reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.