Underrated Entrepreneur, Thomas Edison’s overlooked business story

by Blaine McCormick and Paul Israel

Thomas Edison is remembered more as an inventive genius than as a businessman. Some may know he was granted more patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office than any other person, 1,093 patents to be exact. Fewer know that he also started over 100 businesses and partnerships, some of which survive to this day. Edison is known around the world for inventing a practical and commercially successful incandescent electric light bulb. However, Edison also invented (or helped invent) entire industries, including the electric, music, motion picture, and battery industries. We will look at how Edison succeeded as an inventor primarily because he was better than his competitors at marshaling the forces and institutions of business. Continue reading