Why Did Thomas Edison Burn Down a Barn?

Thomas Edison wasn’t a bad boy, he just wanted to see “what would happen if.” That’s how the little fire he started in his father’s barn became a big one.

It was all an experiment. He got into so much trouble experimenting, that his mother used to keep a special birch branch behind the old grandfather clock with which to whip him.

He was whipped so often that the bark soon wore off the branch. He liked to fool around with chemicals in the basement, and his father was sure he was going to burn down the house. His father had good reason to worry.

When he was 10, Edison moved all his chemicals to an old railroad car that the railway people let him use. What harm could there be in letting a young fellow conduct some experiments, they thought.

They thought that way until he started a fire in the railroad car, and that was the end of that. No more experiments with chemicals. Instead, Edison went to work on the railroad at the age of 12, selling candy and newspapers.

He did not stop experimenting, however, and his genius eventually gave us the phonograph, the light bulb, the movie camera, and much more.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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