Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio in 1847. Although his formal education was limited to a few months of school, he became a famous and prolific inventor. He patented over 1,000 inventions, including the phonograph, the mimeograph and the kinetoscope, a forerunner of motion pictures. His name is associated with the invention of the incandescent light bulb and the design of a system for distributing electricity. A clever businessman, Thomas Edison was the founder of the General Electric Company.