Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931).

The Wizard of Menlo Park.

Edison was the first inventor to apply the principles of mass production and teamwork to the process of invention. The first corporate inventor. A prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name and many more worldwide. He brought light to the 20th Century. Literally.
Here are just some of his inventions:

Phonograph, electrical Vote Recorder, Electricity distribution system, Stock Ticker, Telegraph improvements, Incandescent electric light, Kinematograph (motion picture camera), First commercial fluoroscope (for X-Ray examinations), Carbon microphone and many more.

  • Here is a link to the NPS site with an in-depth symposium on The Origins of Sound Recording. Excellent set of videos, starting with this one. Edison’s Path to the Phonograph.