- from Thomas Edison
Edison’s family named him Thomas after a great uncle. His middle name, Alva, came from a family friend. As a child, he was called Al. He was called other things, too. There’s a famous story that one teacher called him “addled” (stupid). The teacher didn’t understand that young Al Edison learned by asking questions, not by answering them.
Even as a boy, Edison was curious. He also loved to experiment. Sometimes the results were funny. Sometimes they caused problems. Some stories about his childhood may be partly made up. But there may be a bit of truth in some of them. For example, people say that when Edison was very young, he asked why geese sat on eggs. He was told that mother geese sat on eggs to keep them warm until they hatched. He disappeared for a few hours, until his older sister found him. He was sitting on goose eggs! He was sad that they hadn’t hatched. Other experiments had more dangerous results. At the age of six, Al was interested in fire, so he started a small blaze in his father’s barn. Wind made the flames grow, and the barn burned down. Al escaped the flames. But probably not his father’s anger!