- from Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was given the same first name as a great uncle, and 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” (confused). The teacher didn’t understand that young Al Edison learned by asking questions, not by answering them.
From childhood, Edison showed the curiosity—and the experimental nature—of a scientist. Sometimes the results were funny. Sometimes they nearly caused disasters. Not all the stories about his childhood may be true, but some of them may be partly true. It is said, for example, that when Edison was just a young boy, he asked why geese sat on eggs. After being told that mother geese sat on eggs to keep them warm until they hatched, Al disappeared for many hours. His older sister found him sitting on goose eggs. He was disappointed that none had 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 fanned the flames, and the barn soon burned down. Al escaped the flames, but probably not his father’s anger!