Lesson 1 : The Inventor Who Kept His Promise

Lesson 1 : The Inventor Who Kept His Promise – James Russell Lowell 

UP Board 10th English Supplementary Reader Lesson 1 written by James Russell Lowell.

Passage – 1

When you want to read at night, you simple press a switch and the electric lamp gives you light. Do you know who invented the electric lamp? He was an American name Thomas Elva Edison.

Passage – 2

Even in his childhood Edison loved to do experiments. He was fond of asking questions and he was never satisfied till he got the right answers. There are many stories about his childhood and here are a few of them.

Passage – 3

One day when young Edison was at school, the teacher was telling the children a story about the birds. He got up and asked the teacher, “Madam, why can’t man fly like a bird?”
“Because man has no wings,” replied the teacher.
The young boy thought for a moment and asked her again, “But kites have no wings and still we can fly them in the sky.”

Passage – 4

All the other boys laughed and the teacher lost her patience. She thought, the boy was stupid and naughty and she asked his parents to take him out of school. His parents took him home but they knew that he was not a stupid boy. Edison was just eight years old when this happened.

Passage – 5

Young Edison found in his mother his best teacher. She was patient enough to answer all his questions and with her help and guidance he made good progress. He used to observe things very closely and do a lot of experiments. Some of his experiments were silly but he learnt a lot from them.

Passage – 6

One morning he was watching a bird. It flew down to the ground, picked up a few worms in its beak and flew away. This gave young Edison an idea. “The birds is able to fly because it eats worms! Man can also fly if he eats worms,” he said to himself. He wanted to try the experiment on someone. He caught hold of a few worms, beat them into a pulp and mixed it in water. He took the mixture to a servant girl and said to her, “This is a wonderful mixture. If you drink this, you can fly like a bird. Come on drink it and see.”

Passage – 7

The poor girl believed him and drank the mixture. Well, she didn’t fly but she fell ill. Young Edison’s mother warned him not to do such silly experiments.

Passage – 8

Once he went to a poultry farm with his mother. There he saw a hen. It was sitting on its eggs. He asked his mother about it and she answered, “The hen is hatching its eggs. After sometime chickens will come out of the eggs.” “Why can’t I hatch eggs?” thought young Edison. The next morning he got a dozen eggs and sat on them. He got up after sometime but he did not find any chickens. He had only smashed the eggs and spoiled his shirts. He got a good beating from his mother that day.

Passage – 9

A really funny boy, wasn’t he? He failed in all these experiments, be he had learnt something from them. He had had learnt that his ideas were wrong. He was fond of books and read quite a lot of them. His father gave him twenty-five cents for every book he read. He read widely with the pocket money he got, he bought more books and set up a small laboratory. His mother encouraged him and helped him in his experiments.

Passage – 9

After sometimes Edison found that he needed more money to carry on his experiments. And he wanted more books as he had read all the books he had at home. He wanted to go out and see new places and new people. He wanted to read new books and to improve his knowledge. So he decided to take up a job in the railway. At first, his parents did not like this idea as he was just twelve years old.

Passage – 10

But they agreed when he gave them good reasons for his decision. So Edison became a newspaper boy and travelled up and down the train to Detroit. He sold newspapers, sweets and fruits and earned two dollars on the first day. He said to his mother at supper that night. “Take this dollar, mother. Every night I shall give you a dollar from what I earn.” And he kept his promise.

Passage – 11

A year or two later Edison decided to produce his own newspaper. He bought an old printing press and set it up in his railway wagon. He edited and printed his paper, sold a number of copies and made more money. With the money he got, he set up small laboratory in his railway wagon.

Passage – 12

When his was fifteen he met with and accident that effected his career. While he was doing an experiment in his laboratory, the train round a corner. There was a sudden jolt and bit of phosphorus fell on the floor of his carriage and it caught fire. Before he could put it out, the newspapers had caught fire.

Passage – 13

The fire spread and Edison shouted for help. The guard came in and together they were able to put out the fire, but that was the end of Edison’s service on the train. He was dismissed at the next station.
The next five years, Edison took up jibs in different cities. He made good use of the libraries and met experts in factories and workshops. He asked them questions, learnt a lot from them and worked harder at his experiments.

Passage – 14

During this period, he was out of a job for a short time and was staying with a friend. This young man was working in a company there. In that company they had an important machine. One day the machine stopped suddenly. Edison was there at the time. He had took a look at the machine and repaired it within a short time. The manager of the company liked Edison and gave him a good job. Edison paid off his debts and improved is laboratory.

Passage – 15

The next six years, Edison made a series of inventions. One invention followed another quickly and Edison earned more fame and money. In 1877, he was working on a machine that could reproduce the human voice. The next year, he actually made one. It was then called the talking machine. We call it the Gramophone now. The same year, he was invited to the White House in Washington.

Passage – 16

That is the name of the house where the President of the United Stated of America lives. Edison went there to show his new successful and prosperous. He owed all this to his mother’s help and encouragement and to his own hard work.

Passage – 17

In March, 1878, he began to work on and electric lamp. People used candles and oil lamps in those days. They did not have electric lights. Edison promised to give them electric light in two years. When he said this, all the scientists laughed laughed at him. They said that it was impossible, but Edison was not worried at all. He worked harder and harder.

Passage – 18

He performed a thousand experiments but all of them failed. But he did not give up hope. “I must keep my promise to the people”, he said to himself and worked harder still. He was racing against time. At last, he succeeded in making an electric bulb after nearly one thousand and two hundred experiments. On New Year’s Day, 1880 he and his workers put up electric light at his laboratory.

Passage – 19

People from all over America came to see that grand sight. Edison had kept his promise to the people. On 4th September, 1882, for the first time, New York shone in the brightness of electric light.

Passage – 20

Edison served his country during the First World War. He made forty war time inventions and was awarded a medal for his service. In 1929 the Silver Jubilee of the invention of electric bulb was celebrated in a grand manner. The President of the United States of America received him and honoured him at a big function. Edison go up at the function to thank the President but suddenly fell ill.

Passage – 21

His illness become worse and he died on Sunday morning of 18th December, 1931. Thus ended the great and eventful life of a man who enriched human life and happiness. He said once, “I shall never invent anything which will destroy life. I want to make people happy.” He also said, “The world has been in darkness too long. I would like to give to the world more laughter and more light.” He kept his word. His gramophone has brought us more laughter and his electric lamp has given us more light.

Passage – 22

Today our country and the world needs more men like Edison. Every boy and girl should follow his great example.