After the music, the now well-known voice came from the horn:
“This is the third talk on the career and accomplishments of Thomas Alva Edison:
“In a little while young Edison began to get tired of the humdrum life of a telegraph operator in Boston. As I have told you, after the vote-recorder, he had invented a stock ticker and started a quotation service in Boston. He opened operations from a room over the Gold Exchange with thirty to forty subscribers.
“He also engaged in putting up private lines, upon which he used an alphabetical dial instrument for telegraphing between business establishments, a forerunner of modern telephony. This instrument was very simple and practical, and any one could work it after a few minutes’ explanation.
“The inventor has described an accident he suffered and its effect on him:
“‘In the laboratory,’ he says, ’I had a large induction coil. One day I got hold of both electrodes of this coil, and it clinched my hands on them so that I could not let go!
“’The battery was on a shelf. The only way I could get free was to back off and pull the coil, so that the battery wires would pull the cells off the shelf and thus break the circuit. I shut my eyes and pulled, but the nitric acid splashed all over my face and ran down my back.
“’I rushed to a sink, which was only half big enough, and got in as well as I could, and wiggled around for several minutes to let the water dilute the acid and stop the pain. My face and back were streaked with yellow; the skin was thoroughly oxidized.
“’I did not go on the street by daylight for two weeks, as the appearance of my face was dreadful. The skin, however, peeled off, and new skin replaced it without any damage.’
“The young inventor went to New York City to seek better fortunes. First he tried to sell his stock printer and failed in the effort. Then he returned to Boston and got up a duplex telegraph—for sending two messages at once over one wire. He tried to demonstrate it between Rochester and New York City. After a week’s trial, his test did not work, partly because of the inefficiency of his assistant.
“He had run in debt eight hundred dollars to build this duplex apparatus. His other inventions had cost considerable money to make, and he had failed to sell them. So his books, apparatus and other belongings were left in Boston, and when he returned to New York he arrived there with but a few cents in his pocket. He was very hungry. He walked the streets in the early morning looking for breakfast but with so little money left that he did not wish to spend it.
“Passing a wholesale tea house, he saw a man testing tea by tasting it. The young inventor asked the ‘taster’ for some of the tea. The man smiled and held out a cup of the fragrant drink. That tea was Thomas A. Edison’s first breakfast in New York City.
“He walked back and forth hunting for a telegraph operator he had known, but that young man was also out of work. When Edison finally found him, all his friend could do was to lend him a dollar!