"My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint” – that's what one of the world's biggest inventors and scientists, Thomas Alva Edison, wrote about his mother, Nancy Elliot. She had married Thomas's father Samuel on September 12, 1828. Her own father had been a Revolutionary War hero, and, unlike her husband, she was a devout Presbyterian with some formal education. Obviously she put that education to good use - when her son known back then as just "Al", left school, she taught him at home. That gave stunning results: when Thomas grew up he became a prominent inventor and businessman, who developed devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting practical electric light bulb, he held 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The widespread impact of his inventions is hard to overestimate: electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures established major new industries worldwide.
As we now know, much of that had come from reading R.G. Parker's School of Natural Philosophy and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art as a part of home education run by his mother. She helped him cope with hearing problems.
Although she died when he was 24, she remained his source of inspiration through his life and career.