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By the age of twelve, Thomas Edison had a job on the Grand Trunk Railway selling newspapers to passengers as the train traveled between Port Huron and Detroit. (An enterprising boy, he was soon publishing his own newspaper, The Weekly Herald, from the baggage car of the train based on news stories gleaned from telegraph offices along the route, using the proceeds to fund his chemistry experiments.)

One day, arriving late at the station just as the train was leaving, Edison jumped from the platform -- and just caught the last step. He was unable, however, to pull himself up. Fortunately, a conductor came to the lad's rescue and pulled him aboard. Less fortunately, the man had pulled Edison up... by his ears!

[Edison later claimed that he had felt something snap in his head. Nonetheless part of him was thankful for his progressive deafness (which was more likely the result of a childhood disease): silence afforded him the ability to concentrate while others were busy talking.]

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