Thomas Edison is famously known for his quote; “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ’’ Without a doubt, both Leonardo di Vinci and Thomas Edison were extremely successful; to some extent, it is difficult to compare Leonardo di Vinci to Thomas Edison.  Separated by different cultural periods and almost 415 years,   Leonardo was an engineer, an architect, an artist, a scientist while Edison was also an engineer, an inventor, a businessman and a visionary. Both are regarded as being successful in their fields, both are arguably inventors; both had brilliant minds, both had different types of intelligence and so on.  Leonardo was somehow more of an artistic inventor than Edison was. Yet while Leonardo di Vinci left us his ideas, prototypes, and journals, Thomas Edison left us practical inventions. It is arguable that Leonardo di Vinci was creative and Thomas Edison the innovator though that is actually debatable.

Leonardo is one legend. It is so difficult to list all the accomplishments of one man who accomplished so much in different fields.   Da Vinci was a man blessed with multiple talents he was a painter, an artist, an inventor and so on. To date, few artists can match up to his works that are universally acknowledged as the last supper and Mona Lisa paintings. His artistic career alone is enough for him to be named a legend.  He spent much time on inventions in science and technology.

Some of his inventions are listed as architectural innovations, war machines, water machines, flying machines and land machines. Personally, I admired Da Vinci’s drawings that were far ahead of his time. If you look at his studies and anatomical drawings of internal organs, human skeletons and muscular system are a marvel. Da Vinci’s was visionary as well. He had ideas that were beyond his time like the parachute. Though credit is accorded to Sebastien Lenormand as the inventor of the first practical parachute it is Leonardo who conceived the idea of parachutes years earlier Leonardo left us his sketches, drawings, and prototypes of ideas that provided information of how his inventions would work.

Thomas Edison encompassed innovation as it was known in the 20th century. He helped create institutions for inventions such as the industrial research laboratory that were machine shops in telegraph works. In these shops he created his electric pen that was effective in making stencil document copies, invented the quadruplex that was able to send messages from one wire and developed the system of automated telegraphy. His greatest invention was that accorded him much fame was the cylinder phonograph that could reproduce and record sound. His other inventions included the alkaline storage battery, improvements in the cement manufacturing, created the first motion picture camera, and improved the filament for light bulbs and so on.

Thomas Edison was a designer who had people work for him, so he wasn’t a unique inventor at all. Nonetheless, it’s undeniable that Thomas Edison was an intelligent businessman who had a vision for inventions. It is however difficult to judge who more of an inventor given the differences in time period. You realize that although Da Vinci lived in an era that had no scientific inventions that he could rely on he still made inventions solely by analyzing factors. He had ideas for helicopters, scuba gears, parachutes and many other things ahead of time. Respectfully, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison are differently revered for their contributions.

However, the two men approached their works differently. Leonardo made invention out of nothing while Thomas Edison only improvised existing ideas. Arguably, we cannot to some extent equal Leonardo’s intelligence. Most of his attainments are unattainable at least by most of us. However, conceivably, Edison’s commitment and dedication in his process can be probably be emulated; it just needs dedication and hard work.