Thomas Edison was a poor student. When a schoolmaster called Edison "addled," his furious mother took him out of the school and proceeded to home school him. Edison said many years later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint. At an early age, he showed a fascination for mechanical things and for chemical experiments.
In 1859, a young Thomas Edison started his first job selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railway. In the baggage car, he set up a laboratory for his chemistry experiments and a printing press, where he started the Grand Trunk Herald, the first newspaper published on a train. An accidental fire forced him to stop his experiments on board.
Around the age of twelve, Thomas Edison lost almost all his hearing. There are several theories as to what caused his hearing loss. Some attribute it to the aftereffects of scarlet fever which he had as a child. Others blame it on a conductor boxing his ears after Edison caused a fire in the baggage car, an incident which Edison claimed never happened. Edison himself blamed it on an incident in which he was grabbed by his ears and lifted to a train.