Captain of oil
Born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio, Thomas Edison rose from humble beginnings to work as an inventor of major technology. Setting up a lab in Menlo Park, some of the products he developed included the telegraph, phonograph, electric light bulb, alkaline storage batteries and Kinetograph (a camera for motion pictures). He died on October 18, 1931, in West Orange, New Jersey. He was married at the age 16 and his wife died at age 29.
Samuel Gompers was born on January 27, 1850, in London, into a Jewish family which originally hailed from Amsterdam. When he was six, Samuel was sent to the jewish free schools where he received a basic education. His elementary school career was brief, however, as a mere three months after his 10th birthday, Gompers was removed from school and sent to work as an apprentice cigarmaker to help earn money for his impoverished family.
Gompers was able to continue his studies in night school, however, during which time he learned hebrew and studied the talmud, a process which he long later recalled was akin to studying law.