Edison easily gained a reputation as being an innovator and inventor. When a new telegraphic machine that showed gold prices at New York's Gold Exchange broke down, Edison was called in to fix it. Not only did he do that, but he also improved it so that the changes in the prices could be registered automatically. Edison's first large sum of money was earned from this project. As Edison recalled: called me into his office and said: 'Now, young man, I want to close up the matter of your inventions. How much do you think you should receive?'
I had made up my mind to that, taking into consideration the time and killing pace I was working at, I should be entitled to $5000, but could get along with $3000. When the psychological moment arrived, I hadn't the nerve to name such a large sum, so I said: 'Well, General, suppose you make me an offer.'
Then he said: 'How would $40,000 strike you?'
This caused me to come as near as fainting as I ever got. I was afraid he would hear my heart beat. I managed to say that I thought it was fair.
'All right, I will have a contract drawn; come around in three days and sign it, and I will give you the money.' This incident increased his popularity as an inventor and greatly influenced his career.