Edison and Menlo Park

Edison set up his research laboratory in Menlo Park, now part of Edison Township, New Jersey. This is where he invented the phonograph and the light bulb. He later moved his home and factories to West Orange, NJ. Nothing is left of his Menlo Park facility. It was already in ruins when Henry Ford bought what was left and moved it to Michigan to be part of the Henry Ford Museum.

On the site today is a tower and a light bulb model you see in the pictures below.

The light bulb is the image of invention. Edison’s inventions in general changed the way we live. Chrissy and I have been visiting Newport, RI and the houses of the rich and famous. They were early adopters of electric lighting. Before that, in a world lit only by sunlight and fire, interior spaces were dark most of the time. You could use candles or kerosene, but it was still pretty dim and you faced the problems of smoke and dangers of fire.

The light bulb was not Edison’s first invention. His first invention was a machine that recorded Morse code. It allowed the much more rapid transmission of telegraph messages. When Edison played it back, he noticed that it made sound and got the idea that he could record other sounds.

The first picture below is the iconic light bulb. Next is the tower that marks the spot of the old Menlo Park laboratory. The third picture is Edison’s chair. Henry Ford bought it, nailed it to the floor and had the chair and the surrounding floor shipped to his collection in Michigan. The last picture is Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a collect of buildings typical of America in the turn of the century. The last two picture are from an earlier trip.  Link to that is here.

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