“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” Thomas Edison is one of the most celebrated inventors in American history and for good reason.
There are so many daily reminders we should be thankful for his brilliant mind, including the electric utility system, movies, our cameras, and waffle bakers. Edison earned 1,093 American patents, a record that still stands till this day. His home and laboratory are open to visitors through the Thomas Edison National Historic Park [211 Main Street West Orange, NJ 07052], there is a $10 fee to enter, but under 16 and America the Beautiful pass holders are free.
You can spend a large portion of your day here and your entrance pass is good for seven consecutive days if you want to return. There is a twenty minute orientation film and a silent movie from 1903 to watch. The laboratory has three levels and you could spend hours dwelling over all of the inventions,
in the chemistry lab metallurgical lab, and machine shop.
In 1877 Edison created the phonograph which could record sound and play it back, the first machine of its kind. Did you see the viral article about the old talking dolls? I didn’t realize that they were Edison’s, and that they would be in his laboratory! Their message is eerie, and it wasn’t much of a success, but it was the worlds first recorded product sold for home entertainment.
The man had a bed in the library of he laboratory and although he spent many hours here it wasn’t his only haunt.
After touring the laboratory, make sure you obtain a car pass to visit Edison’s home, just down the road.
Glenmont is a countryside red brick mansion with 29-rooms filled with lavish items such as a tiger skin rug and stained glass genie bottle window.
During social events Orville Write, Helen Keller, and Henry Ford visited the home. Edison and his wife are buried behind the home in a Japanese style garden. Don’t miss the garage complete with period cars – a Model T was a gift from Henry Ford himself, and the greenhouse which would provide the home with flowers all year long.
We owe so much to Thomas Edison, visiting this fascinating site helps to realize how much he truly changed our world.