Posts belonging to Category All About Tom



Thomas Edison – On the Road Again

Between 1914 and 1924, American giants explored the woods and rural byways of America, in then Model T type vehicles. Some say they started the recreational camping craze that persists today.

Their arrival may first have been witnessed as a dusty caravan, jostling along some unpaved country road; or perhaps you and your horse stumbled upon their encampment, under aromatic balsam and fir trees-dinner al fresco tantalizing your nose.

The vagabonds-Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone

The vagabonds-Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey Firestone

Thomas Edison usually navigated the entourage in the lead vehicle with his trusty compass. Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and famed environmentalist and prolific nature author John Burroughs in tow-all at a time when car travel over long distances was fraught with many hardships. Not to worry though, America’s preeminent mechanic, Henry Ford, was at the ready to keep the caravan rolling; and of course they rode on Firestone tires. Mr. Burroughs regaled the gang with his nature stories and keen observations.

It is all nicely told and interpreted at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFOOEShDEpo

Check this one out too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzuVsCfuHRg

It was these trips that got the Edison juices flowing for using native plants as a feedstock for artificial rubber-Tom’s last great research project.

Fine dining under the balsam and fir tree canopy

Fine dining under the balsam and fir tree canopy

In later years, the wives accompanied them on their eclectic sojourns, unstructured on purpose to promote relaxation, discussion and a re-connecting with nature. Ford even designed for their convenience two motorized “chuck wagons” to accompany the vagabond adventures.

The motor car decentralized the railroad, much like cell phones did to hard-wired telephone exchanges and other forms of traditional communications like “watching TV”. These men had changed the world and were exploring how it brought rural America into focus, and accessible. Perhaps it brings back memories and the excitement of the summer camps of your youth! Kind of reminds me of Willie Nelson’s iconic song … ”On the Road Again”. The vagabonds had their own kind of generational music.

Rise and shine lads!

Rise and shine lads!

Thomas Edison said, “The world owes nothing to any man, but every man owes something to the world.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison Receives an Academy Award

In 1929, Edison was given one of the first honorary Academy Awards for his work in founding the motion picture industry. This celebration marked the approximate 40-year anniversary of the original motion picture achievements of Edison, and his building of the first motion picture studio—the Black Maria.

Movie film magic started at West Orange where many early short films were originally made and commercialized. This later gave way to longer films, generally shot on location and/or in a larger better equipped studio in New York City.

A 1954 reproduction of the original Black Maria –the world’s first motion picture studio at TENHP.

A 1954 reproduction of the original Black Maria –the world’s first motion picture studio at TENHP.

The 1931 Edison Academy Award

The 1931 Edison Academy Award

That honorary academy award now hangs in Edison’s famous library/office at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park (TENHP) in West Orange, NJ. Over forty of the great artists of the time including Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Sarah Bernhardt signed their names on the award parchment.

With this new film industry, the first Hollywood and major film production companies took root in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In the early 1900s, Universal and 20th Century Fox studios were born in Fort Lee; and prior to WWI, there were 17 movie studios in town, employing many of the people there. By the mid- 1920s, the high cost of heating these studios and sunnier skies beckoned elsewhere, and the Hollywood we know today was born; but Fort Lee was America’s first film town.

Later, famed actors Mickey Rooney [Young Tom Edison, March-1940] and Spencer Tracy [Edison, the Man, May-1940] both portrayed Edison on the big screen.

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison, as Green as St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patricks Day

Happy St. Patricks Day

Every year in the town of West Orange, home to the legendary Thomas Edison, lab and home, (National Historical Park), a vintage 1922 Model T automobile, given to Thomas Edison by Henry Ford, is driven in the large St. Patrick Day parade. This year marks the 66th year of that big parade.

During the parade, a park ranger drive the antique ford, chaperoning the superintendent of the park and family.

 

The Model T bringing up the rear of the parade 

The Model T bringing up the rear of the parade

The rangers celebrate in front of the Model T

The rangers celebrate in front of the Model T

Normally, the Model T is housed in the Edison garage, which is sited on the historic home estate known as Glenmont. Here it is accompanied by two early Detroit Electric vehicles that were driven by his wife Mina, a 1914 Model 47 and a 1911 Model L-1.

Edison’s garage at Glenmont

Edison’s garage at Glenmont

Edison nickel-iron storage batteries

Edison nickel-iron storage batteries

What is so unique about this garage is its history as probably the first to have an electric vehicle charging station integrated within.

Thomas Edison was using an overnight charging station here, way back in 1908, when the building was originally built [using his famous Portland cement formulation].

Today, we think it is quite sophisticated to charge our electric cars in our garages. Old Tom was doing it over 100 years ago.

 

Original Edison electric vehicle charging station in Glenmont garage batteries

Original Edison electric vehicle charging station in Glenmont garage batteries

Environmentally, the garage is “as green as St. Patrick’s Day”. The batteries used in the vehicles are the famous Edison nickel-iron storage batteries, built at his nearby West Orange manufacturing complex, and whose rugged battery technology ushered in what we today refer to as alkaline storage cells.

Currently, the vehicles in the Edison garage are undergoing a conservation process to protect them against aging. The garage itself is being renovated with plans to convert it into a STEM education center for use by the many teachers and students who visit the park every year.

Contributions to help the Edison Innovation Foundation and Charles Edison Fund renovate the garage and cars are always appreciated:

DONATE NOW

Thomas Edison said, “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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