Posts belonging to Category All About Tom



Thomas Edison and Christmas

Our beloved national holiday bears quite a relationship with Thomas Edison. He being the originator of Christmas lights; first at his Menlo Park labs in 1880 as a publicity stunt; and as a way to get the visiting aldermen of New York City interested in having Edison electrify their Wall Street area (which he ultimately did in 1882). At Menlo Park, Edison strung decorative lights around the facility at night to bedazzle his visitors.

Later in 1882 with a friend and business partner, Edward H. Johnson, the first formal Christmas tree light string was shown on a tree at Johnson’s home. Today, we would not even think about a Christmas tree without lights.

First electric tree lights decorate the 1882 Christmas tree at the home of Edward H. Johnson . The walnut-size red, white and blue bulbs were specially made by Edison’s staff.

First electric tree lights decorate the 1882 Christmas tree at the home of Edward H. Johnson . The walnut-size red, white and blue bulbs were specially made by Edison’s staff.

Every holiday season, Edison’s beautiful home at Glenmont is filled with happy grown-ups and kids who take tours through the mansion, re-living the Victorian-era Christmas season. Curatorial staff also display some vintage Christmas cards sent to the Edison’s.

Enjoy the photos below…and Merry Christmas!

Looking from the dining room into the family den where the main Christmas tree was normally located--with original children’s gifts shown under the tree. Dinner for family & friends-30 folks could be seated for the festive feast.

Looking from the dining room into the family den where the main Christmas tree was normally located–with original children’s gifts shown under the tree. Dinner for family & friends-30 folks could be seated for the festive feast.

Is that vaulted ceiling above the big tree angelic or what!

Is that vaulted ceiling above the big tree angelic or what!

This view greets all visitors to Glenmont at Christmas- the incredible main staircase to the second floor; and to the right the dining room and Christmas tree. It’s a showstopper for all who like to “Ohhhh” and “Ahhhh”.

This view greets all visitors to Glenmont at Christmas- the incredible main staircase to the second floor; and to the right the dining room and Christmas tree. It’s a showstopper for all who like to “Ohhhh” and “Ahhhh”.

The first floor tea room / visitor’s room decked out in holiday color.

The first floor tea room / visitor’s room decked out in holiday color.

The Edison bedroom fireplace and mantle colorfully decorated.

The Edison bedroom fireplace and mantle colorfully decorated.

Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

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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Thomas Edison Statue Arrives!

A beautiful seven-foot likeness of Thomas Edison in middle age is now installed at Thomas Edison National Historical Park [TENHP], the site of Edison’s legendary West Orange Labs. The five hundred pound likeness was sculpted by Alan Cottrill.

Mr. Edison is “in the house”!

Mr. Edison is “in the house”!

Resting on a concrete base, the Edison image in West Orange is likely to be the focal point of many visitor photos and folks pondering the many things the great inventor did for humanity. Just over his right shoulder in the photo, can be seen the top portion of the Black Maria, the world’s first motion picture studio.

Edison, the man who turned darkness to light

Edison, the man who turned darkness to light

Soon to be installed next to the statue will be this inscription …

“This Edison statue was created by Alan Cottrill, who sculpted a substantially similar one now displayed in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol. In his right hand, Edison offers the light bulb (his major achievement); while in his left hand, a notebook recording progress on his experiments is evident. Throughout his life, Edison filled many laboratory notebooks, inspiring his 200 scientists and engineers to create more innovative ideas to improve humankind. This became the basis for his invention factory concept, later to be re-named R&D labs. Stand beside him, feel his presence and take your picture with the “Man of the Millennium”. There is a bit of Edison in all of us. Don’t be afraid to set it free!”

No doubt, this statue will bring many visitors to the site, especially young school students who study STEM related activities– whose underlying philosophy of teamwork, research, invention and creativity are synonymous with what went on here at West Orange, and ultimately improved the standards of living for the entire world.

Go to thomasedison.org for more info on the statue and an opportunity to win free tickets to the Edison Park in West Orange and an Apple gift card

“Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

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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Thomas Edison – A Founder of the Electric Utility Industry

Thomas Edison in 1882 in New York City operated the world’s first modern electric utility system. Known as the Pearl Street Station, it serves to this day as the model for generating and distributing electric power.

Modern power station

Modern power station

As we watch more renewable energy technologies like solar and wind come on line, many experts wonder about the fate of today’s electric utilities. The sun does not always shine and the wind is subject to long lulls. How will this impact the reliability of electricity we have come to expect; and to the digital economy so important to our economic growth? Does this mean we need to co-install massive energy storage facilities either in a centralized or distributed fashion as more and more solar and wind systems are put into service?

Wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels

Wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels

Renewable advocates are loudly proclaiming a total solar/wind energy grid by mid-century. While it is technically feasible, is it a wise path? Wouldn’t a diverse energy mix be more logical and desirable? Back in the 1970s, the world learned a harsh lesson when too much of its energy economy was invested in oil. Is it wise to swing back to the other end of the energy spectrum for philosophical and political reasons?

While Edison did originate our modern electric utility system, he did have a great sense of what the future might hold. Consider his quote, circa 1910……

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Stay tuned for the many discussions you will likely hear about our nation’s energy future; and remember…..Thomas Edison is still relevant in the discussion!

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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