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:

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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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