Edison’s Valuable Memorabilia Celebrates His Vision

Thomas Edison memorabilia and antiques are always good sellers, whether in private transactions or bid situations like on eBay or other forums. Memories of the great inventor are highly collectible. Recently, at auction, a 1911 photo of Edison, bearing his handwritten note and signature, went for over $31,554. The photo had been estimated to have a $5,000 value, so passion for the man’s memorabilia had clearly dominated the bidding. This photo [below] shows Edison cradling his famous nickel-iron, alkaline storage battery; and bearing the note, “I believe time will prove that the Alkaline Storage Battery will produce important changes in our present transportation systems.” The signature at the bottom is known as the famous Edison umbrella signature.

Edison’s Valuable Memorabilia Celebrates His Vision

According to Associated Press who reported this story, the photo was the property of Walter Holland, who worked with Edison on the battery and published his lab reports on the project. Holland was appointed chief electrical engineer of the Edison Storage Battery Company in West Orange, N.J., in January 1911. The photo is dated May 4 of that year.

At the time of this photo, Edison was involved with championing electric vehicles and their batteries as a clean alternative to gasoline powered cars, and of course the ubiquitous horse. Work on this battery, which became one of the most versatile products ever produced by Edison, had been a long and tedious affair, with many failures, and requiring tens of thousands of experiments. His work on this technology is believed to have given birth to one of his famous quotes, “I have not failed 10,000 times, I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” His work on the battery system had begun in the 1890s.

Edison’s Valuable Memorabilia Celebrates His Vision

His rugged batteries also are a popular item that folks collect. These products were used in miner’s hats, lighting railway cars, railway signals, maritime buoys, by the ARMY and Navy and merchant marine and in other applications. It was a forerunner of the durable alkaline batteries we use today. At his West Orange site there was a huge building devoted to nothing but the manufacture of these batteries. In his garage at his nearby home, Glenmont, visitors can see the electric vehicles [and his famous batteries] he and his wife Mina used—as well as one of the first garage-based electric vehicle charging stations he had integrated into the building, exactly what we are talking about today for our garages, but accomplished by Edison in 1908.

Edison’s Valuable Memorabilia Celebrates His Vision

Here we sit 100 years later, promoting the use of electric and hybrid vehicles as a way to reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. Old Tom as usual was right on the money when he speculated back then that we would run out of oil. This technology also fit in nicely with his philosophy about using clean alternate forms of energy like solar and wind. You have got to love the vision of this man, an American original!

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine“Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.
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Help Restore the Edison Electric Cars

An historic treasure of Edison’s electric cars from the 1900-1914 period are awaiting restoration in the Edison garage. Check out this article, and suggested levels of giving below. Be a part of this restoration!

It was built in 1908, and to this day houses one of the earliest electric vehicle charging stations….testimony to Edison’s vision about the importance of electric vehicles and the ability to charge them at one’s residence. Energy savvy folks and writers opine today about electric vehicles being charged in one’s own garage, while Edison was doing it every day … four generations ago. The Edison garage remains home to a variety of the great inventor’s personal cars as well as his wife’s vehicles. This stately structure is on the grounds of his historic home Glenmont.

Front view of garage

Front view of garage

Mina Edison’s Personal Electric Vehicle

Mina Edison’s Personal Electric Vehicle

The Edison Innovation Foundation is busy developing plans to conserve this structure; and inaugurate a new education center for teachers and students on the second floor where visitors will learn about Mr. Edison, the Glenmont site, electric vehicles, practice STEM principles, do special design/invention challenges, and delve into the use and application of alternate energy technologies. The first floor of the structure can hold six vehicles. Special features of its construction include poured concrete walls, a vehicle turntable, a revolving overhead washing system with hose, a battery charging station and a gasoline pump. The second floor of the building once housed the Edison family live-in chauffer and his family.

Edison Battery charging station

Edison Battery charging station

Famous Edison Nickel-Iron Storage Batteries

Famous Edison Nickel-Iron Storage Batteries

Today, the building houses a:

  • 1908 Locomobile
  • 1911 Detroit Electric Model L-1
  • 1914 Detroit Electric Model 47
  • 1922 Ford Model T
  • 1936 Brewster (once belonged to Edison’s son- former. Gov. of NJ 1941-44)

These cars will be conserved, as well as the interior of the garage itself which will be cleaned and re-painted.

Ford Model T, a gift from Henry Ford

Ford Model T, a gift from Henry Ford

1936 Brewster, vehicle owned by Charles Edison

1936 Brewster, vehicle owned by Charles Edison

To show the immense advances in electric vehicles since Edison’s pioneering work, several new state-of-the-art electric vehicles will be obtained and displayed near the original vehicles; and have their own re-charging station. These vehicles will be used for transportation duties, visitor demonstrations, and educational purposes within the Thomas Edison National Historical Park [TENHP], which includes the Glenmont estate and garage.

Readers are encouraged to make a donation to underwrite this projected $2.5 million historic restoration effort-see suggested levels of giving below. We hope you will contribute to making this restoration project a success. Use the “Donate” button on this page, or directly contact the:

Edison Innovation Foundation
Riverfront Plaza
1037 Raymond Blvd.
STE #340
Newark, NJ 07102
973-648-0500

 

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine

We thank you on behalf of the 70,000 visitors who come every year to see the home of the world’s greatest inventor.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

Garage Restoration – Suggested Levels of Giving

Level 1: $1 – $999

  • Recognition of gift on website.
  • Commemorative “Thank You” letter.

Level 2: $1000 – $9999

  • Photograph of Donor with any Edison electric vintage car.
  • Recognition of gift on appropriate signage at the Edison Garage.

Level 3: $10,000 – $99,999

  • Photograph with any Edison electric vintage car.
  • Photograph at Edison’s original desk in his Library.
  • Your name/organization listed on www.edisonmuckers.org.
  • Recognition of gift on appropriate signage at the Edison Garage.

Level 4: $100,000 – $999,999

  • Photograph with any Edison electric vintage car.
  • Photograph at Edison’s original desk in his Library.
  • Your name/organization listed on www.edisonmuckers.org.
  • Recognition of gift on appropriate signage at the Edison Garage.
  • Cocktail party for ten (10) people chosen by you at the Edison Garage on the Edison home lawn including tent.  Drive and display your vintage car.

Level 5: $1 Million and above

  • All of the above.
  • Naming recognition of the Edison Garage with appropriate signage.
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Electric Vehicles + Solar Power Make Thomas Edison Smile

Many energy experts agree that for electric vehicles [EVs] to make faster inroads into reducing the use of foreign oil for traditional gasoline powered cars, there needs to be an infrastructure that will allow for charging EVs while they are parked. Stations located near shopping centers, places of work, and well-traveled areas would be ideal. Imagine driving to work and plugging your EV in at a convenient parking spot, assured you can make it home easily that evening; but wouldn’t it be even way more energy cool to charge your EV using electricity from the sun?

At Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, a new shaded 50 car solar parking structure called the Solar Grove can re-charge EVs. The structure was built by Envision Solar, and fully operational should help avoid about 145,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Check it out here and in the photo below.

Dell’s Parking Lot for Solar Charging of EVs

Dell’s Parking Lot for Solar Charging of EVs

Recently, Bethesda MD implemented a new solar charging station (see photo below), the sixth such facility now operational in Montgomery County. Able to charge two vehicles at a time, this 1,410-watt facility uses a sun-tracking solar array. The system is manufactured by Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR). The charging station would allow drivers of electric vehicles to pull up, swipe a plastic card and plug in their vehicles to be charged. Rob Lundahl, vice president, automation systems for ATR, said an hour of charging will yield roughly 20 miles of travel time for most vehicles. The cost for the system, according to Lundahl, is in the $20,000 range.

Solar Charging Station In Bethesda, MD

Solar Charging Station In Bethesda, MD

Take a look below at what Honda is trying in three cities in Japan to premier its solar charging stations for EVs. The program isn’t just for electric vehicles, but also plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters, and electric carts. Honda will monitor how effective the charging station is at generating electricity, and ways to improve the convenience and usability of the charging station for customers.

Honda Solar Charging Station in Japan

Honda Solar Charging Station in Japan

Of course, you also can install your own solar charging station on the roof of your house or garage and charge your car when the sun is out as well! What would Thomas Edison, famed EV pioneer and storage battery developer, have thought of this? Well, here is his famous early 1900s quote about alternate technologies – “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.”

That settles it!


EDITOR’S DEEP DIVE

Thomas Edison on Time Magazine

“The thing with which I lose patience most is the clock.  It’s hands move too fast.

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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