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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1 Comment

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