Author Archives: Edison Innovation Foundation

The Collectable Retro Plastic that Thomas Edison Loved

Let’s play a game! Name this famous material:

  • Thomas Edison used this material in his early disc records
  • Early telephones were made of this durable material
  • Some of the first printed circuit boards used this fascinating material as a base
  • Even dice, billiard balls and dominoes were once made from this materila
  • Many homes had colorful table radios made of this dating back to the 1940s
  • In the 1950s & 60s, teenagers sported small transistorized pocket radios made of this material
  • Women’s jewelry was another popular application for this widely used material
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How Edison inspired the top Innovation Labs of Today

Edison’s greatest gift to mankind was his creation of commercial Research & Design labs. In his invention factory at West Orange, Edison taught us that R&D is a risk reduction process, reducing the risk of launching new products! It eventually fostered the realization that the United States economy and progress is technology driven.

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Harry Roman Receives 2020 Tommy Award for his local Humanitarian Service

Earlier this year, when we published Harry Roman’s 200th Blog, the Edison Innovation Foundation realized it was time to give him some outstanding recognition. 

Roman has been a fan of Thomas Edison since childhood when his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Wilson, suggested he contact the Thomas Edison Company for a science project. The Edison Company’s return letter to Harry included a book entitled “Edison-Inspiration to Youth.”  Fifty years later, an original of that book sells online at a book collector’s price of $180.

After reading the book, Roman was “hooked” on Edison and his work in innovation, invention and research & development. He studied engineering in college and soon started working at PSE&G, our local New Jersey power company.

After a 36-year career at PSE&G and as an inventor of twelve United States patents, Roman started to consult at the Edison Foundations. To be absolutely clear, he is way more than our blog writer. He is a true disciple of Edison.

Along with the 200+ articles on our blog, Roman has also authored voluminous material on current developments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He also helped give birth to one of our biggest programs, the Thomas Edison Pitch Contest, which has grown to a national level 11 years later.

There is a humanitarian side of Roman as well that many of you don’t know. He serves as a volunteer at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, where he gives fascinating tours of the facilities. When he isn’t at the park or consulting for our foundation, Roman travels the New Jersey elementary and middle school education circuit, where he is invited by the teachers to tell Thomas Edison’s inspiring story. For many years, he was also volunteer Board member of the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

It is Roman’s dedication to contributing back to the New Jersey community which highlights his humanitarian side.

For that reason, please join our foundation in honoring Harry Roman with the Edison Innovation Foundation 2020 Tommy Award for Humanitarian Service.

One of Thomas Edison’s most famous quotes says, “There’s a better way to do. Find it.” Harry has done just that!


Thomas Edison’s First Business Venture was born on a Train

A “Candy Butcher” is defined as someone who sells candy, particularly at a fair, carnival, circus, or movie theater. The term was in common use in the mid-1800s and early 1900s to refer to street vendors, often young boys, who would carry around trays of candy and other small goods to sell.

As a young boy, Thomas Edison worked as a candy butcher on the Grand Trunk Railroad trains which ran from from Port Huron to Detroit. He was also a newsboy, selling enough treats and papers together to clear a profit with his confident business demeanor, even as a young boy.

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