Category Archives: Did You Know?

Edison Congratulates Around the World Balloon

For just a few hundred dollars, students at Seton Hall Prep [West Orange,
NJ] took a trip around the world…..via a high altitude balloon, often zipping
along at 40,000 to 45,000 feet in Earth’s atmosphere…..where commercial
airliners lurk.
This class at “The Prep” knows well the challenge and excitement of being an
integral part of a STEM team. Their teacher, Dave Snyder, an extraordinary
Science/STEM teacher and mentor, exemplifies student team leadership,
knowing how to harness enthusiastic participation from his high school
Since 2016, his previous student teams have done high altitude balloon
flying, but this team wanted to go for distance, and did they ever–around
the world. And they used Thomas Edison principles of problem solving to
help get there. His school’s STEM teams previously have taken top spots in
the high school division of past Thomas Edison Pitch Contests, a national
contest held annually, sponsored by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Seton Hall Prep students doing the planning work.
Preparing for a launch!

Said Snyder, “We wanted to collaborate on a bold project that would excite
students during COVID; and we wanted to include the remote students.
Students at home and students in the class needed to collaborate and if they
didn’t, the project would have been a disaster.” Clearly it was a soaring
success! Snyder took some guidance from his father’s experience as an
executive. He managed and led this student team as though it was a typical
business effort, where the whole team must work together toward a
common goal. Basically, Snyder did exactly what Edison practiced with his
product development teams. When you have creative people, you inspire
them and get out of the way. Snyder’s students basically did everything
themselves, an amazing series of accomplishments for high school students.
There is magic happening at Seton Hall Prep, and Snyder certainly is in the
middle of it all, a modern version of Tom Edison. 
Here is a terrific site to learn more about this incredible high school project, with explanations and media. As of
this writing, the balloon is on its third trip around the world! 

Path of the balloon…..looks like NASA tracking it!!

What college would not want these students as part of their entering class!
What company would not want incoming employees with these skills.


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!