How Thomas Edison Celebrated His Birthday, February 11

February 11th is the birthday of the world’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison. In fact, people around the country celebrate it as “National Inventor’s Day” in his honor!

Edison, however, did not stray very much from his regular day when he celebrated this day. On Edison’s 73rd birthday, he reported to his desk bright and early ready to work. Age meant little to him. 

According to Edison, “There is no reason why men should not live as old as the Sequoia trees of California if they take care of themselves”. 

However, 73 was a special year for him. Since he started his career as a telegraph operator, Edison knew very well that 73 signified “all good wishes” in Morse Code! This would be the first real celebration he had in years.

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Edison received over 200 telegrams & letters wishing him a happy birthday from organizations and prominent figures all over the world including from Henry Ford, Marconi, William Colgate, Gerald Swope, and the Naval Consulting board. Even President Wilson sent a note of celebration!

In fact, you can click here to download the full, heartfelt note from Edison’s best friend, Henry Ford.

At noon, Edison took an uncharacteristic break to attend a luncheon held by the Edison Pioneers to celebrate his birthday. His whole family was with him, except for his son Theodore. Colleagues gave speeches that celebrated Edison and he played with his grandchildren. When they prepared to take a family picture, his wife, Mina reminded him to show that jolliness. She asked him, “Are you looking happy or sober, dear?”

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Outside the luncheon, Edison was stopped by reporters.

Edison shared, “On me birthdays, I like to turn for a moment and look backward over the road I have traveled. Today I am wondering what would have happened to me by now if fifty years ago some fluent talker had converted me to the theory of the 8-hour work day.”

With that, Edison went back to work until the late that night, where he would attend a dance in West Orange with his wife to end the day.


1 thought on “How Thomas Edison Celebrated His Birthday, February 11

  1. Ravi Anantharaman

    From my childhood to this day, Edison has been really an inspirer to the core. From the day when I read the biography of Edison by Glenwood Clerk back in 1971 ( a translation of it), he has been standing very close to my heart. The life of Edison was simply phenomenal. I need not explain. He stood a synonym for a creative man. His boyhood days were really breezy and when I see boys squandering away their creative years, I feel really sad and am always reminded of Edison’s life. When I started my home library in 1972, I gave it the name “Edison Memorial Library” and to this day it has survived. Actually, this library now contains a variety of books covering many fields like science, philosophy, poetry, autobiography, and stories.

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