Thomas Edison maintained a research facility in Menlo Park, NJ about 50 miles from New York City, He was called the Wizard of Menlo Park. This is where he invented the phonograph and the light bulb. The Menlo Park in the Bay Area is a city of 33,000 people that is more famous today as the place where Google is. It was the Silicon Valley of Edison’s time, There is also a town named Edison in California. It is about 7 miles from Bakersfield, CA, and the Edison Electric Company had a substation there. There are only about 326 people living in Edison, CA. The facility in New Jersey was far more important to Thomas Edison than the other Menlo Park.
There are towns named Edison in West Virginia. Kansas, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Georgia. They are very small except for the Edison in Georgia which has 1,230 people living in it and was named for the inventor. Most of the Edisons were not named for Thomas. The Kansas Edison, for example, has only 17 people living in it near Goodland and was named for a settler in the area.
Thomas Edison was not spoiled by his family. He was born in Ohio and raised in the Midwest by his mother, and he lived as an adult in New Jersey and Florida mainly. His neighbor in Florida was Henry Ford. He had 6 children to raise and was completely deaf in one ear. He maintained the Menlo Park, NJ facility for 10 years. Most of his patents were for utility products. He added to our knowledge about many things. There is reportedly a museum about Edison and his inventions in Beaumont, TX. I hope to see both it and his summer residence in Fort Myers, FL that has just undergone a major restoration. My favorite quote from him sums up his philosophy about life and his gift for inventing. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas Edison was undeniably a great inventor. Others in his class were the creator of the steamboat named Thomas Fulton and Henry Ford who produced affordable cars for the masses in the form of the Model T. Edison won lots of awards for his inventions and worked with the best minds. One of his acquaintances was Nikolai Tesla, who also played with electricity. Most of his great inventions had to do with electric power and sound reproduction.