Edison’s Lab (Dearborn, Michigan)

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan is an AMAZING place and one of the best pieces in the museum is actually a part of Greenfield Village outside of the museum itself. During Thomas Edison’s most inventive years he spent nearly every waking hour of his life in his Menlo Park (New Jersey) laboratories. He did not work alone and often had many brilliant individuals working with him on a variety of inventions that would eventually change the world. It was here – in a room that looked EXACTLY like this that Thomas Edison invented what made him most famous – the electric lightbulb. After ‘failing’ for years he eventually figured out that a carbonized form of cardboard filament burned the longest and most consistently.

Edison famously, said about ‘failure’:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Edison’s Laboratory (Dearborn, Michigan)

Thomas Edison's Laboratory Dearborn Michigan

When Thomas Edison built this lab (in New Jersey) in 1876 it was the first industrial research lab in the United States. A few years later though the lab itself was practically abandoned (he invented the lightbulb on New Year’s Eve 1879). In 1886, Henry Ford recognizing the historical significance of the structures wanted to move them from New Jersey to his property in Dearborn, Michigan to ensure their preservation. Unfortunately, when he went to retrieve the structures he found most of them in complete disrepair. Not ever one to be discouraged he collected photographs from the time that Edison spent there and reconstructed the lab to its exact specifications – two original pieces do remain though – the chair in the middle of this frame and the floorboard that it sits on. These are the exact places that Edison sat when he experimented on thousands of different filaments before finally hitting on the cardboard. Edison – when he saw the reconstruction with his own eyes was awestruck because of how perfect everything was.


Stepping Back in Time

Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan is about ten minutes from where I grew up. As kids we’d take annual field trips here but I never truly appreciated the history of the village and the adjacent Henry Ford Museum. There is so much history in between these two places – including the presidential limo that Kennedy was assassinated in, the rocking chair from the Ford Theater that Lincoln was assassinated in, the bus that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on during civil rights protests, an exact replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory (all buildings built in exact size and scale) that even Edison was amazed at since all of the details – like where varying chemicals were stored – were perfect.

Bicyclists at Greenfield Village – Dearborn, Michigan

Throughout the year, there are many people who work at Greenfield Village and dress in period costumes as the two above are. They were riding old bicycles from the late 1800s and early 1900s – I have gotten into biking the past few years and have a nice, light road bike that I’m sure weighs a fraction of these beasts. The other question that is pretty obvious is how the heck did he get all the way up there? Well just in case you wanted to find out (as I did) – there is a video posted by one of these riders showing how they get on the ‘Ordinary Bicycles’

Societal Norms

I tend to be a ‘conformist’ in that I don’t challenge authority much, while I think independently often I believe rules are established and set in place for a reason and who am I to try and change them. I found this post by Paolo Coelho’s blog interesting. It is about the ‘Importance of Cats in Meditation‘.

Makes you think about why we don’t ask more questions sometimes – instead just taking things at face value. While this is a minor thing (cat’s in meditation) I think the bigger point is that by asking questions and thinking about whether it makes sense we, collectively, have the ability to change things – for better or worse.

Short post today as I’m off to the Cubs-Astros game (which by the way may be the WORST pitching matchup I’ve ever seen – what do you expect from a couple of teams fighting their way to 100 losses though). I’ll be paying close attention to those Monday Night Football games – have some fantasy implications involved. Ray Rice needs to be nice and Rivers needs to struggle a bit.

Photo of the Day – Dream Plane

HDR at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (they let you use tripods – how rare!). I tried to add a slight ‘glow’ effect to the plane to make it appear like you see some of these planes in more recent movies during flashback scenes. I can’t specifically place the movie right now but I know I’ve seen effects like this on the big screen.

Preserved in Time

This is from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI and is an old cobbler/shoe maker shop. It’s pretty cool how they’ve been able to preserve everything.

Photo of the Day

In order to minimize the reflection I stuck my lens against the glass and took the picture. The shop is actually lifesize but I got down low because I wanted to pull in some texture off of the floor.