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)
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.