What do you notice about this photograph of Thomas Edison in his lab?

Thomas Alva Edison is one of the luminaries of the twentieth century and American history. His inventions, which included x-rays, incandescent light bulbs, phonographs, rechargeable batteries, harnessing the power of electricity and providing it to the masses, and the Vitascope (to film movies), transformed the whole world.

There’s a lot to say about America’s most famous inventor, but today I have just one thing to share about him. The Henry Ford Archives has this interesting photo of Edison standing in his West Orange laboratory around 1910.

Does anything strike you as curious about this photograph? I wonder if anyone else had the same thought I did about this photo.

Thomas Edison in the West Orange Laboratory, circa 1910
Credit From the Collections of The Henry Ford
Object ID 84.1.1630.P.B.99552

11 Comments

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  1. There’s so much here! He obviously had electrical lights working in his shop and probably, his home/dining room in the background. He is holding his famous version of the lumens or whatever it was called lightbulb. Also, look at how high up all the “electrical appliances” which I wouldn’t have imagined existed then are placed above his head, maybe he converted them all as well? Who knows, mysteries abound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do not have any respect for Thomas Edison. I wish someone would write a book and compile all the unethical things he did and what a scam he was. He stole patents, From his interns, electrocuted elephants and peoples pets, he stole other peoples inventions. And when the movie Business moved from New Jersey to California because Ca had they had more yearly sunshine to film their movies with, then New Jersey did, he sent out vicious renegades and bountyhunters to try and ruin the studios etc. etc. I’m not trying to be mean, but he wasn’t a genius, he was a businessman; he didn’t try to think through what the best filament would be for the light bulb, he used the brute force method of trying everything, instead of performing some scientific research, which is stupid. Tesla even said that. I know he is one of America’s revered icons but it just pisses me off to know that he is held in such high esteem when he was actually just a narcissist and an egomaniac who didn’t care who he hurt or what he had to do to get ahead. He was totally Machiavellian. But I’m not trying to be Mean, I just wish the world would know. Does anyone know if a book has been written about this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I haven’t heard most of these things before. I have heard that he stole some patents and I know there was some bad blood between he and Tesla. I’d be interested to read a book about him too.

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