Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thomas Edison National Park

On Thursday we decided to visit the only National Park in NJ. People out west are so fortunate to have all kinds of National Parks; in NJ, we have the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange.
Adam (at 9 years of age) had done a term paper on Thomas Edison, so he was interested to visit this great man's laboratory. We started out by seeing the chemistry lab where teams of researchers collaborated on new discoveries. Edison was an innovator in putting these researchers together which was a new model in science; up until the late 1870s inventors tended to work in isolation. Edison was the first to pioneer corporate research, utilizing some of the finest brains he could find. His labs in West Orange created machines that built machines for mass production. Edison, of course, invented many new items including the light bulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera and projector, the time clock, and the alkaline battery. He invented an electric car and commuted often to NYC in it.
 We saw a presentation on the phonograph. That blue cylinder on the front corner of the table is one of the original "records" developed to record music and voice. Later, Edison started making round records which held a longer recording.
Edison was his own marketer but his ideas were not all great. Here is an "Edison in a Bottle," one of his less-than-successful products.
 Adam enjoyed seeing Edison's personal lab, where he worked out problems that arose.
The boys checked out the library which boasted a huge movie projector and screen with which to impress investors. The docent noted that this library was the first corporate research library.
Auggie was exhausted after our visit, and curled up for a nap on the way home.

Later in the day we went to a movie ("Secret Life of Pets") and returned for more S'mores and time to weave on my Piccolo loom. It was a very full day.

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