Upper Elementary students recently visited the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park. They viewed original artifacts, listen to a 100+ year old Edison Phonograph, and learned about the wonders that took place at Thomas Edison’s historic Menlo Park. Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory was the world’s first such research and development facility. The students saw the newly renovated Edison Memorial Tower and enjoyed the lovely grounds.
Edison’s inventions changed our world, affecting so many aspects of modern technology. By the time of his death in 1931, he held 1,093 patents covering the creation or refinements of devices in telegraphy and telephony, electric power generation and lighting, sound recording, motion pictures, storage batteries, and mining and cement technology. However, his most important invention was one that couldn’t be patented: the process of modern invention itself. By applying the principles of mass production to the 19th-century model of the solitary inventor, Edison created a process in which skilled scientists, machinists, designers, and others collaborated at a single facility to research, develop, and manufacture new technologies.