Happy Birthday to you, Thomas Edison

Detroit - Edison Illuminating Company high line crew

Detroit – Edison Illuminating Company high line crew, photo courtesy Seeking Michigan

The Life of Thomas Edison from American Memory at the Library of Congress says that:

Thomas Alva Edison was born to Sam and Nancy on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Known as “Al” in his youth, Edison was the youngest of seven children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Edison tended to be in poor health when young.

To seek a better fortune, Sam Edison moved the family to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854, where he worked in the lumber business.

Edison was a poor student. When a schoolmaster called Edison “addled,” his furious mother took him out of the school and proceeded to teach him at home. Edison said many years later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint.”(1) At an early age, he showed a fascination for mechanical things and for chemical experiments.

In 1859, Edison took a job selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railroad to Detroit. In the baggage car, he set up a laboratory for his chemistry experiments and a printing press, where he started the Grand Trunk Herald, the first newspaper published on a train. An accidental fire forced him to stop his experiments on board.

Read on for much more, and also see Thomas Edison at Wikipedia. While Edison’s life in Michigan didn’t include much of what one of the architects of our modern lifestyle was famous for, there’s some great places to visit to learn more about him. Two of the best are the Thomas Edison Depot Museum in Port Huron and Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory at Greenfield Village.

Get this photo from Seeking Michigan big as the 20th Century and see a few more Edison-related photos from Seeking Michigan.

Post #350 on Michigan in Pictures!

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to you, Thomas Edison

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