Authorea || Edison Menlo Park Lab

The Authorea Team

Thomas Edison has an impressive 2,332 worldwide patents. Some of his well-known inventions include the phonograph, motion pictures, and the magnetic iron ore separator. After the success of his first major invention, the quadruplex telegraph, Edison wanted to build his own laboratory so that he could continue to innovate. In 1875, he purchased around 34 acres in Raritan Township, NJ and built the "Invention Factory". By Spring 1876, the Invention Factory consisted of a main laboratory, ancillary buildings, a carpenters’ shop, carbon shed, and blacksmith shop. His first breakthrough at the Invention Factory, the phonograph, produced the first voice recording (“Mary Had a Little Lamb”) and earned Edison the title, “The Wizard of Menlo Park”.
The "Invention Factory" (Source: Defining Creativity)        
With the success of the lab, add-ons were commissioned and a few years later, a machine shop, office, library, and boarding house for single employees became available. In 1879, he invented the bamboo filament on-site, which created the first successful incandescent lightbulb. Prior lightbulbs would only last a few minutes before burning out but Edison’s burned for 13.5 hours and following iterations lasted around 40 hours. That Christmas, Christie Street, where the lab is located, was the world’s first street to be lit by incandescent light bulbs. The next year, the bulbs were ready for mass production. After the 1882 spectacle where Edison successfully fitted an entire New York City office building with his light bulbs (powered by a central generator), he was catapulted to mass fame and wealth.

Today, the area where his factory stood is named after Edison and is one of the largest stops on the NJ Transit.
Reconstruction of Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory at Greenfield Village, Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan (Source: Andrew Balet, Wikipedia Commons)
Like the Invention Factory and many of Edison's inventions, enabling and improving collaboration was the focus. The reason behind the original move to Newark, NJ was of the city's high concentration of machinists who had the experience he needed for the telegraph.

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