Edison National Historic Site


West Orange was the site of Edison's ultimate research lab, a place devoted to the rapid and cheap development of inventions. It was staffed by as many as 60 workers and equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and instruments. It was stocked with everything imaginable, from elephant's hide to the eyeballs of a U.S. senator. Edison worked here the last 44 years of his life, developing more than half of his total of 1,093 patents. Among its many engineering projects, the lab produced an improved storage battery, developments in motion pictures, and an improved phonograph. The lab, itself, became a model for corporate research labs.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Electrical
Topic(s):Electricity
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Edison's first patent was for an electric vote recorder, which would greatly speed up the legislative process. It bombed commercially. Lawmakers said they didn't want their votes taken quickly. Indeed, the slower the process, the more time they had for last-minute lobbying. Henceforth, Edison invented only things he felt sure the public would buy.