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Cameramen capture the events of Lightís Golden Jubilee on motion picture film in October 1929. ID.THF24884


October 2009

Light's Golden Jubilee: The Movie

Eighty years ago this month, Henry Ford formally dedicated his museum and historical village in ceremonies designed to honor his friend Thomas Edison.   Ford chose the date, October 21, 1929, for the elaborate celebration--called Light's Golden Jubilee--because it marked the 50th anniversary of Edison's invention of the first successful incandescent light bulb.

Henry Ford was fascinated with the ability of the moving image to document important events.  So he made sure to have his own Ford Motor Company Photographic Department film crew--as well as the national media--on hand for much of the dedication ceremonies.  In this month’s Pic, we offer a "moving" look at the events of that day.

For more on the Lightís Golden Jubilee celebration and on Henry Fordís interest in motion pictures, click on these links to our Pic Archives:

Light's Golden Jubilee Honors Thomas Edison and Dedicates a Museum (October 2004)

Henry Ford, Movie Mogul (July 2006)



MORE:  Light's Golden Jubilee: The Movie


Click on the links below to see short movie clips of the Light’s Golden Jubilee festivities, filmed by the Ford Motor Company cameramen and others.  Each sequence features an edited compilation of the day’s events created from footage in the collections of The Henry Ford.

On the morning of the dedication, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and President Herbert Hoover arrived on a special train at Smiths Creek Station in Greenfield Village.

After ceremonies at Smiths Creek Station, Henry Ford and Herbert Hoover traveled to nearby Detroit for a parade in Presidentís honor, while 82-year-old Thomas Edison rested for the eveningís events at Henry Fordís Dearborn mansion.
The specially invited guests enjoyed rides in Henry Fordís collection of antique carriages and toured the historic buildings in rainy, muddy Greenfield Village. In the evening, after a banquet in Thomas Edisonís honor, Edison, Henry Ford, and Herbert Hoover went to Edisonís reconstructed Menlo Park Laboratory, New Jersey, laboratory in Greenfield Village. Here they met with Edisonís former assistant, Francis Jehl, for a reenactment of Edisonís creation of the first successful incandescent light bulb fifty years before. Modern subtitles have been added to compensate for the primitive late 1920s sound recording of the event.
Later that evening, after the formal ceremonies of Light’s Golden Jubilee were complete, Henry Ford, tire magnate Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison chatted during a short radio broadcast about the exciting opportunities that new, modern inventions offered young men during the late 1920s.  Modern subtitles have been added to compensate for the primitive late 1920’s sound recording of the event  

-- Terry Hoover, Archivist


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