Edison
at Work

Visit the legendary inventor’s Menlo Park complex and see where he made some of his greatest inventions.

Highlights

Menlo Park Laboratory

  Details
Artifact

Laboratory

Date Made

1929

Summary

When Edison moved to Menlo Park, New Jersey in spring of 1876 the laboratory building contained his entire operation -- a handful of collaborators, office, library, and machine shop as well as laboratory. As the scale of Edison's investigations grew so did the complex, but this building -- dedicated to experimental activities -- was always understood to be the heart of the enterprise.

Object ID

29.3048.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Thomas Edison's Fort Myers Laboratory

  Details

Thomas Edison's Fort Myers Laboratory

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Laboratory

Date Made

1885

Summary

This well-equipped laboratory enabled Edison to carry on his investigations even as he seemed to seek a break from business and other matters. The first building to be completed in Greenfield Village, it had a second experimental life, offering seclusion to a select group of Ford Motor Company engineers tasked with developing the Ford V-8 engine in the early 1930s.

Object ID

28.998.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Thomas A. Edison.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Thomas Edison's Fort Myers Laboratory

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Sarah Jordan Boarding House

  Details

Sarah Jordan Boarding House

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Boardinghouse

Date Made

circa 1870

Summary

The Menlo Park complex was an all-male environment; the closest workaday involvement of women -- not forgetting that Edison and several of his personnel were married -- was at the Sarah Jordan boardinghouse. Offering room and board for unmarried employees at the complex, it was operated by Sarah Jordan, a distant relative of Edison's. The house also played host to the experimental lighting system installed throughout Menlo Park in December 1879.

Creators

Unknown 

Object ID

28.1004.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Sarah Jordan Boarding House

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Menlo Park Library

  Details
Artifact

Library (Building)

Date Made

1929

Summary

This building was built in late 1878 as Edison's work on electric lighting expanded. The first floor provided office space for accounting, bookkeeping, and patent applications; upstairs was a superbly stocked technical library. The building also played another key role: as a reception area for journalists and other visitors it provided a disarming first impression of Edison's success and ambition.

Object ID

29.3048.2

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Menlo Park Glass House

  Details
Artifact

Building (Structure)

Date Made

1878

Summary

Originally built as a photographic studio and drafting room, the glassblowing shop was fundamental to Edison's enterprise. Edison's incandescent lighting experiments ensured that the laboratory had a voracious appetite for glass -- not only for bulbs but also for associated apparatus such as vacuum pumps. Ludwig Boehm, the laboratory's first master glassblower, worked here -- and lodged in the attic space.

Object ID

29.3049.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Menlo Park Machine Shop

  Details
Artifact

Machine shop

Summary

The presence of a machine shop (and of foreman / head machinist John Kruesi) was fundamental to the success of Menlo Park. This well-equipped facility -- built to replace the small machine shop originally installed in the laboratory -- enabled Edison and his associates to not only rapidly prototype iterations of experimental devices but also facilitate their eventual, profitable manufacture.

Object ID

29.3048.3

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Greenfield Village
 On Exhibit

at Greenfield Village in Edison at Work District

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Edison at Work

Site of Discovery

The Menlo Park Lab was built in 1876 and looked virtually abandoned just four years later.  

Menlo Park Laboratory

Edison conducted many of his famous experiments at his Menlo Park Lab.  

Research Supplies

Jars filled with a variety of research materials line the walls of Menlo Park Laboratory.  

Workbench

One of many workspaces at Edison’s Menlo Park complex.  

Menlo Park Carbon Shed

Carbon for telephone transmitters and other experiments was produced in this small wooden shed.