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6th Annual Golf Outing
You are cordially invited to join us for our 6th Annual
Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park Golf Outing
Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at the Metuchen Golf & Country Club
In March 1876, Thomas Edison moved into his new laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. A rather unassuming white, two-story frame structure, the laboratory building measured 25 feet x 100 feet and was surrounded by a white picket fence and located on the crest of a hill about 200 yards from the railroad station. A reporter described it as “looking, for all the world, like a country meetinghouse, minus the steeple, and with the addition of a porch.” The construction of the building was overseen by Edison’s father Samuel and cost about $2,700. Edison stocked it with nearly $40,000 worth of machinery & scientific apparatus (about $900,000 today). At the time it was probably the largest private laboratory in the United States and certainly the largest devoted to invention.
When he moved to Menlo Park, Edison claimed that he would produce “a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.” This proved to be no idle boast. During the five years that Edison based his inventive activities in Menlo Park he applied for 137 successful patents (about one every two weeks) and his big inventions included the standard telephone transmitter, the phonograph, the commercial incandescent electric lamp, and the first system for transmitting electric light and power.
Edison did not accomplish these feats on his own. He originally brought with him two experimenters and three machinists from his shop and laboratory in Newark. Over the next five years Edison’s staff expanded to over sixty men, including about two dozen machinists, some twenty experimenters (including college educated scientists, chemists and engineers), and a small office staff. The laboratory complex also grew to include a large brick machine shop, a two-story brick office and library building, and small wood buildings to house carpenters, a blacksmith, and a glassblower. In the process, what one reporter called Edison’s “invention factory” became the world’s first research and development laboratory.