Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thomas Alva Edison winter home--Ft Myers, Fl

What do you think is Thomas Alva Edison's greatest invention?  The monofilament light bulb you say? Well, not according to the scientists of his day.  Some say the phonograph, others list the moving picture machine, or the indoor fire sprinkler system, the starter for Henry Ford's cars, the telegraph, a form of x-ray machine still used today, or many other things we take for granted.  Frankly, I think it is all those small home appliances--the toaster, waffle iron, portable heater, iron and more.  Yep! he invented them all.  By the time he died there were a total of 1093 patents in his name.  And most of them were a success.

From 1885 until his death in 1931, Thomas  Edison and his wife Mina wintered each year on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers Florida.  They built a lovely home there plus a lab where old Tom did much of his inventing.  One of his best friends was Henry Ford who bought the home next door around the turn of the century.

An amazing feature at the entrance of the property is this banyon tree.  The above picture shows only a portion of the tree--it actually covers an entire acre.  The tree was a 4' sapling that was a gift from Harvey Firestone of tire fame back in 1925.

Mina was a gardner and it was a good thing she had something to keep her occupied.  Old Tom would spend 20 of every 24 hours in his lab and sometimes would take off  to parts unknown for months on end to start another company or two.

More of the same tree.  It is very pleasant to wander around in the cool shade of this tree. It must be a welcome fixture in Florida's summer heat.

The house was rather unassuming and very comfortable with a wrap-around veranda and views of the river.
A perfect place to sit with a tall glass of ice tea.

He built the house with electricity and a fire sprinkler system.  Also a telephone, a phonograph, an intercom and even a doorbell--except for the phone they were all his inventions.

The furniture is all the original.  Even though Tom was a millionaire many times over his home is very modest in comparison to John Deering's Vizcaya.

Mina played the piano and Tom fell in love with her when he heard her playing one day.   Edison may have been smitten by Mina's music but he ended up losing his phonograph business because he retained sole approval on the music that he allowed to be recorded.  Since he was 80 years old and almost deaf you might say he had a 'tin ear'.  A rival company went into production and began producing recordings of the latest 'wild' music that Edison hated--Jazz, Charleston, Bebop.  In a very short time the Edison phonograph was out of business.

This picture is for my friend, Sharleen, who is always looking for new ideas for decorating Christmas trees--This one has carrots, radishes, tomatoes, lemons oranges and onions plus colorful seed packets.

By the way, another invention--electric lights for the Christmas trees.

I always look for the kitchen.  It was small and rather dark but the view from the window was fantastic...

 To be continued.....

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea old alva had invented any of those things except the light bulb. thanks. love Jo