Mighty Inventors, Edison and Ford - part 1

Henry Ford

Thomas Edison

This past week we were lucky enough to travel to Fort Myers Beach in Florida and visit the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  The two men were not just good friends, they were next door neighbors.  Thomas Edison moved there first, and after coming down for visits over the years, Henry Ford bought the property next door. We all know about their most famous inventions – Edison and the light bulb and Ford with the car, but not many people know they had  many more inventions to their credit.

In this post, I want you to journey with us to see Thomas Edison’s estate. Subsequent posts will cover Henry Ford’s estate and then their valuable contributions to our country and to the world – their many inventions.  Since I LOVE to take pictures, I also want to include a post about the plants and other vegetation on the estates.  Edison traveled around the world and brought back hundreds of plants for his estate which he experimented with at his laboratory (Just wait until you see those!).  If you are a science enthusiast, you will fall in love with Edison’s lab.
Largest Banyan Tree in continental US

Edison’s home was filled with many of his own inventions. A man after my own heart, I could see his mind never stopped working.  He had nearly 2000 patents to his name. Many patents were refinements of his previous inventions. On the wall of his museum you can read this quote: “If there’s a way to do it . . . find it!”  He took his own words to heart through his many and varied inventions – from the light bulb to the phonograph to concrete and more.
Edison's idea how his estate should look

The Edisons purchased 13 acres of land in Fort Myers.  Edison himself drew plans for where he wanted certain buildings. He enjoyed his solitude and yet at the same time, he loved to entertain. When not at his New Jersey home, he was in Florida.  Here are some views of his home:

traveling from the main house to the guest house

Here are the rooms on the first floor.  The second floor is closed to visitors, but you can see how Edison and his family lived.  In the guest house, you can see how comfortable life was for those who traveled to see the family.
sitting room

see the Victrola?


Edison's desk


stairs to second floor

Mina's piano

dining room

The Moonlight Garden is where Edison's wife, Mina, loved to gather with her friends.

The pool was a feat unto itself.  The water was from run-off.  As you can see, he even installed a diving board.  With all the guests who would travel to see Edison, it's amazing he managed to invent so many things.

The Caloosahatche River borders his estate.  A fabulous rock wall creates a sturdy barrier between the sea and his life.  He even had a pier that jutted out into the river for his many boating excursions.  The name Caloose stands for the name of the Native American tribe that lived in the area and the word hatche means river.

Seminole Lodge was a building he purchased from his neighbor.  This is where Edison's driver and other servants would live during their time on the state.

Seminole Lodge

The porch that surrounds the Edison home invites one to sit outside and enjoy the cool breeze on a hot day.  Doesn't it look inviting?

Here are some modern conveniences found on the Edison estate.  Just imagine how his mind must have worked to create things to make his life easier.  And of course, he made our lives easier as well in the process.  After all, where would we all be without the light bulb today?

see the light bulbs

even by the river it was hot

he would record his voice

a generator for his boats, etc

lights he designed

fire hose

light he designed

mantle clock

another light

refrigerator in the kitchen

on/off switch

home bell system

bell system
Thomas Edison was a man who did not sit still.  He kept himself busy, even while vacationing in Florida.  he had his own office and a laboratory on the grounds.  If you think he never had fun, think again.  His favorite game was Parcheesi!!!!

Don't you want to play a game with him and ask him questions?

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