To conclude our series of articles on Edison Festival of Lights we would like to honor Thomas Alva Edison on his birthday today.
We all know or heard of Thomas Edison, the man that invented the light bulb, refined the way we use electricity, and his thousands of patents to make our lives easier. Some people, not residents of Florida mind you, have no idea that he ever came to live in south-west Florida, or the connection we as residents have with him.
Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, married twice, and had six children. He invented many things until the Phonograph, his first invention that truly shed light to his genius. Over the years he put together a huge catalog of inventions, some never used, and some very important to specific purposes, none more important than utilizing energy as light.
In 1885, Edison visited south-west Florida and bought property on the water here in Fort Myers. His wife at the time dubbed it their, “Seminole Lodge”, and spent every winter there until his death. While in Fort Myers he was restless, and from the local fauna, attempted to synthesize rubber. His attempt to find a domestic source for natural rubber was not a failure, but not yield the amounts needed to be put in to production.
His neighbor, Henry Ford, enjoyed many winters on the same property over looking the water here off Mcgregor Blvd. They remained very good friends until his death many years later.
Let us remember Edison as he stood once, the visionary, always looking to future to unlock it’s secrets.