During the holidays, I went to West Orange, New Jersey, to see Thomas Edison’s lab. I was excited because I have always wanted to be a chemist and Thomas Edison was a great chemist! Thomas Edison was a genius who improved the incandescent light bulb, the telephone and the telegraph, invented the phonograph, the first movie camera, and many many more. A lot of his work was done in his lab in West Orange, New Jersey. It was a big faculty! There was a chemistry lab, a phonograph recording room, a heavy machine room, and even the first movie recording studio!
When I entered Thomas Edison’s library, I was amazed by the decoration of the room! There was a statue of a man holding an electric light bulb, a grand clock above the fireplace, a desk where Thomas Edison wrote, a bed that Thomas Edison took naps in, and a second floor with … It was really decorative and not at all mismatched! I thought that all the geniuses had BORING rooms but Thomas Edison proved me wrong!
After that, my family and I went to the heavy machine shop. You can tell by it’s name what will be inside. There was every kind of machine I could think of! From machines that cut, to machines that drill, there was everything that an engineer could want! It must have been very noisy with a lot of “Muckers” working. (Muckers are what Thomas Edison called his workers. The workers called Thomas Edison the Chief Mucker!)
After we went upstairs, we headed towards the music room. There was a piano and lots of different phonographs! Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. The first phonograph player looked like a horn with a cylinder and a box under it. To mute the sound on a phonograph back then (there were no volume buttons) you would stuff a sock in the horn. There was also a phonograph recorder that had a needle and when you spoke or made a sound the needle would vibrate with the sound waves and would make a mark on the wax cylinder. Thomas Edison was competing with the Victor Company which also manufactured phonographs! The tour guide let us listen to a recording recorded on a phonograph cylinder. On the walls there were pictures of different people who sang or played piano in the recordings.
Then my family and I went to the chemistry lab which is a lab where Thomas Edison did his chemical experiments. The ground was tilted so any liquid spills would head towards the drain. Inside, there was a lot of tables and benches with different colored powders. There were also some machines used to grind leaves. The ground leaves could be made into latex, which Thomas Edison experimented with during world war II, while looking for a substitute for rubber. Rubber had gone scarce, because the countries that provided it were in war. Thomas Edison was lucky to have a special lab to do chemistry, because I have to do it in the kitchen. The most amazing thing of all was that he did not accidentally set his lab on fire with the chemicals! When I was doing chemistry in my kitchen, I almost ruined the table!
Thomas Alva Edison worked hard until the end of his life and had really good perseverance. He once said “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” That means that being a genius is not just being smart, you have to work hard to achieve a goal!