Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Office and Library

The original brick building, erected the same year as the machine shop - 1878 - was one of the unfortunate structures to disappear nearly completely, sans one lone shutter, from the compound in New Jersey. When reconstructing this 'nerve center of Menlo Park,' Just like the other reconstructed buildings, Mr. Ford relied heavily on old photographs, newspaper etches, and memories of those who were there in the 1870's and 1880's, including Thomas Edison himself.
To keep this as authentic as he could, Ford arranged to have bricks supplied by the same firm that furnished the originals, and, after the structure had been completed, placed a single slat from the original 'lone shutter' in each of the rebuilt shutters to shade the windows.

All involved were quite satisfied at the end result.
(By the way, notice, in the top picture of the office/library, the Sarah Jordan Boarding House in the background).

The first floor was a combined accounting office and reception area for visitors and journalists. It was also where his bookkeepers kept track of the finances. Remember, Edison's men didn't work for free!

A view from both sides of the counter!

The second floor of this building (unreachable at this time for photographs) was where the library was located. This was where Edison kept his own desk and maintained books and journals for his research.Publicity, detailed patents, and the sales of (and the granting of) rights also took place on the first floor.
Period correct furniture - as close to the originals as possible - are positioned as Edison and his men remembered throughout the structure.

I'm not sure how much of the furniture are originals to Edison, but I would be willing to bet at least a number of them are.

This collection of work in the Menlo Park complex at Greenfield Village, even though most are not totally original, shows the true admiration that Henry Ford had toward his good friend, Thomas Edison.

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