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Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Edison's Study and Moonlight Garden, 1928

Original site of Edison’s 1886 Laboratory

 
 
Original site of Edison’s 1886 Laboratory Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
1. Original site of Edison’s 1886 Laboratory Marker
Inscription.  
In his initial plans for the property, Edison included a laboratory for his Florida estate. Through he anticipated leisure time, he also needed a place to pursue inventing. Of the many experiments he worked on in this laboratory, one focused on a form of underwater telegraphy. Edison said that he would be:

“...working upon sound, trying to extend the distance at which telegraphing by sound through water can be successfully accomplished. I have a regular workshop and a laboratory… and I go down there with a half dozen assistants. I am using steam explosions in such rapid succession as to form a musical note… long and short pauses (like dots and dashes of Morse code alphabet)—can signal three or four miles… I find the Florida waters best fitted for my experiments on account of their freedom from other sounds.”
Source: New York Home Journal, February 9, 1904

The 1886 laboratory contained equipment for mechanical and chemical experiments. Compared to the $12,000 that was spent building and furnishing each of the homes, $16,000 was spent on the laboratory. Many of the elements inside
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the laboratory came from Edison’s various companies, including the dynamo, which was powered by a coal-fired steam boiler and provided electricity for the estate in 1887—eleven years earlier than the City of Fort Myers, which was not electrified until 1898.

The original 1886 laboratory was sold to Henry Ford, and in 1928 was moved to his collection of historic buildings at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Once there, the laboratory became the base of operations for the Edison Institute, a project to study and retain Edison’s inventions which remains open to visitors today. On the original footprint of the 1886 laboratory, Ford financed construction of Edison’s Study and Mina Edison’s Moonlight Garden.

(sidebar)
Did you know? According to a February 1886 New York Times article, one of the ships carrying supplies for the laboratory was hit by lighting and sunk. The cargo was insured for over $3,000 and contained "chemicals, machinery and furniture."
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical date for this entry is February 9, 1904.
 
Location. 26° 38.067′ N, 81° 52.804′ W. Marker is in Fort Myers, Florida, in Lee County. Marker can be reached from McGregor Boulevard south of Larchmont Avenue, on the right
The 1886 laboratory as it appeared on a post card. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
2. The 1886 laboratory as it appeared on a post card.
when traveling south. The marker is inside the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers FL 33901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edison Estate Restoration and Rebirth (here, next to this marker); Orchid Lane and Friendship Walk (here, next to this marker); Clara Ford’s Michigan Rose Garden (here, next to this marker); Edison’s “Florida Paradise” (here, next to this marker); Inside the Ford Home (here, next to this marker); Henry Ford (here, next to this marker); Henry Ford's Florida Estate (here, next to this marker); Edison Caretaker’s House (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Myers.
 
Also see . . .  Edison & Ford Winter Estates. (Submitted on November 6, 2015.)
 
The interior of the 1886 laboratory image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
3. The interior of the 1886 laboratory
Edison's 1928 study image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, October 10, 2015
4. Edison's 1928 study
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 5, 2015, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 266 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 5, 2015, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 2, 2023