Monday, December 14, 2009

Southward-Ho: Day 7 (Venice to Naples and back)

Thomas A. Edison, holder of 1,093 patents, first came to Ft. Myers, FL in 1885. He spent the next 46 years working on a number of his inventions earning him the title of "Man of the Millenium".

Visitors can walk through his winter retreat and workshop at the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory, located in a quiet residential area of this city. Here you'll see the cot where he took catnaps, a drafting table, scales for measuring, original equipment and apparatus. It feels as though the inventor has just stepped out in the midst of an experiment.

Built in 1927, Edison and a staff of 4 (clerk, chemist, machinist and a glassblower) worked in the lab to develop of source of natural rubber from native plants. It was during WWI that Edison and his partners Ford and Firestone became concerned about the supply of imported rubber.
Next to the workshop is a museum containing many of his original inventions, his home and gardens. Docents are available, or you can wander through on a self-guided tour.

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