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Ignoring Thomas Edison

By Tom DeWeese
web posted November 17, 2003

Into the chilled October night, four figures cut through the darkness. Over the railroad tracks, down an unpaved street, past the stately homes and silent shops, they quietly made their way to a group of gray, wooden buildings.

The short, elderly man in the middle seemed to be the focus of their concerns as the group ascended the stairs to the second floor of the long building in the center of the complex. One man held his arm in respectful assistance. At the top of the stairs another helped him out of his coat. The third led him to a seat at the end of a long workbench.

In front of his chair a plank of wood about six feet high and six inches across had been erected. On the wood plank were tubes and wires, running from the top, down to the floor. The old man paused for a moment, brushed a lock of white hair from his eyes and began to work. One of the men assisted while the others watched. The work went on for a few minutes. Finally, the newly created devise began to glow. Moments later, to the sounds of cheering, the entire village outside the window was bathed in light.

It was October 21, 1929. The place was Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, specifically at the newly reconstructed Menlo Park laboratory compound. The two observers were President Herbert Hoover and auto producer Henry Ford. The elderly gentleman was renowned inventor Thomas Edison and the fourth was Francis Jehl, a former Edison assistant and renowned scientist in his own right. The event was the Golden Anniversary of the invention of electric light. Edison was there to reenact that historic night fifty years before when he had started man on the road to the future.

Thomas EdisonFifty years before, in this very Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory, now relocated to Greenfield Village by Henry Ford, Edison had filed patents for more than 1,000 inventions including the electric light, phonograph, motion picture projector and even major developments of the telephone. Here in this old wooden building, resembling more a barn than a laboratory, Thomas A. Edison created the beginnings of our modern world.

During the Chicago Exposition of 1893, the question was asked: "What American now living will be the most honored in the 1990's?" The overwhelming choice was Thomas Edison.

Americans of the 1890's could never conceive that modern movements would actually advocate eliminating technology from our lives – or that such mindless brutes would actually have credibility with government leaders. Earlier Americans would never have taken seriously advocates opposed to ideas that could make life easier, more fulfilling or less dangerous. They had never heard of the National Education Association and the Federal Department of Education or of earth-worshipping, luddite environmentalists, and UN globalists. Now, one hundred years later, how ironic it is that the very man they thought would be the most honored by us is now dropped from mere mention in America's history books. Such a fact speaks volumes about our own era's place in the history of man's progress.

Without Thomas Edison, American living standards would still be at the level of much of today's modern China where vast regions exist with candlelight and plow horses. There would be no computers, no central heating and no space exploration. Hollywood mouthpieces like Barbra Streisand who hate America's free enterprise system that spawned Thomas Edison should take note that without his vision and the freedom to pursue it, there would be no movie stars and no recording industry. Edison invented those, too.

In the new socially engineered "dark ages" now descending over our modern American society, Thomas Edison's accomplishments are irrelevant, perhaps even threatening to those authors of the new standards now controlling the current version of American history.

Those responsible for today's restructured education system which emphasizes menial job training over education, knew exactly what they were doing in leaving out the great leaders of our nation, including Edison, Ford, Thomas Jefferson and most of the founding fathers. Today's reinvented schools represent the core of the anti-development, anti-technology leviathan, fueled by new age superstition and pagan earth worship rather than scientific fact and human progress. Is it any wonder that the accomplishments of Thomas Edison would stand as a threat to their worldview of a renewed society of cave dwellers?

Americans of the 1890's knew there was a better life in Thomas Edison's inventions. Before his accomplishments, life had been harsh. Children died at early ages. Mothers toiled from dawn till dusk. Fathers tilled their fields by hand or with the help of slow, overburdened animals. Leisure time was a little known luxury. However, in their primitive world, children in the classrooms learned how to read and write, add and subtract. And they learned of the great feats of their forefathers and the incredible history of their homeland.

Because of the free, inventive minds of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers and many more, America created a society that became the envy of the world.

That's why, on the night Edison sat down to recreate his invention of the light bulb, some four hundred dignitaries gathered to honor him. They waited in the great hall of the Henry Ford Museum as Edison, Ford, Hoover and Jehl recreated that historic feat in the old laboratory. When it was finished, the generators were turned on and Greenfield Village and the great hall were flooded in light.

When he completed the task, Thomas Edison pushed back his chair, breathed deeply, stood up and left the building, never to return. Henry Ford, understanding the significance of the moment on future generations, had the chair nailed to the floor where Edison left it.

Henry Ford understood Thomas Edison's greatness and his unmatchable contribution to human progress but today's children, blocked from learning about him in modern classrooms may never know of the man who brought us from darkness.

Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org. © Tom DeWeese 2003

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