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ERIC Number: ED438198
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories. Teaching with Historic Places.
Bolger, Benjamin
This lesson explores the group of buildings in West Orange, New Jersey, built in 1887, that formed the core of Thomas Edison's research and development complex. They consisted of chemistry, physics, and metallurgy laboratories; machine shop; pattern shop; research library; and rooms for experiments. The lesson explains that the prototypes (ideas for alkaline batteries, recorded music, motion pictures) Edison developed in his laboratories were transformed into marketable products in an adjacent factory complex he began building in 1888. The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Edison National Historic Site," the archives maintained at the site, and other materials about Edison and his laboratory. The material can be used in teaching units on the industrialization of the United States, the development of science and technology, or social change in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Students discover how Edison systematized the process of inventing, allowing for the rapid development and production of inventions that improved the lives of millions. The teaching activities include: (1) "West Orange, N.J."; (2) "Edison's Laboratory Complex, 1887"; (3) "Edison's Laboratory Complex, c. 1914"; (4) "The Creation of the Research and Development Laboratory"; (5) "Edison and Popular Culture"; (6) "Edison and Batteries"; (7) "The Laboratory Complex"; (8) "The Chemistry Laboratory"; (9) "Edison's Library"; (10) "Edison and the Phonograph"; and (11) "Phonograph/kinetoscope Parlor, 1895"; (12) "Researching the Impact of Edison's Inventions"; (13) "The Invention Process"; and (14) "Researching the Local Community." Contains a 6-item list of supplementary resources. (BT)
Teaching with Historic Places, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Suite NC400, Washington, D.C. 20240. Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Park Service (Dept. of Interior), Washington, DC. National Register of Historic Places.