Friday, March 15, 2013

Thomas A. Edison

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left."

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this - you haven't."
                                                                               ~Thomas A. Edison

I spent the day in Ft. Myers, Florida at the Edison-Ford Estates and it was amazing. Of course, I knew Thomas Edison was an extraordinary inventor. But I now have an enormous respect for him as a human being as well. The first quote is my very favorite, at least so far...

Here is a guy who invented the light bulb, phonograph, motion picture cameras, to name a few and then tirelessly researched plants from all over the world to find an alternative source for rubber. He has more patents registered than anyone else and most remarkably, he never gave up inventing. When most would have long retired, he found enjoyment in his laboratory in Ft. Myers until he died peacefully at the age of 84.

I'm amazed that he had such foresight about solar energy and disappointed no one followed through with his assumption. I suspect if Edison had lived longer, we would have found a way to harness the Sun's energy. Perhaps we would even be free of our dependence on oil. What a marvelous vision...

The magnificent beauty of the grounds are spellbinding, carrying you back to a time where everyday life was leisure and filled with discovery. There are hundreds of trees and plants from all over the world. In his search for a different rubber source, Edison imported 100's of trees and plants from six continents. The famous Banyan, planted in 1925 as a four-foot tree, now covers almost an acre of the grounds. Tour guides boast the gardens contain over 1700 plants representing 400 species, including tropical fruit trees, orchids, bromeliads, cycads, and more than 50 species of palms.

When Edison first arrived in Ft. Myers, it could only reached by boat. The population was something like 350. All of the building materials for his home came by boat traveling down the Caloosahatchee River. How strange that must have been. The photo is of the dock that greeted boats and visitors arriving at the Edison Estate.

Now the metropolitan area of Ft. Myers/Cape Coral has grown to over 600,000. It is a very busy city with lots of traffic, plenty to see and do, and veritable melting pot of diverse cultures. Maybe someone there or somewhere in the world is poised to fulfilled Edison's vision of the power of solar energy.