Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 12, 2014

Birthday party

Event will focus on Edison's connection to Kentucky

The Independent

ASHLAND — The historic Thomas Edison House in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville is using the occasion of the 167th birthday of the famous inventor and scientist to throw a five-hour party that, among other things, will remind of Edison’s little known Kentucky connection.

While Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Mich., as a 19-year old employee of Western Union in 1866, he was hired as a telegraph operator who worked the Associated Press news wire in Kentucky’s largest city. He requested the night shift, which gave him time to read and do experiments not related to his job. He was fired in 1867 when he spilled sulfuric acid on the floor while working with a lead acid battery. Less than two years after leaving Louisville, Edison received the first of what would become 1,093 U.S. patents.

While Edison’s 167th birthday was Tuesday, the Thomas Edison House at 729 E. Washington St. has set aside Saturday to celebrate. The party will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is half price for adults and free for those younger than 12. The event will include a cake shaped like a light bulb.

The attraction offers information about Edison’s achievements in science and technology. However, most of those achievements came at his lab in Menlo Park, N.J., years after his time in Louisville.

Nevertheless, we can celebrate Edison’s achievements every time we turn on a light, watch a movie or listen to a record. It is difficult to imagine what life would be like if not for Thomas Edison. And how many of us knew about his Kentucky connection?