Thomas Edison Invention Factory
Thomas Alva Edison was one of the nation's most prolific inventors. More than half of his 1,093 patents were earned during 44 years of work at his Invention Factory in West Orange, New Jersey, which he opened in 1887. The factory is a complex of several buildings including a chemistry laboratory, machine shop, and library where Edison did his research. It also includes a replica of the world's first building constructed for use as a motion picture studio, the Black Maria, which was part of the complex from 1893 until 1903.
This project received a $250,000 federal Save America's Treasures challenge grant in 2001 for conservation of the Edison collections. General Electric Company – the corporate descendant of Thomas A. Edison – donated another $5 million through Save America's Treasures to help preserve and restore Edison's historic Invention Factory. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the gift during her 1998 Save America's Treasures tour of the Northeast.
General Electric chairman and CEO John F. Welch, who joined Mrs. Clinton for the announcement, said that "Thomas Edison was not only the inventor of the light bulb and the father of GE, his inventions were also critical in developing industries ranging from power generation to sound recording to the movies. It is impossible to imagine the 20th century without him. GE is proud to help restore and preserve the laboratories where he earned more than half of his 1,093 patents. We hope Edison's legacy will inspire future generations as much as he's inspired us at GE."