As we took a few photos via the iPhone, I couldn't help but think of how we got to where we are today. Undoubtedly, the ability to take photographs, shoot video, and record and play back music owe a great deal of thanks to the incredible mind of Edison. Park rangers at the museum demoed a phonograph and a talking doll, both of which were invented by Edison. I asked our daughters to think about the inventions on display at the museum. In 2015, people have iPhones and iPads and now the Apple Watch, as well as Android and other competitive products. But it was Edison's mind that saw the possibilities of recorded sound, as well as still and moving pictures. It was wonderful to watch the girls connect the dots. One of the interesting things in the museum was that Edison had a tremendous amount of library space. There was plenty of room for him to collaborate with other scientists and to allow them to read through countless journals. The iPhone allows you to take photos, record and play back (and purchase) music and movies, and so much more. It would have been fascinating to see Edison and Steve Jobs brainstorm.
The road from West Orange, New Jersey to Silicon Valley is paved with brilliant ideas from the past and the present. Of course, you can get on Interstate 280 in West Orange and merge with I-80 in Parsippany, NJ, then generally keep on I-80 until you reach San Francisco, a short drive to Silicon Valley, but that's about 3,000 miles. Or perhaps you can get on an airplane powered by an engine manufactured by General Electric, a company founded by Edison in the year 1878 as the Edison Electric Light Company. GE, according to its website, would be created in 1892 when Edison's company merged with the Thomson-Houston company. Half a century later, in 1942, GE would introduce the world's first jet engine, shortly after the US entered World War II.
If you live in or are visiting New Jersey or New York City, Edison's laboratory should be added to your "must-see" list. Also, just a few minutes away in West Orange is a beautiful 9/11 memorial and one of the most panoramic views of New York City from atop Eagle Rock Reservation.