The Franklin Institute Logo
Case Files logo

Thomas Edison: Telephone, Electricity and Phonograph, 1915

A Fitting Tribute

Edison's companions on his travels were an illustrious group: President Harding, Henry Ford, George Firestone, and naturalists Luther Burbank and John Burroughs. Calling their group the Nature Club, driving in automobiles, they undertook camping trips throughout the eastern United States, enjoying the country over an eight-year period until Harding's death in 1923.

Research continued to be Edison's lifelong enthusiasm; his last patent application was filed in January, 1931—the year of his death.

Following Edison's death on October 18, 1931, President Hoover issued a statement requesting that all Americans turn off their lights for one minute at ten o'clock Eastern Standard Time as a tribute to the great man's memory. Similar interruption of generating machinery was suggested, but deemed too dangerous since so many essential services relied on electric power—a fitting demonstration of the debt owed to Thomas Edison's unique efforts.