Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and Fort Myers

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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and Fort Myers

If you are visiting around the area of Fort Myers, take some time out to go to the Edison Ford Museum if you can. This is the winter residence of both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, two elegant houses set side by side in beautiful gardens on the shores of the ocean. The pair became great friends during their time there.

The first sight that you will see on leaving your car in the park is the enormous, magnificent Banyan tree, its’ aerial roots reputed to extend to an acre of ground, this is reputed to have been planted in about 1925 and was a gift to Edison from Harvey Firestone. . The rest of the gardens are full of interesting exotic plants and trees, imported from all over the world by Thomas Edison in his search for the perfect fibre to make a filament for his light bulb. There are more than one thousand plants in the garden including a rare sausage tree. The gardens alone are well worth visiting however you really should visit the houses as well.

Set in these gardens, are the two houses, containing original furnishings and information about their owners lifestyle, together with several carport style buildings which have a selection of early Ford cars on display. Edison' s house even had a swimming pool which he used to paten many of his inventions.

Back towards the great Banyan tree is the original laboratory where Edison undertook his experiments with light and sound, and a small purpose built museum of his life and the growth of his knowledge, which includes over 200 phonographs. The museum can take up to an hour to go round so if you really interested in seeing the many inventions of Edison, many of which you probably would not have associated with him, do allow time for this.

In the 1920s Edison, Ford and Harvey Firestone joined together in their search for an natural source of rubber, eventually finding that a weed, which many of you probably have in your garden, called Golden Rod contained latex. This has of course led to the widespread use of rubber today.

There is of course the inevitable shop, full of memorabilia and souvenirs, and a delightful outdoor café where you can get drinks and snacks. The whole place has an air of relaxed charm about it which is attractive to adults, but maybe not for hyperactive or young children.

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