Already by the time he moved to Menlo Park in 1876, Thomas Edison had gathered many of the men who would work with him for the rest of their lives. By the time Edison built his West Orange lab complex, men came from all over the US and Europe to work with the famous inventor. Often these young “muckers,” as Edison called them, were fresh out of college or technical training.
Unlike most inventors, Edison depended upon dozens of “muckers” to build and test his ideas. In return, they received “only workmen’s wages.” However, the inventor said, it was “not the money they want, but the chance for their ambition to work.”
The Wikipedia page for Thomas Edison notes several places and companies bearing Edison’s name:
- Edison General Electric, merged with Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric
- Commonwealth Edison, now part of Exelon
- Consolidated Edison
- Edison International
- Detroit Edison, a unit of DTE Energy
- Edison Sault Electric Company, a unit of Wisconsin Energy Corporation
- Metropolitan Edison
- Ohio Edison
- Toledo Edison
- Edison S.p.A., a unit of Italenergia
- Boston Edison, a unit of NSTAR, formerly known as the Edison Electric Illuminating Company
- WEEI radio station in Boston, established by the Edison Electric Illuminating Company (hence the call letters)
Though branding is now second-nature for famous people (and their handlers), Randall E. Stross author of The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World asserts that Edison launched the first successful branding campaign-an achievement arguably further ahead of its time than much of his technical output-by embracing the title “Wizard of Menlo Park,” which was coined by a reporter during Edison’s brief stay in that New Jersey town.