Before His Death, Thomas Edison Sent His Friend Henry Ford An Unusual Note. I Didn't Expect This.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan was created by the car-creator and industrialist Henry Ford himself. He said of his mission: "I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used.... When we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition..."

Tony Geftos

John Kannenberg


During the creation of the museum, Ford had his good friend, Thomas Edison, over for a visit. Their friendship ran deep and as the two men aged, they bought houses near each other so they could hang out as often as they liked. 


Edison died 16 years before Ford. Several years after Edison's passing, the curators of Ford's museum received a strange package: a single glass vial with a note attached to it, saying, “This is the test tube you requested from my father’s bedroom.” Later, the curators learned more about this test tube from a letter they discovered, which stated, “During Mr. Edison’s last illness there was a rack of eight empty test tubes close to his bedside. They were from his work bench in the Chemical Room at the Laboratory in West Orange. Though he is mainly remembered for his work in electrical fields, his real love was chemistry. It is not strange, but symbolic, that those test tubes were close to him at the end.” 



Ford's admiration for Edison was so great that he asked Edison's own son to capture his father's dying breath. Today, Edison's last breath is in a small glass case just inside the doors of the Henry Ford Museum.

Credit: Smithsonian | Roadtrippers

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