Detroit Today

PBS Series 'American Experience' Spotlights Inventor Thomas Edison

Tuesday 27, 2015

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Inventor Thomas Alva Edison’s work still has an impact on our daily lives. He is the subject of tonight’s episode of American Experience, airing on Detroit Public TV at 9 p.m. Sandra speaks with Director Michelle Ferrari, who also wrote and produced the show with Amanda Pollak.

Thomas Edison was an inventor and the holder of more than 1,000 patents. Born in Ohio and raised in Port Huron, Mich., he eventually set up shop on the East Coast. There he set up factories and laboratories and pursued his goals. Ferrari says, “His most important invention was the idea of the R&D lab.” His dream laboratory, originally in Menlo Park, New Jersey, can be seen locally at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Edison chronicles his life and achievements.

Ferrari says the American Experience program portrays some of the tensions in Edison’s life: how he balanced (or didn’t) his work as a famous inventor and his responsibilities as a husband and father; working in the lab versus raising investment money to fund such work; creating his own inventions along with improving others’ work.

MICHIGAN CONNECTION: John Staudenmaier, a historian at the University of Detroit Mercy, editor emeritus of Technology and Cultures and The International Quarterly of the Society for the History of Technology, participates in the documentary.

Check out our interactive map to see where Edison connects to the Detroit region:

Click here for a full-screen view.