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Beehives of Invention
Edison and His Laboratories
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Edison's Top Assistants


Mr. Kruesi was the superintendent, a Swiss trained in the best Swiss ideas of accuracy. He was a splendid mechanic with a vigorous temper, and wonderful ability to work continuously and to get work out of men. It was an ideal combination, that of Edison, Batchelor, and Kruesi. Mr. Edison with his wonderful flow of ideas which were sharply defined in his mind, as can be seen by any of the sketches that he made, as he evidently always thinks in three dimensions; Mr. Kruesi, willing to take the ideas, and capable of comprehending them, would distribute the work so as to get it done with marvelous quickness and great accuracy. Mr. Batchelor was always ready for any special fine experimenting or observation, and could hold to whatever he was at as long as Mr. Edison wished; and always brought to bear on what he was at the greatest skill.

Francis R. Upton, as quoted in Edison: His Life and Inventions, 1910

Kruesi, Ott, Batchelor
Three key men who started working for him at Newark and who stayed with him for many years were, clockwise from left, John Kruesi, John Ott, and Charles Batchelor.

Mr. Charles Batchelor was Mr. Edison's principal assistant at that time [at Menlo Park]. He was an Englishman, and came to this country to set up the thread-weaving machinery for the Clark thread-works. He was a most intelligent, patient, competent, and loyal assistant to Mr. Edison. I remember distinctly seeing him work many hours to mount a small filament; and his hand would be as steady and his patience as unyielding at the end of those many hours as it was at the beginning, in spite of repeated failures. He was a wonderful mechanic; the control that he had of his fingers was marvelous, and his eyesight was sharp. Mr. Batchelor's judgment and good sense were always in evidence.

Francis R. Upton. as quoted in Edison: His Life and Inventions. 1910

John F. Ott was another bright and industrious worker coming to the Menlo Park machine shop from Edison's Ward Street shop in Newark. Ott was an expert mechanic to whom Kruesi generally confided the making of the more delicate apparatus or instruments required in research work at the laboratory. He was a pleasant and agreeable man, and though he had plenty of opportunities like others at Menlo Park, for he was a master of the trade he plied, he remained content in the sole ambition of loyally serving his master as fine-instrument maker.

Francis Jehl, Menlo Park Reminiscences, 1938

Edison and assistants
Edison sits with a group of assistants on the second floor of the main building at Menlo Park in February 1880. Shown, from left, are L. Boehm, C. Clarke, C. Batchelor, W. Carman, S. Mott, G. Dean, Edison, C. Hughes, G. Hill, G. Carman, F. Jehl, J. Lawson, C. Flammer, C. Mott, and J. Mackenzie. Note the incandescent lamps, hanging from gas fixtures, and the organ.





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