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Inquiry Question

Historical Context



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Table of

Visual Evidence

Photo 4: Edison's library in the main laboratory.

[Graphic] Photo 4 with link to higher quality photo.
(Photo: Edison National Historic Site)

This section of the building is a large hall with a 30-foot high ceiling and two tiers of galleries that surround the room. In this large space are stored his more than 10,000 books, displays of many of his initial inventions, and several of the numerous awards presented to Edison for his achievements. Not shown in the photo, but included in the furnishings of the library, is the cot used by Edison for his famous catnaps. Edison sometimes worked for 24 or more hours straight. When he was close to a solution for a problem involved in one of his inventions, he might stay at the laboratory for several days at a time, catching only short naps when he could. Even when things were going smoothly, he slept only a few hours at night, depending on his catnaps to restore his energy.

1. Note the white statue in the right center of the photo. What is the "Genius of Electricity" holding in his raised right arm?

2. Would you have expected to find such an elegantly furnished and decorated room in a research and development library?

3. Why would Edison have considered the library an important part of his invention factory?

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