Thomas Edison and Henry Ford – Who Knew?

When we were at Legacy Harbor Marina in Fort Myers, we enjoyed a day with Jim and Tammie, and Tim and Debbie, business colleagues from our Indiana apartment property.

We intended to take a day trip with Morogs and Shafers on the boat, but gusty winds kept us in the slip. As Plan B, we decided to visit the nearby Edison and Ford winter estates.

We were intrigued to learn that for decades, Thomas Edison and his wife Mina wintered in Fort Myers in a home (later supplemented by a guest house, invention laboratory and beautiful tropical gardens with palm-tree-lined walking paths) on the Caloosahatchee River.

When Thomas Edison was already a well-recognized inventor and business developer, Henry Ford – then just beginning to develop an automobile that the ordinary family could afford – attended a conference at which Edison was speaking. Edison and Ford met, Edison strongly encouraged Ford in his concept, and Edison became a valued mentor and friend to Ford. So much so that when the house next door to Edison’s winter home in Fort Myers became available, Ford snapped it up.

The two properties have been beautifully restored to their early 20th century condition and are open to the public, with excellent guided tours of Edison’s winter home, almost-identical guest house, laboratory and museum, and the adjoining Ford house and Ford car museum.

I was unaware that Ford and Edison were close, and I appreciated learning that these captains of invention and industry and their families had close relationships with each other. No person is an island.

Henry Ford house

What an enjoyable and educational day with friends!