In 1914, a massive fire burned through Thomas Edison’s life’s work.
The flames engulfed five city blocks in New Jersey, including Edison’s lab complex. Fueled by chemicals, flames licked the sky at 100 feet high. The firefighters fought the fire from a nearby building called the Battery Factory, which had been built with his durable Edison cement and produced batteries for experimental vehicles.
Nikola Tesla, a rival inventor, heard the tragic news. He sent his condolences in a telegraph: “As one of the millions of your admirers, I send you my sympathy. It is not only a personal and national loss, but a world loss, for you have been one of its greatest benefactors.”
Newspapers ran articles on the story, clamoring about how the fire was the worst thing to happen to Edison, who was 67 years old at the time. Was this it for him? Was this how he would see all his hard work go down?