In 1891 Henry Ford joined the Edison Illuminating Company as an engineer in 1891 around the age of 28. Just two years later Ford was promoted to chief engineer, which provided him with the time and money necessary to pursue a personal passion of automobile engineering and development. By 1896 he developed his first vehicle, the Quadricycle. That same year Ford was introduced to Thomas Edison during meeting for Edison executives. Edison approved of Ford’s experimentation in the automobile industry and encouraged him to build a second vehicle, which was completed in 1898. This vehicle gained interest from Detroit lumber baron William H. Murphy, who provided capital to Ford to pursue automobile manufacturing. This resulted in Ford’s resignation from the Edison Illuminating Company, but Ford did not forget his roots. It was on this day in 1929, the 50th birthday of the incandescent light build that Ford threw a grand party to dedicate the Thomas Edison Institute in honor of the American inventor. The event was attended by the likes of Charles, Schwab, Walter Chrysler, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Roy Rogers, President Herbert Hoover and of course Thomas Edison as the guest of honor. Ford moved two buildings, Edison’s lab and boarding house, from Menlo Park, New Jersey to Detroit and re-constructed them to look just as they had in 1879 when Edison brought his lightbulb to life. Edison and Ford were lifetime friends following Ford’s departure from Edison’s business. Following Henry Ford’s death in 1947 the Thomas Edison Institute was renamed the Henry Ford Museum. Today the museum houses one of the largest collections of American industrial history and a of course a number of fascinating Ford vehicles, including the first Mustang ever produced. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison
October 21, 1929 – Henry Ford dedicates the Thomas Edison Institute
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