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How Much Did Henry Ford Admire Thomas Edison?

Thomas Edison helped breathe life into Henry Ford's idea for a gas-powered car, and when Edison died in 1931, Ford repaid him in an unusual way: by saving some of Edison's "dying breath" in a test tube that can still be viewed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The two great inventors became good friends in 1896 after Edison encouraged Ford, then an aspiring engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company, to pursue his automobile idea. Years later, they owned winter homes next to each other in Florida. Ford was given the paraffin-sealed test tube -- one of eight collected near Edison's bedside -- by Edison's son, Charles.

Two titans of industry:

  • Thomas Edison nicknamed his first two children "Dot" and "Dash," in honor of the telegraph.

  • Henry Ford's first automobile company produced only twenty cars during its two-year operation from 1899 to 1901.

  • Just before his death, Edison reportedly emerged from a coma and said, "It is very beautiful over there."

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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