Theodore Miller Edison

Young Theodore Edison
Young Theodore Edison.

NPS Photo

As a child, Theodore Miller Edison was called "the little laboratory assistant" by the family. He showed an early interest in science and performed many experiments at Glenmont. His father said, "Theodore is a good boy, but his forte is mathematics. I am a little afraid. . . he may go flying off into the clouds with that fellow Einstein. And if he does . . . I'm afraid he won't work with me."
Theodore Edison
Theodore Edison.

NPS Photo

Theodore Miller Edison was born at Glenmont on July 10, 1898. Edison was 51 when his son was born. He was named after a beloved brother of Mina who had just died in the Spanish-American War. He first attended the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and then Montclair Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. Finally he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he earned his physics degree in 1923. He was the only member of the Edison family to graduate from college.

Despite Edison's worries, Theodore did work for his father's company after graduation. After starting as an ordinary lab assistant, he worked his way up to technical directory of research and engineering for Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Much later, he founded his own company, Calibron Industries, Inc., and built his own smaller laboratory in West Orange. He earned over 80 patents in his career. In 1925 he married Anna Maria Osterhout, a graduate of Vassar. In later years he became an ardent environmentalist, opponent of the Vietnam War and advocate of Zero Population Growth. In 1939 Theodore Edison and his wife took a trip out west and visited several National Parks. He lived in West Orange with his wife Anna until his death on November 24, 1992.


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Last updated: April 24, 2015

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