Edison Portland Cement


Year of Innovation Series Continues

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Turning lemons into lemonade, Edison used his experience handling iron ore to develop new methods of making Portland cement and designed a process to make affordable cement houses. Explore these ideas, attend a program, and see a special exhibit of original artifacts, documents and historic photos during the month of April at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The programs are free and will be held at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park (NHP) Laboratory Complex at 211 Main Street unless otherwise noted. The Edison Papers will be offering an ongoing online series over the course of the year in partnership with programming at the Edison's West Orange Lab. Check it out here.

1st Friday – April 4th at 2:30 p.m.

Edison's Concrete Houses
Naomi Kroll Hassebroek

Thomas Edison sought to revolutionize residential construction by mass-producing affordable, attractive, and durable homes for working-class families. From 1906 to 1910 he conducted extensive research into casting single-family houses with reusable molds and a single pour of concrete. This talk will examine Edison's ideas, experimentation, and patents, as well as the legacy of his research. Although Edison's own endeavors did not advance beyond the prototype stage, his associates and former employees used his ideas to build numerous workers housing projects in the U.S. and in Europe. Naomi Kroll Hassebroek has been an architectural conservator with the National Park Service since 1998, and has worked on numerous preservation projects at Thomas Edison National Historical Park. She first became interested in Edison's concrete experimentation while studying Conservation and Art History at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. In 2009 she received travel grants from the Netherland-America and Albright-Wirth Foundations, enabling her to research Edison-concept houses in the Netherlands and France.

2nd Saturday – April 12th at 10:00 a.m. (especially for children)
Build a Better House

Thomas Edison said "Cement and steel are to be the building materials of the future." Learn how Edison was building poured cement houses and some of his other ideas for using cement. Can you build a better structure than Edison? Join rangers and put your engineering skills to work. Reservations are required and space is limited. Please call 973-736-0550 extension 89.

3rd Thursday – April 17th at 7:00 p.m.

The Concrete Industry
Mohamed Mahgoub, PhD and PE, NJIT

Somewhat ahead of his time, Thomas Edison believed that concrete would have a wide range of applications. He made significant improvements to the production process of cement. Edison owned a mill that was located at the valley of the Delaware River in New Jersey. His mill featured the first long, rotating kilns (cement production tubes) in the world at 150 feet long compared to the standard 60 to 80 feet at that time. Edison envisioned a future with concrete houses filled with concrete furniture, refrigerators, and pianos. He also started The Edison Portland Cement Company. Edison's concrete mix was seen to be hard and durable enough to remain intact. Mohamed Mahgoub, PhD and PE, is an NJIT Assistant Professor and Concrete Industry Management Program Director. He is an expert in bridge rehabilitation, inspection, rating, design and analysis. After joining NJIT, Dr. Mahgoub was involved in research of several construction material projects for several associations, companies, and state institutions. Different topics were investigated such as concrete strength, pervious pavements, fiber reinforced concrete, whitetopping pavements, and high performance concrete. Dr. Mahgoub has served as a member in several concrete industry related organizations such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI), and American Concrete Institute (ACI).Dr. Mahgoub has more than 30 technical and scientific publications and presentations to his credit. In addition, he has been selected to be a reviewer for several reputable journals such as ACI Materials and Structural Journals, ASCE Bridge Journal, PCI Journal, and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Journal. Dr. Mahgoub has been also serving as a panelist for the National Science Foundation, NSF and National Research Council (NRC).

Last updated: April 24, 2014

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Mailing Address:

211 Main Street
West Orange, NJ 07052


973-736-0550 x11
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