Saturday 11 February 2012

Thomas Edison: A Canadian Connection

Today is National Inventor's Day in the United States in honour of Thomas Edison, born on this day in 1847, who claimed over 1000 patents.  Although the inventor was born in Ohio, raised in Michigan and did most of his work in New Jersey, he has Canadian roots.  The Edison's hailed from Holland, sailing to the new World in the 1700's.  Thomas Edison's great-grandfather, also Thomas, living in New Jersey, sided against the British in the Revolutionary War.  Ironically, Thomas' grandfather, John, sided with the British and fled to Canada where he was granted land as a United Empire Loyalist in Nova Scotia.  This is where Thomas' father Samuel was born.  Then John and his children moved to Vienna, Ontario on the North shore of Lake Erie.  Samuel became a Captain in William Lyon Mackenzie's insurgents, leading the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.  On the losing side, Samuel and his wife fled across Lake Erie, settling on the south side at Milan, Ohio.  It was here that Thomas Alva Edison was born ten years later.  Thomas would visit his grandparents in Vienna, Ontario.  He also held a telegraph operator job with the Grand Trunk Railway at the Stratford, Ontario junction for awhile.  His grandfather would remain a Canadian until his death.  If you want to learn more, visit the Edison Homestead, now a museum, in Vienna, Ontario. 

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