Edison: His Life and Inventions - Vol. 1

By Frank Lewis Dyer; Thomas Commerford Martin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
ARDUOUS YEARS IN THE CENTRAL WEST

IN 1903, when accepting the position of honorary electrician to the International Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904, to commemorate the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase, Mr. Edison spoke in his letter of the Central West as a "region where as a young telegraph operator I spent many arduous years before moving East." The term of probation thus referred to did not end until 1868, and while it lasted Edison's wanderings carried him from Detroit to New Orleans, and took him, among other cities, to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Memphis, some of which he visited twice in his peregrinations to secure work. From Canada, after the episodes noted in the last chapter, he went to Adrian, Michigan, and of what happened there Edison tells a story typical of his wanderings for several years to come. "After leaving my first job at Stratford Junction, I got a position as operator on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern at Adrian, Michigan, in the division superintendent's office. As usual, I took the 'night trick,' which most operators disliked, but which I preferred, as it gave me more leisure to experiment. I had obtained from the station agent a small room, and had established a little shop of my own. One day the day

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