A Brief Biography of Thomas Alva Edison
The West Orange Laboratory
Thomas Alva Edison entered into a new and the fullest phase of his career when, at age of forty, he moved his talents and tools from Menlo Park to his great new laboratory at West Orange, New Jersey, on November 24, 1887.
One of his first undertakings was the development of his favorite creation, the phonograph. The pressure of his work in connection with the perfection and installation of electric lighting systems throughout the country had made it impossible for him to concentrate on the phonograph, but now he went to work in earnest to see that the instrument fulfilled the high destiny he had held out for it from its beginning ten years earlier.
During the first four years of his occupancy of his new laboratory at West Orange, he took out more than eighty patents on improvements on the cylinder phonograph and its businessman's counterpart, the dictating machine.
At the same time, Edison interested himself in an entirely different field, one that was as new to the world as it was to him. That field was the motion picture. Eadweard Muybridge and others had done some experimental work, but had only hinted of motion pictures. Muybridge, for example, by the employment of multiple cameras strung along a racetrack, had taken successive shots of a trotting horse, but he offered no method whereby the pictures could be viewed in motion.