A Brief Biography of Thomas Alva Edison
Honors Come to Edison
A great many honors and awards had been bestowed upon Edison by persons, societies, and countries throughout the world. To him, such things were nice to have but were not to be sought after. He could never get over being embarrassed when some new medal came his way. But one of his greatest honors was yet to come. On Oct. 20, 1928, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor - the nation's highest award in recognition of services rendered.
A year later, on Oct. 21, 1929, the 50th anniversary of his invention of the incandescent light, the world again paid homage to him. In ceremonies participated in by Herbert Hoover, then-president of the United States, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, and other world figures, Edison re-enacted the making of the first practical incandescent lamp.
Time was running out for Edison, even though his keen mind and energies refused to admit it. Creative thought and hard work still constituted his creed, and at the age of 80 he was launched on another great experiment. Remembering his nation's lack of preparedness for World War I, he attacked the problem of rubber so that, in the event of another war, the United States would not be dependent upon foreign sources for this vital material. From goldenrod grown in his experimental gardens at Fort Myers, Fla., Edison was to produce rubber before his death.
A peaceful death enveloped him at his home, Glenmont, in Llewellyn Park, West Orange, on Oct. 18, 1931. He was 84 years old. His lifetime had embraced four wars and as many depressions. His achievements, more so than those of any one man, had helped to lift America to the pinnacle of greatness. The world was his beneficiary.