In July of 2022, we traveled to Milan, Ohio and visited the birthplace of Thomas A. Edison, the renowned and famous American inventor and businessman. Thomas Edison was born in this home on February 11, 1847. He was the seventh and last child of Samuel Ogden Edison Jr. (1804–1896, born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia) and Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810–1871, born in Chenango County, New York). The home is now a museum.
We produced a video on our YouTube channel about our visit that includes the tour and the history of this museum. You can check that out here:
We have visited a couple locations that are related to Thomas Edison over the years including Thomas Edison's Menlo Park laboratory, and Thomas Edison and Henry Ford's Winter Estates, but we have never had a chance to visit the birth place location which is now a museum and not too far from our house. The museum is located at: 9 N Edison Drive in Milan, Ohio.
The house was built and designed by Samuel Edison in 1841, on land purchased by his wife, Nancy Elliott Edison. His son Thomas was born here in 1847, and it remained the family home until 1854, when they moved to Port Huron, Michigan. The young Edison's early youth in Milan appears to have been unremarkable, the most notorious incident being his burning down a barn, described by one biographer as a "glorious experiment". The house was sold in 1854, but was repurchased by Edison's sister in 1894. After Edison's death in 1937, his wife and daughter worked to transform the birthplace into a museum in his honor.
The tour of the museum actually begins in the building next to it where you purchase your tickets. Inside that building there are several artifacts that once belonged to Thomas Edison and they conduct some demonstrations of a couple of his inventions. Both this building and the house itself are smaller buildings which does not lead to too many people being on the tour at one time, so the tours are timed and limited to the amount of people who can be in each tour group.
Once the door of the home is ready, everyone leaves the "ticket building" and heads on over to the birthplace house.
When you enter the building, you enter a small parlor area which was used by the family to relax and congregate sometime. The formal parlor (on the other side of the house) would have been used for special occasions. Of this small parlor there was a small bedroom. This is the room where Thomas Edison was born.
The next location was to travel up some extremely narrow steps to the upper floor where two bedrooms where located. We do recommend that you take your time going up or down these steps since the tread section is extremely narrow, (which is standard for the time period of the house.
These bedrooms would have been the parent's room and the shared children's room, but now house some artifacts that once belonged to the family and Edison's sister. There is even artifacts that once belonged to Thomas Edison that are available to be seen in a closet behind class. This includes his slippers, his derby hat, cane, and overcoat. If you click on the "More Photos" link below, you can see more of the artifacts that are available in the building.
When the tour comes back downstairs, it enters the formal parlor which includes a couch that was owned by the Edison's which material (not the stuffing) was made of horse hair. It is not very comfortable to sit on, and the Edison's liked having this in the formal parlor since they believed if guest where made to sit on it, they would not stay for very long.
Also located in the room is a tea set owned by Edison's sister and the family bible. Again, if you would like to see "More photos", please be sure to click on the link below.
There is a room off of the main parlor that houses more of Thomas Edison's artifacts, including a copy of the patent for the electric lightbulb.
The next stop on the tour is down in the basement to the family kitchen. This is the location where the family would hang out the most, especially in the cold Northeast, Ohio winters. The items down in the kitchen are not artifact's that were owned by the family, but items they would have owned during the time.
When Thomas Edison did return to the home in later years, he did comment that he remembered the clock that was in the kitchen. Specifically since that is where his mother would keep the "discipline" switch for when the kids would get out of line.
We really did enjoy our visit to the birthplace of Thomas A. Edison. We recommend this location to anyone who would like to learn more about him and his life in Ohio. Our tour guide through the house was extremely knowledgeable of about the family and the items inside and we were very impressed that she was just getting ready to start tenth grade in high school. Please let us know down in the comments if you have visited this location before and let us know about your experiences.
Again, Marianne took 245 photos at this location, so if you would like to see more, click on the "More Photos" button.