1881 - 1890

1881

Jan 25 Signs an agreement with Alexander Graham Bell and others to organize the Oriental Telephone Company.
Feb 28 Employs Samuel lnsull as his private secretary.
Mar 1 Establishes a testing department at the Edison Lamp Works, which also becomes headquarters for lamp experiments.
c. Mar 10 Moves his business operations to 65 5th Avenue in New York City, where he daily advises the managers of the various Edison light companies.
Mar Moves his residence to New York City.
Winter Organizes the Edison Electric Lamp Company, the Edison Machine Works, and other companies to manufacture lamps, generators, conductors, and other components for his electric lighting system.
Apr 30 Places Charles Hughes in charge of experiments to preserve fruit by placing it in a vacuum.
May 17-June 25 Executes twenty-three patent applications on electric lighting.
Spring Begins laying conductors for the Pearl Street central station in New York City.
July 1 Sends Charles Batchelor to Paris to supervise the Edison exhibit at the International Electrical Exhibition and to oversee Edison electric lighting interests in Europe.
July 26 Executes a patent application with Patrick Kenny for a facsimile telegraph (U.S. Pat. 479,184).
Aug 10 Edison's exhibit opens at the Paris Electrical Exhibition.
Sep 14 Signs a contract with Henry Villard, who agrees to provide funds for experiments on electric railroads.
Sep Edison's ore separator is used by the Edison Ore Milling Company to separate iron ore from black sand at Quonocontaug, Rhode Island.
Fall Establishes at the Edison Machine Works a testing department that also becomes the headquarters for dynamo and other electric lighting experiments.

1882

Jan 12 Edison's central station on Holborn Viaduct in London begins operation.
Jan 17 Edison's exhibit opens at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London.
Winter Establishes companies in London and Paris to manufacture electric light system components and to install central stations in Europe and the United Kingdom.
  Establishes electric light companies in Latin America.
May 8 Begins at the Menlo Park laboratory an extensive series of electric lighting experiments that he considers beyond the capacity of the newly established Edison Machine Works.
Spring-Summer Executes fifty-three patent applications covering electric lighting, electric railways, and secondary batteries.
Sep 4 Opens the Pearl Street central station in the Wall Street district of New York.
Oct 4-Nov 28 Executes thirty-four patent applications covering electric lighting and electric railways.
Nov Closes his Menlo Park laboratory and establishes a laboratory on the top floor of the Bergmann and Company factory in New York City.

1883

Jan 19 Edison's first village electric lighting system using overhead wires begins operation in Roselle, New Jersey.
c. May 1 Forms the Thomas A. Edison Construction Department and spends the next year promoting and building central stations in the United States.
May-June Exhibits his electric railway at the Railway Exhibition in Chicago.
June Executes seventeen patent applications covering electric lighting.
July 4 Attends the opening of the first three-wire Edison incandescent electric light central station (village system) at Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
Oct 1 Edison's first three-wire underground central station system goes into operation at Brockton, Massachusetts.
Nov 2 Executes a patent application for an electrical indicator using what becomes known as an Edison effect lamp (U.S. Pat. 307,031).

1884

Feb 9 Executes a patent application with Patrick Kenny for a chemical recording stock quotation telegraph (U.S. Pat. 314,115).
Feb-Mar Vacations in Florida with his ill wife, Mary Stilwell Edison.
May 14 Is elected a vice-president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, an organization of which he is a founding member.
Spring Charles Batchelor returns from Europe and becomes general manager of the Edison Machine Works.
Aug 9 Mary Stilwell Edison dies at Menlo Park.
Sep 1 Merges the Thomas A. Edison Construction Department with the Edison Company for Isolated Lighting.
Sep 2 Attends the opening of the International Electrical Exhibition in Philadelphia.
Oct Negotiates a contract with American Bell Telephone Company, which agrees to pay his expenses and salary for telephone experiments.

1885

Feb 28 Attends the World Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans.
Mar Vacations in Florida with Ezra T. Gilliland and purchases land in Fort Myers.
Winter-Spring Executes seventeen patent applications covering telegraph and telephone inventions.
June-July Spends several weeks at Woodside, Gilliland's beach house near Boston, where he keeps a personal diary and becomes enamoured with Mina Miller, whom he first met at Gilliland's home in Boston earlier in the year.
Aug 11-18 Attends the Chautauqua Institution, co-founded by Lewis Miller.
ca. Aug 23-31 Travels through the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Mina Miller and a group of friends. While at the Maplewood Hotel in Bethlehem, N.H., proposes marriage in Morse code. Mina accepts by tapping out "yes."
Sep 30 After a week-long visit with the Gillilands in Boston, where he again sees Mina Miller, writes to Lewis Miller formally requesting his daughter's hand in marriage.
Oct-Nov Executes five patent applications covering telegraph inventions.
mid-Dec Visits the Miller family in Akron, Ohio.

1886

mid-Jan Purchases Glenmont, his home in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey.
Feb 24 Marries Mina Miller in Akron, Ohio.
Mar-Apr Honeymoons in Fort Myers, Florida, and keeps a set of notebooks, witnessed by Mina.
May 16-31 Workers strike at the Edison Machine Works.
Spring Is involved in negotiations to form the Edison United Manufacturing Company to act as a sales agent for his electric light manufacturing companies.
  Moves to Glenmont.
June 23 Announces that the Edison Machine Works will relocate to the former site of the McQueen Locomotive Shop in Schenectady, New York.
Oct Begins experiments on an improved phonograph.
Nov Moves his laboratory to the Edison Lamp Works in East Newark (Harrison), New Jersey
Fall Executes twenty patent applications relating to electric lighting.
Dec 30 Becomes ill with pleurisy and is confined to Glenmont.

1887

Winter Purchases fourteen acres of land in West Orange, New Jersey, near his home in Llewellyn Park; plans to construct a new laboratory.
Jan-Apr Conducts experiments on squirted cellulose filaments for incandescent lamps at the Edison Lamp Works; continues this work at the West Orange laboratory
Feb-Apr Recuperates from pleurisy at his winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.
May 3 Hires H. Hudson Holly as the architect for the West Orange laboratory.
May 24 Executes patent applications (U.S. Pats. 380,100 and 476,983) for a pyromagnetic motor and generator.
July 30 Dismisses H. Hudson Holly as architect and supervising contractor for construction of the West Orange laboratory.
Summer Rents a factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey, for phonograph manufacture.
Summer-Fall Charles Batchelor oversees construction and outfitting of the West Orange laboratory.
Oct 1 Reaches agreement with Lowell Briggs and William W. Jacques for the rights to manufacture and market dolls with Edison phonographs.
Oct 10 Organizes the Edison Phonograph Company.
Oct 14 Reaches agreement with George E. Gouraud for the international marketing rights for the phonograph.
Oct 28 Appoints Ezra T. Gilliland as general sales agent for the Edison Phonograph Company.
Oct 28 Transfers his phonograph patents to the Edison Phonograph Company in exchange for 11,960 shares of company stock.
early Dec West Orange laboratory opens.
Dec Arthur E. Kennelly joins the laboratory staff at West Orange to direct electrical research in the Galvanometer Room.

1888

Jan 17 Executes a patent application (U.S. Pat. 484,582) for the electroplating process of duplicating phonograph cylinder records. Experimentation continues throughout the next decade, leading to the first commercial release of "Gold Moulded" records in 1902.
Jan Discusses the formation of a partnership with Henry Villard to include research and manufacturing interests.
Jan Jonas W. Aylsworth begins experiments on the composition of phonograph cylinders.
Jan Reginald A. Fessenden joins the staff in the chemical laboratory at West Orange; conducts experiments to improve insulation compounds for electrical wiring.
Jan-Feb Renews the search for bamboo, grass, and other fibers to be used in the incandescent lamp filament; sends Frank McGowan and Charles F. Hanington to South America and James Ricalton to Asia.
Apr 2 Is elected resident member of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Apr-May Jesse Lippincoft holds a series of meetings with Ezra T. Gilliland regarding the purchase of Edison's phonograph rights.
May 3 Organizes the Edison Phonograph Works.
May 31 Edison's second daughter, Madeleine, is born.
May Construction begins on the Edison Phonograph Works factory in West Orange.
May-Aug Claims that his perfected phonograph will be ready for market in "a few weeks."
May-Oct Executes twenty-two patent applications for phonographs and cylinder records.
June Engages in an intensive campaign, including several overnight efforts, to produce the improved cylinder phonograph.
July 14 The North American Phonograph Company is organized.
July-Dec Conducts electrocution experiments upon dogs and other animals with Arthur E. Kennelly and Harold P. Brown.
Aug 1 Reaches agreement with Jesse Lippincott and the North American Phonograph Company for phonograph marketing.
Aug 20-30 Vacations at Chautauqua, New York, and Akron, Ohio, with his family.
Aug-Sep Confers with Henry Villard regarding the proposed business consolidation that becomes the Edison General Electric Company.
Oct 8 Executes the first of four major patent caveats for the kinetoscope and kinetograph.
ca. Oct-Nov Begins small-scale production of phonographs at the Edison Phonograph Works in West Orange.
Oct-Dec Conducts research on biocidal measures for the control of yellow fever.
Dec 27 Organizes the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works.
Dec 31 Transfers several discontinued experimental projects into a "dead experiments" account, including artificial silk, typewriter, cotton picker, pyromagnetic dynamo, and flying machine.

1889

Jan 10-Feb 1 Executes twelve patent applications or improvements in phonographs and cylinder records.
Jan Files suit against his former associates John C. Tomlinson and Ezra T. Gilliland for alleged fraud in negotiations with Jesse Lippincott and the North American Phonograph Company.
Mar 6 Sends William J. Hammer to Paris to organize the Edison exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1889.
Mar-July Constructs an ore milling plant at Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.
Apr 24 The Edison General Electric Company is organized.
July 23 Testifies regarding electric power and electrocution in William Kemmler v. Charles F. Durston.
Aug 3 Leaves with Mina Miller Edison and Francis Upton for Europe; subsequently attends the Paris Exposition and tours France, Belgium, and Germany.
Oct 6 Returns to the United States.
Nov 8 Travels to Peekskill, New York, to see the Putnam mine and to survey iron deposits.
Dec Organizes the Edison Manufacturing Company as an unincorporated enterprise.

1890

Feb 24 The Edison United Phonograph Company is organized with Edison as vice president.
Feb The Automatic Phonograph Exhibition Company is organized to market the coin-in-the-slot phonograph.
Feb-Mar Travels to Virginia and North Carolina to examine ore deposits and mining tracts.
Apr 30 Closes the experimental ore milling plant at Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania.
Apr Discontinues inconclusive insulation experiments; discharges his chemical laboratory staff including Reginald A. Fessenden.
May The Edison Phonograph Works suspends the manufacture of talking dolls.
May-Aug Conducts a series of ore separation tests at the Ogden mine in Sussex County, New Jersey
June 10 Testifies in Edison Electric Light Company v. U.S. Electric Lighting Company.
Spring Begins experiments with Arthur E. Kennelly for the design of the first alternating current transformer built at the Edison General Electric Company plant in Schenectady (formerly the Edison Machine Works).
July 4 Leaves on a two-week trip to the Midwest.
Aug 3 Edison's third son, Charles, is born.
Aug Purchases property in Silver Lake, New Jersey (now the Bloomfield-Belleville area); locates the plant of the Edison Manufacturing Company on the site.
late Aug Experiments with streetcar motors at the Edison General Electric Company plant in Schenectady.
Summer Collaborates with George P. Lathrop on a projected science fiction novel entitled Progress.
Oct Fails in his attempt to gain control of the Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Company.
Oct Reaches agreement with the Edison General Electric Company for support of his research on electric light and power.
Dec 3 The mill of the Edison Iron Concentrating Company at Humboldt, Michigan, burns down.