Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nickel-alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless. . . . One night the terrifying cry of fire echoed through the film plant. Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals. Within moments all of the packing compounds, celluloids for records, file, and other flammable goods had gone up with a whoosh. Fire companies from eight towns arrive, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect. Edison was 67 years old - no age to begin anew. His daughter was frantic, wondering if he were safe, if his spirits were broken, how he would handle a crisis such as this at his age. She saw him running toward her. He spoke first. He said, "Where's your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends. They'll never see another fire like this as long as they live." At 5:30 the next morning with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, "We're rebuilding." Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh, by the way, anybody know where we can get some money?" Virtually everything we now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution in our lives came after that disaster.
Source: New Era Magazine, October 1980, p. 10. © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.Used by permission.
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