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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for October, 2011

Steve Jobs: The Thomas Edison of Our Generation? Examining The Analogy

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 19, 2011

The untimely death of beloved Apple founder & CEO Steve Jobs earlier this month spurred a slew of articles comparing him to Thomas Edison, not to mention Henry Ford and Walt Disney. Jobs himself listed these men amongst those who inspired his work.

The New York Times made the comparison, along with BBC’s World Have Your Say, which invited Edison & Ford Winter Estates President & CEO Chris Pendleton to contribute to the program as a guest panelist (image below) during an hour-long international broadcast.

While there is no denying the impact both Edison and Jobs had on modern culture, does this analogy hold water? You decide:

  • LEADERSHIP:  Thomas Edison famously surrounded himself with “muckers:” an intelligent, hard working crew of critical thinkers. The Edison muckers provided a think-tank of great minds. Jobs emulated this style of team throughout his career.
  • EMPHASIS ON RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: Both men invested and relied heavily upon research and development to provide new technological breakthroughs. Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory was in many ways a prototype for the type of research and development department Jobs would later utilize.
  • ACHIEVING THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE: When Edison first premiered the phonograph, the device seemed so implausible to some listeners that they believed he was a well-trained ventriloquist. Twentieth century consumers were similarly stunned by innovations like the early Apple personal computers and later, the iPod and iPhone.
  • CULTURAL INSIGHT AND IMPACT: Both Edison and Jobs played a part in dramatic shifts in twentieth century culture. Edison helped to shape the music and motion picture industries that Jobs, in turn, influenced almost a century later. Similarly, Edison was involved in the creation of modern communications industry which Jobs later revolutionized.
  • INNOVATION ACROSS MULTIPLE FIELDS: Jobs impacted the computing, technology, telecommunications, and entertainment industries, amongst others. Edison’s sphere of innovation extended even further, touching dozens of different industries including those mentioned above, as well as botany, electronics, chemistry, mining, and the cement industry.
  • SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN: Jobs famously refined the designs of a variety of products, from cell phones to mp3 players. Edison also appreciated simplicity of design, continually reworking products to be simpler and more efficient.
  • WORLD-CLASS MARKETING MINDS: Edison and Jobs both understood and mastered the crucial role of marketing in releasing innovative new products to the public.
  • PATENTS: Jobs held over 300; Edison, over 1,000. Edison’s friend and winter neighbor Henry Ford, to whom Jobs has also been compared, held more than 100 patents.

World Have Your Say visits Naples and invites Edison & Ford Winter Estates President & CEO, Chris Pendleton, as a guest.


Want to know more? Read Inventing the Century by Neil Baldwin (available in our Museum Store) for an in-depth look at the cultural impact of Edison’s inventions. Or check out our recommended reading list.


Mrs. Edison’s Old Fashioned Recipe for Hickory Nut Cake

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 18, 2011

Old Fashioned Recipe for Hickory Nut Cake

 Thomas Edison’s favorite, according to a letter from John Randolph, dated April 2, 1903.

1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup of butter scaint
1 cup of milk
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint chopped nuts
1 ½ cups pulverized sugar

Cake  Mix sugar and butter scaint until a cream.  Combine with milk, flour, baking powder, 6 egg whites beaten very stiff and vanilla.  Ad the nuts, mix all together and bake in a moderate oven.

Frosting  Let 1 ½ cups pulverized sugar boil until when put in cold water it becomes brittle.  Beat the 2 egg whites until very stiff and add the sugar and beat until it gets cold.  Flavor to taste.

The Edisons’ recipes
were written during their lifetime, therefore the directions, measurements and styles of the recipes reflect the period in which they lived and their personal tastes.  Because the recipes are original for the times, you will want to read them carefully and experiment liberally.  We know you will enjoy a look at heir lives as well as their scrumptious recipes.

Our collection of vintage recipes can be found in Edison’s Family & Friends Recipes which is available in the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum Store or online at http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/store/Edisons-Family-Friends-Recipes.html.