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Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for July, 2012

Summertime Features

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 24th

Phonograph Demonstration

Edison Ford Museum and Historic Estates & Gardens

 Even when it is rainy outdoors, there is lots to do at Edison Ford, in fact, some of our visitors have told us that they especially enjoy the wet tropical gardens.

     The daily choices include both full guided and orientation tours and both are supplemented with an audio wand tour and maps. There are options on the audio wand for German, Spanish, French and English, accompanying maps and labels throughout the gardens.

 Activities at the Edison Ford include:

  • Daily Guided and Orientation Tours – Every day 
  • River Cruises, Tours and Yacht Club Lunch – Wednesday & Thursday 
  • Garden & Estates Walks – Every Tuesday 
  • Visiting Phonograph Curator Talks – Monday & Friday 
  • Hands-on Science & History Cart Demos – Every day
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour – Every Thursday


Henry Ford Celebrated in Edison Ford Museum Stores

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 9th

For July, Ford Birthday Month, all Ford related items are 10% off regular price* so it is a great time for collectors.

Just in time for Henry Ford’s Birthday month, there are many Ford memorabilia items in the Museum Stores and in the Ford Cottage Shop.  Some of our favorites include books, video programs, shirts, hats and of course Ford antique car replicas.  Here are just a few of our favorite items!

Model “A” Ford Poster (25×34)

Fabulous Ford Poster (25×37)

Ford 3d Metal Sign, Approximate Size: 12″ X 8″

Ford 3d Metal Sign, Approximate Size: 12″ x 8″


Ford 3D Metal Sign, Approximate Size: 12″ X 8″

1920 Black – Ford Model T

Cat’s Meow Ford Home


Ford Home Glass Block, Clear/Crystal

“Fordlandia: The Rise And Fall Of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City” by Greg Grandin

“The Fords of Dearborn” by Ford R. Bryan

“Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire” by Richard Bak

“Good Morning” After a Sleep of Twenty-five Years, Old-Fashioned Dancing is Being Revived by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford

Advertising The Model A Ford: A Collector’s Guide to Model A Ford Magazine Advertising by James W. Thomas

The Night Henry Ford Met Santa by Carol Hagen, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Ford Tee, “The Universal Car”


*Discount available in store and over the phone.  Purchases made through the Online Store are not eligible for discount.



Vintage Postcards – NEW in the Edison Ford Museum Store

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 9th

Check out the replica vintage postcards that just came in!  These throw back style post cards are sure to catch the eye of the recipient.

They are perfect for postcard collectors and our event coordinator thinks they will make for unique wedding save the dates.  They can even be matted and framed for “old Florida” home decor.  What would you do with them?


Happy Birthday, Mina Miller Edison!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 6th

In honor of Mina Edison’s 147th birthday, here are some fun facts!

  • Born July 6, 1865 in Akron, Ohio, Mina Miller was the seventh of eleven children.
  • Her father, Lewis Miller, was an inventor, manufacturer and co-founder of the Chautauqua Institute.
    • The Chautauqua Institute, an outdoor camp founded in 1874, offered cultural, religious, educational and musical programs.  It quickly became an American Institution.
    • Lewis Miller’s inventions helped to revolutionize agriculture and included early mowers and harvesters.
  • Mina attended a ladies finishing school in Boston, MA in 1885, studying music – one of the things that would later attract Thomas Edison to her.
  • Also in 1885, mutual friends Ezra and Lillian Gilliland introduced Mina to Thomas Edison, where she was playing piano and singing.  Thomas described Mina as “a yardstick for measuring perfection.”
  • Thomas and Mina married on February 24, 1886 and honeymooned in Fort Myers, staying at a local hotel.
  • Mina and Thomas had three children: Madeleine, Charles and Theodore.
  • Describing herself as a “home executive,” Mina closely managed two homes and their staffs.  She also raised her three children with Thomas and helped raise Thomas’s three children from his first marriage.
  • Mina was active in a number of civic and charitable organizations and co-founded the Fort Myers Round Table, an influential group of community leaders.
  • Mina was also instrumental in beautifying the city (through various garden clubs and beautification councils) and assisting the city’s less fortunate.
  • A dedicated conservationist long before the word entered popular vocabularies; Mina was a member of the National Audubon Society and the Chautauqua Bird & Tree Club.  Mina also became close friends with renowned cartoonist and conservationist, Jay “Ding” Darling.
  • Thomas Edison passed away in 1931 after 45 years of marriage to Mina.  Even after her husband’s death, Mina continued to visit Fort Myers and stay closely involved with the local community.
  • In 1935, Mina married a childhood friend named Edward Hughes.  Hughes passed away in 1940, and Mina resumed using the Edison surname.  She continued wintering in Fort Myers throughout this time.
  • In 1947, she deeded Seminole Lodge to the City of Fort Myers to serve as a botanical garden and preserve the legacy of her late husband.  Mina passed away in the same year.

Suggested materials on Mina Edison: DVD: Mina Miller Edison – The Wizard’s Wife, The Edisons of Fort Myers: Discoveries of the Heart by Tom Smoot

Happy Birthday Henry Ford!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 1st

July 30th marks the 149th birthday of Henry Ford and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is celebrating the day with antique car programs, lectures, and Museum demonstrations throughout the day.

As an industrialist, Ford is most noted as the father of the automobile. He was one of the greatest innovators and inventors of our time holding 161 US patents. He was also a filmmaker, who was the largest producer and distributor of films; an early pioneer in sustainability and “green science” methods; as well as a collector; accomplished dancer; and marketer whose business practices set the standard for advertising and marketing today.

Ford Facts:

  • The Ford Motor Company was formed in 1903 and Ford created an assembly line which revolutionized car production, making automobiles affordable for middle class Americans to own, forever changing where people lived and how  they traveled.
  • In 1920 Henry Ford developed charcoal briquets under the brand name Kingsford. Ford built a charcoal plant after turning wood scraps from the production of the Model T’s into charcoal briquets.
  • In 1929, Henry Ford established the Edison Institute in Dearborn Michigan, today named The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village, with his personal collection of historic objects which he began collecting as far back as 1906. The Museum and Village boasts rare collections of famous homes, machinery and Americana including the original Edison Electric Laboratory from Fort Myers.
  • As an early American “green scientist,” Ford patented a plastic bodied car in 1942 using soy based plastics in hopes to use agricultural plastics to promote other markets for farmers to sell their crops.
  • In 1905, Henry Ford served as Vice President of the Society of Automotive Engineers when the organization was founded to standardize US automotive parts.


On July 30, 2012 join Edison Ford curatorial staff at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. for a presentation on The Legacy of Henry Ford’s, Cars and Engines in the Edison Ford Museum.

Lectures are FREE to the public with admission.



Edison Ford Inventor’s Camp in Full Swing – Only FOUR Weeks Left

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 1st

Now in its seventh year, the Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp has become the ’gold standard’ for camp, winning the ’best camp’ award from Parent Child Magazine and already attracting record registration for the June, July and August week-long camps in science, history and the arts.

Two simultaneous camps are offered every week all summer for age groups in 1st – 3rd  and 4th – 6th grades. There is also a Camp Counselor Volunteer Corps for students in the 7th grade and older who would like to earn community service hours for their important work assisting in the camps.

Remember that Edison Ford Members receive discounts for camp, early notifications and FREE admission to Edison Ford and hundreds of other museums and gardens throughout the nation all year long.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $200; non-members $230

Eager Engineers ● July 9 – July 13

Time Travelers ● July 16 – July 20

Physics in Motion ● July 23 – July 27

Smarts in Art & Science ● July 30 – August 3

For information and to register for camp openings, call the Edison Ford Museum Office at 239-334-7419.

President’s Update JULY 2012

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 1st

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

We are headed to the publisher with our annual report and thought you would like to see an updated photo of our Edison Ford Staff.  I am very proud of the accomplishments of the staff and our progress in all areas of managing the site, education and growth.

Included in the group photo are the Education Staff, Curatorial, Tour Historians, Volunteer Coordinators, Marketing and Special Events, Public Relations, Membership, Finance, Retail, Facilities, Gardens, Security and support staff for a total of almost 60 professionals who run this award winning site. In addition, there are another 250 unpaid staff volunteers who support every function here at Edison Ford.

Lisa Sbuttoni who directs public relations, marketing and events has completed the new annual report. We look forward to sharing it with members, donors and our grants partners.