The plaque, with the envelope addressed to Thomas Edison’s son Theodore still present, reads: “1879-1929/Edison Pioneers/ “The Light Once Lit/ Shall Never Dim/ But Through All Time/ Shall Honor Him”
The Edison Pioneers was an organization composed of former employees of Thomas Edison who had worked with the inventor in his early years, and founded to keep alive Edison’s ideals and aims. Membership was limited to people who had worked closely with Edison before 1885. On February 11, 1918, the Edison Pioneers...
The Edison Pioneers was an organization composed of former employees of Thomas Edison who had worked with the inventor in his early years, and founded to keep alive Edison’s ideals and aims. Membership was limited to people who had worked closely with Edison before 1885. On February 11, 1918, the Edison Pioneers met for the first time, on the 71st birthday of Edison. There were 37 people at the first meeting. In time there were 100 members, counting descendants of Edison Pioneers who were allowed membership in later years.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the light bulb, in 1927 the Pioneers commissioned U.S. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock to create a piece of metallic art – a portrait plaque – that would symbolize this. He produced a work that has an engraving of Edison on the front, along with his name and the initials of the engraver. The reverse is inscribed: “1879-1929/ Edison Pioneers/ “The Light Once Lit/ Shall Never Dim/ But Through All Time/ Shall Honor Him” / R.R. Bowker.” At bottom is the date October 21st . Two ball feet at the top corners make this usable as a paperweight.
This medal is an earlier and rarer version of the more usually seen plaque, which states on the reverse “Light’s Golden Jubilee/ 1879-1929.” At bottom that one has in smaller letters the manufacturer’s name engraved.
Still present are the envelop the plaque was sent in, addressed to Theodore Edison, the youngest son of Thomas Edison, so this plaque thus comes right from the Edison family. There is also a note that reads: “The words on this commemorative souvenir, presented to you at Menlo Park, N. J., are from the pen of our esteemed member, Mr. R. R. Bowker, and are identical with those inscribed on the plaque affixed to the perpetual lamp installed within the tower erected by the Edison Pioneers on the site of the original laboratory to commemorate LIGHT’S GOLDEN JUBILEE. EdIson Pioneers.”
To find a copy of this plaque at all is quite uncommon. But to have it come right from the Edison family is extraordinary.
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