Thomas Edison’s most noteworthy contribution to the Franklin-Ogdensburg mining district was to serve as a bellwether in mining and milling methods, including new techniques in blasting, conveying, crushing, and magnetic separation. His renowned electrical and telephone systems were employed in Franklin and Ogdensburg at an early time.
One of Edison’s greatest inventions was the electric cap lamp and connected storage battery carried by miners underground. This lamp was the first reliable, safe source of light for underground use. Before the Edison Cap Lamp, miners carried torches, candles, carbide lamps, or oil lamps, all of which produced light by means of a flame and were responsible, at one time or another, for horrendous underground mine fires.
Thomas Edison had the unique ability to visualize, develop, and put into use a logical network of conveyors, trains, steam shovels, crushing rolls, magnetic separators, briquetting machines, buildings, and mines: a veritable assembly line of mining and milling activities, all efficiently connected.
Henry Ford, after visiting the Edison Mine, developed the first automobile assembly line in Detroit, based upon Edison’s system. Edison continued to improve his conveyor lines by introducing rubber belting with the help of Thomas A. Robins. Robins became a key figure in the transition to assembly-line methods in industry.
The development of the Parker Shaft and Mill Complex in Franklin, and the Sterling Mill in Ogdensburg, were both directly and indirectly influenced by the great Thomas Alva Edison.
To learn more about Thomas Edison, visit http://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm