On this Day

February 11, 1847

Thomas Alva Edison's Birthday


February 11 - a Red-Letter Phonographia Day

Edison and Brady Phonograph 1878

February 11 is the birthday of Thomas Edison, inventor of the Phonograph

Suggested celebration: Apple pie and a glass of milk or cup of tea



Edison the Man, SE Post 1940

"Edison the Man" 1940 advertisement in Saturday Evening Post featuring apple pie, a glass of milk and the Edison tinfoil Phonograph (known as the "Brady" Phonograph) (1)


Edison's love of pie is well known to Friends of the Phonograph and was captured in the 1940 movie Edison the Man.

Many people, however, don't know that Edison had a very defined philosophy about eating.

Laurie Carlson writes about Edison's eating habits in Thomas Edison for Kids - His Life and Ideas and notes the following:

"He took pride in eating small amounts at meals and believed that Americans could cut down their food intake by two-thirds". Quoting Edison: "They do the work of a three-horse-power engine and consume the fuel which should operate 50-horse-power engines."

"What was Edison's favorite food for most of his life? Apple dumplings, or apple pie with a glass of milk."

The suggestion of a cup of tea for the Edison birthday menu comes from "Thomas A. Edison and his Inventions" by James Baird McClure, 1879 which describes Edison dining at Delmonico's and simply having a "piece of a pie and a cup of tea."


James Baird McClure 1879


Movie still from Edison the Man 1940

Movie still from the 1940 MGM film "Edison the Man" with Spencer Tracy and Rita Johnson (in Edison's laboratory).



(1) Brady Phonograph is the name of the tin-foil phonograph that Edison was seated with when he had his photograph taken in Matthew Brady's Washington, D.C. studio on April 18, 1878.