The Great French Exposition!
There was once a very intriguing period on the social side in Thomas Edison's life. Thomas Edison and his family paid a visit to Europe in the year of 1889, when he had made a impressive exhibit of his inventions and machinery at the great Paris Centennial Exposition of that year, to the extreme delight of the French people who expressively made him and his family welcomed. The political sentiments that the Exposition celebrated were not such as to find general sympathy in monarchical Europe, so that the crowned-heads were conspicuous by their absence! It was not, of course, by way of theatrical antithesis that Thomas Edison appeared in Paris at such a time. But the contrast exposed was more or less strikingly effective!
It was felt that, after all, that which the Great French Exposition epitomized at its best in triumph of genius over matter, over ignorance, over superstition met with its due recognition when Thomas Edison came to participate, and to felicitate a noble nation that could show so much in the victories of civilization and arts, despite its long trials and its long line of struggle for liberty!
Commander of the Legion of Honour!
It is therefore, no exaggeration to say that Thomas Edison was greeted with the enthusiastic homage of a jammed pack assemblage of French citizens. They could find no praise warm enough for the man who had "organised the echoes with his phonograph" and "tamed the lightning with his incandescent lightening system," and whose career was so intriguingly picturesque with several enthralling and idealistic developments in his life. In fact, for weeks together there seems as though no Parisian paper was considered complete and up to date without even the mention of an article on Thomas Edison. The exuberant wit and fancy of the feuilletonists seized upon his various inventions evolving from them others of the most extraordinary nature with which to amaze and bamboozle the reader on world wide scale. At the close of the Great French Exposition Thomas Edison was fashioned out by the French Government into a Commander of the Legion of Honour!
Edison Lamp Built of Myriads!
Edison own exhibit, made at a personal expense of over $100,000, cover several thousand square feet of the gigantic Machinery Hall, and was cent around a huge Edison lamp built of myriads of smaller lamps of the ordinary size! The great attraction, however, was the display of the perfected phonograph!
There were several instruments that were provided, and every day, all day long, while the exposition lasted, droves of enthusiastic visitors from every square inch of planet earth were assembled waiting to hear this cute machine that could reproduce their own voices and talk and sing too. Never before in the world of history was there such a collection of foreign tongues from around the world gathered in one place. It was the first great linguistic concourse as if dating back in times of Babel. After the introduction of the electric light, Thomas Edison was more than ever, always in demand socially, but he shunned dinner functions as if they were polluted with deceases that were extremely contagious!