Menlo Park Lightbulb – Edison, New Jersey - Atlas Obscura

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Menlo Park Lightbulb

Menlo Park

A giant light 13 feet high shines near Thomas Edison's old Menlo Park lab. 


Thomas Edison was famously dubbed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” in reference to the New Jersey neighborhood that once housed his historic research laboratory. While Edison and his original lab are now gone, a monument, in the form of his brightest invention, now stands in its place to honor the great inventor.

The world’s second-largest light bulb, made of Corning Pyrex glass, is 13 feet and 8 inches tall and weighs eight tons. Every night, everyone near the 12-story tower the light bulb rests on can witness its luminescence shining over the residential area below; an unmissable reminder of the modern-day significance of Edison’s invention.

The giant light bulb of Menlo Park was constructed in 1938, just seven years after the inventor’s death, and is encased by 153 individual pieces of amber tinted pyrex glass. Inside the base of the tower, sits an eternal light that is kept on 24/7 in honor of the great inventor. Near the tower is a small museum that is open to visitors for tours periodically throughout the day. Aside from the opportunity to visit the base of the tower, visitors who take a tour will also learn about the life of Thomas Edison, Edison’s lightbulbs, and hear music played from original phonographs, another Edison invention.

In 2021, the monument was surpassed by Highlight, a public art project for the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, created by the artist Andrew Ramiro Tirado, in size. The bulb portion of Highlight is 17 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter.

Know Before You Go

The tower sits on land located within Edison State Park. It is free to walk the grounds and view the tower and many kiosks that detail Thomas Edison’s life. If you are interested in visiting the base of the tower and seeing the eternal light within, a tour needs to be booked through the Thomas Edison Center of Menlo Park. The museum is open from Thursday through Saturday from 10am through 4pm. Tours run every half hour and can be bought on site or in advance online.

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