A decade-long effort to bring a new statue to the U.S. Capitol to represent Ohio ended Wednesday when lawmakers unveiled a statue of Thomas Edison at the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday.
A bronze, larger-than-life statue of Thomas Edison now resides in Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The 6 ft. 10 in. statue, standing on a large granite base, is one of two representing Ohio; President James Garfield is the other. The road to Washington for Mr. Edison had been very long, since he was nominated by a loyal group of citizens in 2009. The statue itself was crafted by Alan Cottrill of Janesville, OH. Mr. Edison is standing in a characteristic pose, one hand in his pants pocket. The other hand and arm are extended out, holding an incandescent light bulb.
No citizen campaigned more fervently for Mr. Edison to reside in Washington, DC than Don Gfell of Milan, Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Edison Birthplace Association and lover of all things Edison.
Mr. Edison spent the summer of 2016 in the glass entry of the Milan Berlin Library, after being displayed for a year in the capital rotunda in Columbus. From humble beginnings in Milan to being the “Man of the Millennium” according to Time magazine, Thomas Alva Edison’s life and work still resonate with people everywhere. In Milan, we are honored, not only to be the “Birthplace of Invention”, but to also be the force to honor this great man with a lasting tribute in our nation’s capital.
Top members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vied with Ohio lawmakers to give the best speeches honoring Edison, inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph record and many other staples of modern life. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, noted that Edison had 1,093 patents and founded 14 companies, including General Electric. His inventions included the light bulb, electrical power utilities, sound recording, motion pictures, a stock ticker and a magnetic iron ore separator, among many others, Kaptur observed.
Robert Wheeler, president of the Edison Birthplace Association in Milan, said about 90 people from the Milan area travelled to Washington for the ceremony. He said 44 boarded a bus early Wednesday, while others flew in to see the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.
A bronze, larger-than-life statue of Thomas Edison now resides in Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. No citizen campaigned more fervently for Mr. Edison to reside in Washington, DC than Don Gfell of Milan, Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Edison Birthplace Association.