Coffee | Thomas Edison (Greenville)

Event details

  • June 16, 2020
  • 9:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Upcountry History Museum, 540 Buncombe St, Greenville, SC 29601
  • 864.467.3100

 View Map  Cost: Free  | 

Coffee & Conversation: Thomas Edison led by Hank Fincken

During the June Festival each morning at 9am from Wednesday June 19 – Saturday June 22, we gather together to pick the brains of ofthe historical performers. No costumes, no script, just a chance to have some personal time and dialog with the performers – over free coffee.

Each morning features a different performer/historical figure. Often the other performers and Chautauqua staff also join in the fun. And if you come to multiple Discussions, you begin to see how the 2019 “It’s Revolutionary!” historical figures relate to each other.

Admission to the event and the coffee is Free!

When the event is over, the Upcountry History Museum will be open. If you are not already a Museum member, admission to the Museum is: Adults $10, seniors and college students with ID $9, and children ages 4-18 $8. Children age 3 and under are free. As a Blue Star Museum, all active duty military service members and their families, as well as military veterans, will be free through Labor Day.

Special Exhibits: TBA


The Festival Coffee & Conversation Series is a collaboration with The Upcountry History Museum – Furman University whose mission connects people, history, and culture.


Edison by Edmund Morris (October 2019) New book by winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award soon to be available at Greenville Library System

Before the Nickelodeon by Charles Musser (1991) Musser analyses every film that came from the Edison studios, with special emphasis on the director Edwin Porter.

Discovering Antique Phonographs by T.C. Fabrizio and G. f. Paul (2000) This detailed book is why I think collectors are often underrated historians.

Edison and the Business of Innovation by Andre Millard (1990) This book captures the second half of Edison’s career, when the shop culture becomes the research and development laboratory. This detailed volume proves that Edison was as much a businessman as an inventor and did some of his best work after Menlo Park.

* Edison: A Biography by Mathew Josephson (1959) This is the first serious scholarly attempt to look back at Edison and measure his influence on our lives today. After sixty years, the book still holds up, giving lots of insights into the man and his life of invention.

Edison: A Life of Invention by Paul Israel (1998) If you want to know how the inventions worked, get this book. Nobody has studied the invention notebooks with such care.

Edison: Inventing the Century by Neil Baldwin (1995) This book is extremely strong when talking about Edison the man and his family.

Edison’s Electric Light by Robert Friedel and Paul Israel (1987) This is a month by month report, the highs and lows, that resulted in the invention of the incandescent lamp. After all this time, it still reads as a careful study.

* Executioner’s Current by Richard Moran (2002) What would you do to make sure your light system dominates the world? Would you create an electric chair to show the dangers of AC current even thought you do not personally believe in capital punishment? Edison did.

Innovate like Edison by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott (2007) There are great quotations and insights here, but the audience is corporate executives. Edison made no mistakes or rather even his mistakes have inspiring consequences.

Inventing the Future by Marfé Ferguson Delano (2002) This photobiography is ideal for those who need to see what Edison did. Great pictures but a bit simplistic. This book implies Edison is a secular saint. Written for middle school.

Thomas Alva Edison; An American Myth by Wyn Wachhorst (1982) This book discusses how the man becomes a symbol and the role of that symbol in our society. Also, this author is the consummate prose writer. I reread it just to enjoy his use of language.

* Thomas Edison and Electricity by Steven Parker (1995) The danger of most children’s books about all great men and women is that they simplify the past for an inspiring message. They trust the myths and unverifiable anecdotes. This book is better than most.

The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn (2019) This book focuses on their camping trips with Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs from 1914-1924.

Edison and Tesla and the War of the Currents

* The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World by Mike Winchell (2019) Rousing account of one of the world’s defining scientific competitions.

Empires of Light by Jill Jones (2003) If you think History is just about good guys rising to the top, you should read this. Westinghouse, Tesla, and Edison battle for leadership in the light/power hungry world.

The Current War – Movie Release date Oct 25, 2019. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison.

(Starred items are available in the Greenville County Library System.)