Thomas Edison’s Breath

Mairead Small Staid at Cabinet Magazine:

On display at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan—amid the lacquered black metal of Model Ts and the hanging flanks of the first planes to fly over the poles, just feet from Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House and the bus seat made famous by Rosa Parks, mere yards from the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was shot and the limousine in which John Fitzgerald Kennedy was also, yes, shot—is a small, clear, and seemingly empty test tube, once rumored to contain the last breath of Thomas Edison.

This rumor has, largely, been put to rest. When the object was discovered among the late Henry Ford’s belongings in 1950, curators speculated that Ford’s interest in spiritualism may have spurred him to try to capture the soul of his mentor. An early placard attached to the museum’s display read: “It is alleged that Henry Ford asked Thomas A. Edison’s son, Charles, to collect an exhaled breath from the lungs of Ford’s dying hero and friend.”

more here.