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Gulf & Main Magazine

Amazing Automobiles

Apr 11, 2023 08:00AM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan

Courtesy of the Edison Ford Museum. 

The 15,000 square-foot Edison Ford Museum at the Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers highlights many of Edison and Ford’s inventions, including items and artifacts of Thomas Edison’s projects, such as lighting, movies, and music, including his favorite one, the phonograph. 

Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman (1847-1931).  There’s also a wonderful collection of Henry Ford’s cars.  

“All told, there are 11 automobiles on sites,” says Lisa Wilson, Marketing & PR Director. 

The vehicles are in the Main Gallery Museum, at the Ford property Garage, in the Music and Movies Gallery, and at the Into the Wild Exhibit Gallery. They include a 1914 Model T Ford-Touring Body Style, a 1937 Ford Coupe, and a 1929 Model A Ford. Also in the Main Gallery is Thomas Edison’s 1916 Model T.  The car was a birthday gift given to him by Henry Ford and represents their close friendship. 

Courtesy of the Edison Ford Museum.

Ford (1863-1947) was an American Industrialist who changed the way factories produced by creating assembly line methods of production in the early 1900s. The assembly line arranged machines, equipment, and workers to simplify production through a step-by-step process. In 1908, Ford announced the birth of his Model T, a car that was designed for the general population with the idea that an ordinary man could have a car, and they were no longer a rich man’s luxury item. 

This, in turn, changed how people lived, worked, and vacationed due to their increased mobility to travel longer distances with greater ease. Also at the Estates is the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory, the historic winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, their caretaker’s homes, and Edison’s study. 

“The homes sit on 20 acres of botanical gardens with plants and trees from around the world,” adds Wilson. 

Visitors can choose from a self-guided tour using an app or call a phone number. They can also stroll the grounds using a map or enjoy a guided tour led by a site historian. 

“Specialty tours that take visitors inside the homes, explain the automobiles on site, or provide an in-depth tour of the botanical gardens,” says Wilson. 

Information about tours and ticket prices is listed on the website. Edison & Ford Winter Estates - 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, 239-334-7419,

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.