Ted Arnn

Wow! Our team at Falconer Electronics was recently blessed with an amazing opportunity. Ted Arnn, a great-nephew of Thomas Edison and his wife Mina Miller Edison, provided us with an outstanding interview.

We were absolutely thrilled with this opportunity. Ted Arnn is kind, gracious, humble and funny. Also, he shared numerous fascinating stories on the Edison Family from a first-hand perspective.

Learning about a historic figure and entrepreneurial legend like Thomas Edison from a living relative was certainly informational, educational and most of all extremely exciting. In fact, Ted Arnn shares bloodlines with a list of hugely successful individuals.

For example, his great-grandfather, Lewis Miller was a 19th-century inventor and industrialist who also founded Chautauqua Institution.

In addition, the women of the Miller family also went on to find great success. Therefore, our discussion primarily focused on Ted Arnn’s aunt, the incredible Mina Miller Edison.

The Edison Family & Chautauqua Institution Connection 

This post continues our blog series on the Thomas and Mina Edison family as well as their connection to a local landmark Chautauqua Institution.

Our path started by connecting with the team at the Chautauqua Institution Archives. From there, Chautauqua Institution archivist, Jonathan Schmitz recommended reaching out the great-nephew of Thomas and Mina Edison, Ted Arnn.

Ted Arnn immediately replied to our request for an interview and graciously accepted. Furthermore, Ted Arnn far exceeded our expectations with thorough answers, hysterical stories and the generosity of his time.

Below we share pieces of that interview. Enjoy!

Interview with Ted Arnn

Ted Arnn

Question 1: What was your mother’s relationship with Mina?

Answer: Ted shared how his mother Nancy Miller Arnn was extremely close to her aunt Mina Miller Edison. Nancy lost both of her parents before the age of 18. Nancy then moved in with Mina at the Edison home in West Orange, New Jersey. After Thomas Edison died in 1931, Mina brought Nancy to Chautauqua Institution for the summer. As a result, Nancy ended up spending nearly every summer at Chautauqua Institution with Mina.


Question 2: What do you think was Mina’s Proudest achievement?

Answer: Mina accomplished plenty in her lifetime. The Bird, Tree & Garden Club at Chautauqua was what Mina was most proud of. Mina was very interested in nature and birds.


Question 3: Do you have any stories or do you know any characteristics of Mina’s Parents, Lewis, and Valinda Miller?

Answer: Lewis was a successful inventor of agriculture and farming machinery. For example, Lewis Miller  invented the Buckeye mower which allowed increased safety and efficiency for farmers.

Also, after Lewis died, Valinda and a couple daughters opened a finishing school in their home. They also invested in a company that eventually became Quaker Oats and made them a million dollars in the process. So needless to say, entrepreneurship ran deep with the highly ambitious women of the Miller family.

Question 4: What do you believe would be some of the accomplishments Mina would achieve if she were alive today?

Answer: Ted responded that Mina “certainly wouldn’t be sitting around on the porch sipping tea, that’s for sure.” She would be heavily engaged in pursuing her passions.

Another excellent example of Mina’s relentless determination occurred during the 1930’s. Chautauqua Institution severely suffered financially during the Great Depression and Mina decided to take action. As a result, Mina put up the funds by purchasing bonds to prevent the Hotel Antheneum from falling into receivership. This relentless determination of Mina reflects as Thomas Edison said, “If there is a way to do it better, find it”.

Question 5: What characteristics of Mina should young women entering college or their careers know about Mina that would be helpful?

Answer:  Our takeaway from this question to Ted:

  • Take advantage of every opportunity
  • Get Involved
  • Follow Your Passion
  • Break Barriers

For example, Mina was an extremely positive role model for Ted Arnn’s mother Nancy Miller Arnn. Nancy earned her degree in three years from Radcliffe University (now part of Harvard University). Furthermore, she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Question 6: Was it emotional for you and your sister Kim to sell the Miller Cottage?

Answer: No, because it went to a great owner. It is almost 100% all back to how it was when Mina was there.

Question 7: Do you still spend summers at Chautauqua Institution?

Answer: “Yes. I continue to spend every summer at Chautauqua Institution.”

Question 8: What brings you back every year? What do you look forward to the most?

Answer: Ted shared all of the many tremendous opportunities that Chautauqua Institution offers every summer. The lectures. The culture. Theater performances. The Playhouse. Religious services.

Most of all Ted cherishes the strong friendships. “All of the amazing relationships that I have built over the years from a child at Chautauqua all the way through adulthood.” He shared these wonderful relationships go back to the days of being a sailing counselor where he gained numerous friendships built with individuals from all over the world.

Question 9: How do you handle the role as a descendant of the founder of Chautauqua Institution? 

Answer: “Extremely humbling.” Ted also shared that it is a responsibility that he strives to live up to.

Question 10: As a relative of Mina, what would you like for someone to know about her legacy?

Answer: Ted explained that Mina was extremely organized. She married Thomas Edison at the young age of 20. Upon marrying Thomas Edison, she immediately took on the role of a mother of Edison’s three children. The oldest only 8 years younger than Mina herself. Mina became the “home executive” of the Edison estate. She managed six staff members that took care of the Edison home.

In addition, he was not a pushover.  Mina grew up in an extremely wealthy home. Her father, industrialist Lewis Miller created a vast fortune as an inventor and entrepreneur. Due to growing up with a famous father, the fame of Thomas Edison did not faze her. Furthermore, she embraced Edison’s fame and made herself part of his business.

In conclusion, we extend a HUGE thank you to Ted Arnn for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share these fun stories with us. We wish Ted continued success.

To learn more about Thomas Edison, check out the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University.

Lastly, thank you for reading our Interview with Ted Arnn. As a U.S. manufacturer of electrical products since 1985, gaining a deeper understanding of the great entrepreneur Thomas Edison and his wonderful wife Mina Miller Edison was thrilling for our team.

Falconer Electronics proudly serves as a U.S. manufacturer of Wire Harnesses, Ground Straps and Commercial Power Strips.


Are you deeply passionate about electronics? Do you love history as well? If so, you need to check out the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University (click here).

The Edison Papers at Rutgers University serves as an extremely ambitious project dedicated to the man credited with 1093 patents during his lifetime from 1847 to 1931.

Thomas Edison changed history with his relentless drive to make the world a better place with his amazing inventions and new product development.

However, Thomas Edison played many roles in his illustrious life. The list includes not only inventor and entrepreneur but also a loving husband and father. Above all, Thomas Edison represents massive success.

Furthermore, the incredible legacy of Thomas Edison continues on today with great thanks to the dynamic team at Rutgers University.Edison Papers

Rutgers University Professor Thomas Jeffrey, Senior Editor Emeritus Edison Papers 

This post continues our blog series on the Thomas and Mina Edison family. Hence, during our research on Thomas Edison, we discovered a local connection with the Edison family and Chautauqua Institution.

First, we began our research by contacting Chautauqua Institution. Chautauqua Institution Archivist Jonathan Schmitz then connected our team with Dr. Thomas Jeffrey, Professor at Rutgers University and Senior Editor Emeritus of the Edison Papers.

Consequently, Dr. Thomas Jeffrey recently blessed our company with the opportunity to interview him in person. Click here to hear sections of that interview

In addition, our conversation with both Jonathan Schmitz and Dr. Thomas Jeffrey led to a deep interest to continue exploring the Edison Papers.

As a result, it was exciting to see all of the pieces on the Edison Papers website from the Oliver Archives Center at Chautauqua Institution. Especially since Jonathan Schmitz allowed us to go through many of the same documents.

Click the link below to learn how the Edison Papers team made the Edison-Miller connection to Chautauqua Institution:

Miller Family Papers to add Chautauqua chapter to Edison project

Creating The Edison Effect Through Course Development

Below includes a video with Dr. Paul Israel, Director and also General Editor of the Edison Papers:

Below includes a link to another video with an interview with Dr. Paul Israel on PBS:

The Mission of the Edison Papers Project

Due to the deep dedication and commitment from the team at Rutgers University, their website is loaded with a wealth of information. In particular check out the  Digital Edition of the Edison Papers.

Therefore, it certainly seems like any piece of information imaginable regarding Thomas Edison resides on the Edison Papers website.

For example, according to the Rutgers University website the mission of the project states:

One of the most challenging, versatile, and collaborative projects ever anchored by humanities scholarship, the Thomas A. Edison Papers is a unique resource for understanding the unbounded themes, variations, and processes of invention and innovation because it combines the major research capabilities of Rutgers University with a team of diversely interested specialists.

A major goal of the Edison Papers is to produce a selective fifteen-volume book edition of transcribed and annotated documents. The book volumes provide not only an overview of Edison’s life and career but also significant resources for understanding the development of electrical and other technology, as well as the emergence of new technology industries.

The Edison Papers was established under a Board of Oversight which consists of Rutgers, the State University of New Jerseythe National Park Servicethe New Jersey Historical Commission, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Finally, let’s take a tour of the Edison Papers and explore the tremendous amount of information the team at Rutgers organized:

Edison Personal Artifacts 

The Edison Papers offers literally thousands of documents organized by the categories below:

Thomas Edison Business Related Documents 

Additionally, you can browse through thousands of documents on Thomas Edison’s business dealings:

Thomas Edison Inventions 

Above all, for aspiring inventors, you can also browse by inventions of Thomas Edison:

In conclusion, if you are looking for a blueprint on building game changing inventions and seeking entrepreneurial success, dedicate some time browsing the Edison Papers. You will learn tons.

Most importantly, please take a moment to thank the team at Rutgers University for all of the hard work over the years. Job well done Scarlet Knights!

Let’s Connect

Falconer Electronics serves as a U.S. manufacturer of Commercial Power Strips, Ground Straps and also  Wire Harnesses dating back to 1985.

Also, click on these links to learn more about our Wire Harness Estimator and our new Ground Strap Express!

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Several months ago we decided to blog about the greatest inventor and entrepreneur in electronics, Thomas Edison. At that time, little did we know where this path would lead us. As a result, we were blessed to interview Professor Thomas Jeffrey, Senior Editor Emeritus of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University.

Professor Thomas Jeffrey was extremely gracious and open to granting an interview on Thomas Edison. A subject that he has researched extensively for almost 40 years. For more information, click here to check out a recent blog that includes a quick bio and introduces Professor Thomas Jeffrey.Professor Thomas Jeffrey

Thomas Edison Connection to Chautauqua Institution

As we started our blog series on the Edison Family, we discovered a local connection with Thomas Edison and his amazing wife Mina Miller Edison to Chautauqua Institution. While connecting with the Chautauqua Institution Archives, our research led us to the Edison Papers at Rutgers University.

Click the link below to learn how the Edison Papers team made the Edison-Miller connection to Chautauqua Institution:

Miller Family Papers to add Chautauqua chapter to Edison Project

Mina Miller Edison’s father, Lewis Miller, co-founded Chautauqua Institution during the summer of 1874. Fast forward 144 years later, Chautauqua Institution continues to thrive delivering an amazing lineup every summer season. Chautauqua Institution welcomes over 100,000 visitors each summer who explore spirituality, philosophy, cultural vitality and the arts. In addition, click here to learn more.

As a college senior as well as working as a social media intern, learning about the incredible life of Mina Miller Edison led to a great deal of inspiration and an eagerness to explore deeper.

As a result, we learned Mina strongly valued education. Therefore after graduating from Akron High School, Mina continued her education at the Miss Abby H. Johnson’s Home & Day School for Young Ladies in Boston.

My Interview with Professor Thomas Jeffrey

This interview was made possible thanks to Jonathan Schmitz, archivist of Chautauqua Institution. Jonathan provided this outstanding connection to Professor Thomas Jeffrey due to our interest to learn more about Mina Miller Edison..

Ready for this exciting interview with Professor Thomas Jeffrey. Here we go:

Question 1: Did Mina have a good relationship with her family?

Answer: Yes, she wrote a lot to her sister Grace as she grew up. She also wrote to her mother and father as well. They had a strong relationship which helped Mina grow into an amazing woman.

As a result of the Edison papers, you can see these interactions at these links at Rutgers University:

Also here is a clip from my interview talking about her family life:

Question 2: Do you think Mina’s Father’s success helped her want to achieve as well?

Answer: Yes. She wanted to be more than just a housewife, she wanted to be a businesswoman as well.

Also here is a clip from my interview talking about this question:

Question 3: Do you think Mina being such a big part of Edison’s business made her kids want to achieve like their mother?

Answer: Yes, This is especially true when it came to seeing a difference between Mina’s stepchildren and her own children.

Also here is a clip from my interview on this question:

Question 4: Did Mina want one of her children to take over Thomas Edison’s business?

Answer: Yes, she wanted Charles to take over the business. She wanted the business to stay in the family.

Also here is a clip from my interview on this topic:

Question 5: How did Mina feel about Thomas spending time in his lab?

Answer: She didn’t like him spending to much time in his lab. She wanted him present to be part of their family.

Finally, Here is a clip from my interview about a time where Mina had to go get Thomas from his lab.


Connect with Us

Thank you for reading this post. Our blog series on the Edison Family continues with our next post on the Edison Papers at Rutgers University.

Another upcoming post on the Edison Family includes our exciting interview with Ted Arnn, the great-nephew to Thomas and Mina Edison.

Also to learn more about Falconer Electronics, you can check out information on our American Made Ground Straps and Wire Harnesses.

In addition, click these links to learn more about our Wire Harness Estimator and our new Ground Strap Express!

Finally, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Dr. Thomas Jeffrey, Professor at Rutgers University, recently granted Falconer Electronics an incredible opportunity with a one-on-one interview. Professor Thomas Jeffrey also serves as Senior Editor Emeritus of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University.

This interview was made possible thanks to Jonathan Schmitz, archivist of Chautauqua Institution. Jonathan provided this excellent connection due to our interest to learn more about Mina Miller Edison, wife of Thomas Edison.

Connecting with Dr. Thomas Jeffrey was a thrill and tremendous honor. Especially since Dr. Jeffrey took time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts, knowledge and expertise on the Edison Family.

In addition, click the link below to learn how the Edison Papers team made the Edison-Miller connection to Chautauqua Institution:

Miller Family Papers to add Chautauqua chapter to Edison project

Dr. Thomas Jeffrey & The Edison Papers

Dr. Thomas Jeffrey earned his Doctorate in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1974.

Following his doctorate, Dr. Jeffrey took on the role as Senior Editor of the Edison Project Papers at Rutgers University where he served from 1979 through 2017.

The Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers University explored 5 million pages of documents that chronicled the amazing life and achievements of Thomas Edison as well as his family.

This decade’s long project ranks as one of the most ambitious projects taken on by an American university. The team of scholars including Dr. Thomas Jeffrey turned this wealth of previously hidden information into a premier educational resource. The Edison Project team made “Edison accessible – and comprehensible – to the countless number of young and lifetime learners”.

Dr. Thomas Jeffrey on Thomas Edison

Consequently, Dr. Thomas Jeffrey authored the book “From Phonographs to U-Boats: Edison and His “Insomnia Squad” in Peace and War, 1911-1919.”

In this book, Dr. Jeffrey reveals Edison’s deep involvement towards the war effort during World War I. However, this period of Thomas Edison’s life received little attention prior to Dr. Jeffrey’s book.

Furthermore, this book serves as a guide to Part V of the microfilm edition of the Rutgers University Thomas A. Edison Papers:

Thomas Jeffrey

From Phonographs to U-Boats: Edison and His “Insomnia Squad” in Peace and War, 1911-1919 by Thomas E. Jeffrey is the guide to Part V of the microfilm edition of the Thomas A. Edison Papers. An important work of scholarship in its own right, this groundbreaking book probes an important period in Edison’s life that has received little attention in previous scholarly works. This book reveals a great deal about the inventor’s personality and methods and shows his deep personal involvement in the war effort. From Phonographs to U-Boats also includes two extended essays on how the war affected Edison’s experimental work, business enterprises, and family.

Interview with Professor Thomas Jeffrey

Lastly, please check out our next blog to learn more about the Edison Papers followed by a post to hear clips of my interview with Dr. Thomas Jeffrey. He is a world class expert on the life of Thomas Edison and his family. Above all, Dr. Thomas Jeffrey is a humble, funny and gracious man. It was a true privilege to interview him and I am excited to share my experience with you.

Let’s Connect 

For more information on Falconer Electronics, check out our American Made Commercial Power StripsGround Straps and Wire Harnesses.

Also, click on these links to learn more about our Wire Harness Estimator and our new Ground Strap Express!

Lastly, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.