Edison Sold General Electric Shares to Keep His Lab and Mine Open

(p. 193) In 1902, at a time when General Electric shares were trading at a historic high and well after Edison had sold his, Mallory happened to be traveling with him and saw in the newspaper the eye-popping closing price. Edison asked what his stake would have been worth had he held on to it. Mallory quickly worked out the number: over $4 million. Hearing this, Edison remained silent, keeping a serious expression for about fifteen seconds. Then his face lit up and he said, “Well, it’s all gone, but we had a good time spending it.”
(p. 194) The story would be retold by Edison’s hagiographers many times. The evidence suggests that Edison did have a jolly time, which, to him, was well worth the $4 million.

Source:
Stross, Randall E. The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World. New York: Crown Publishers, 2007.

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