West Orange and Fort Myers (1886–1931)
Thomas A. Edison Industries Exhibit, Primary Battery section, 1915
Edison moved from Menlo Park after the death of his first wife, Mary, in 1884, and purchased a home known as "
Glenmont" in 1886 as a wedding gift for his second wife, Mina, in
Llewellyn Park in
West Orange, New Jersey. In 1885, Thomas Edison bought property in
Fort Myers, Florida, and built what was later called
Seminole Lodge as a winter retreat. Edison and Mina spent many winters at their home in Fort Myers, and Edison tried to find a domestic source of natural rubber.
Due to the security concerns around
World War I, Edison suggested forming a science and industry committee to provide advice and research to the US military, and he headed the
Naval Consulting Board in 1915.
Edison's work on rubber took place largely at his botanic research laboratory in Fort Myers, which has been designated as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.
 The laboratory was built after Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone pulled together $75,000 to form the Edison Botanical Research Corporation. Initially, only Ford and Firestone were to contribute funds to the project while Edison did all the research. Edison, however, wished to contribute $25,000 as well. After testing over 17,000 plant species, Edison decided on
Solidago leavenworthii, also known as Leavenworth's Goldenrod. The plant, which normally grows roughly 3–4 feet tall with a 5% latex yield, was adapted by Edison through cross-breeding to produce plants twice the size and with a latex yield of 12%.