What Edwin Barnes, Edison’s partner teaches us?

Tevin Joseph K O
2 min readNov 20, 2017
Edwin C. Barnes (left) and Thomas Edison look over an Ediphone outside Edison’s West Orange laboratory complex in New Jersey. (Image courtesy: http://www.bridgetostrength.com)

Edwin C. Barnes had one dream, he wanted to become Thomas Alva Edison’s partner. He decided to meet him. He didn’t have anything to impress Edison, didn’t even have the money to travel to Edison’s place.

However, he reached Edison’s office and told Edison that he wanted to be the great inventor’s business partner. Not surprisingly, Edison refused.

But he was impressed by Barnes’s attitude and gave him a job as a sweeper. Barnes was more than happy to take up that because he knew working with Edison would do wonders for him.

He spent around two years doing the job of a sweeper and observed Edison’s way of working.Edison designed a product called ‘Ediphone’ and wanted to sell.
However, his sales team thought it wouldn’t work out and rejected his idea.

Barnes observing all these, put forwarded a plan to sell ‘Ediphone’. Edison liked it and approved Barnes’ plan. It worked out and they sold many ‘Ediphones’.

He finally became the business partner of Edison and launched his own company, ‘Edwin C. Barnes and Bros’.

What we can learn from Barnes?

Even though Edison refused Barnes’ proposal first, he finally achieved his dream after years. He was willing to pursue a small job because he believed it will help him to reach his goal.

He did not say, “I will work there for a few months, and if I get no encouragement, I will quit and get a job somewhere else.” He did say, “I will start anywhere. I will do anything Edison tells me to do, but before I am through, I will be his associate” — Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill

Let us take a look at what we can learn from this story?

  • To achieve your goal, you will face many barriers but you have to carry on.
  • Do whatever takes you to reach your goal. Do small jobs which eventually helps you to achieve your dream
  • To have a burning desire. If you have a burning desire, nothing is impossible.

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