Humanities › History & Culture What Was Menlo Park? Thomas Edison's Invention Factory Share Flipboard Email Print Edison's complex at Menlo Park, showing house, laboratory, office and machine shop. Theo. R. Davis History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventors Famous Inventions Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated April 21, 2019 Thomas Edison was behind the formation of the first industrial research laboratory, Menlo Park, a place where a team of inventors would work together to create new inventions. His role in forming this "invention factory" gave him the nickname "the Wizard of Menlo Park." Menlo Park, New Jersey Edison opened a research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ, in 1876. This site later become known as an "invention factory," since Edison and his employees worked on several different inventions at any given time there. It was there that Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, his first commercially successful invention. The New Jersey Menlo Park laboratory was closed in 1882, when Edison moved into his new larger laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. The Wizard of Menlo Park Thomas Edison was nicknamed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter after his invention of the phonograph while at Menlo Park. Other important achievements and inventions that Edison created at Menlo Park included: A carbon button transmitter (aka microphone) and the induction coil that greatly improved the telephoneAn improved bulb filament and successful incandescent light bulbThe first underground electrical systemA prototype electric railway was constructed at Menlo ParkThe founding of the Edison Electric Light CompanyChristie Street in Menlo Park became the world's first street to be lit by incandescent light bulbs.In fact, Menlo Park became a tourist attraction because of the novelty of lighting.Edison applied for over 400 patents for inventions made at Menlo Park. The Land of Menlo Park Menlo Park was part of rural Raritan Township in New Jersey. Edison bought 34 acres of land there in late 1875. The office of a former real estate company, at the corner of Lincoln Highway and Christie Street, became Edison's home. Edison's father built the main laboratory building on the block south of Christie Street between Middlesex and Woodbridge Avenues. Also built was the glass house, a carpenters' shop, a carbon shed, and a blacksmith shop. By the Spring of 1876, Edison moved his full operations to Menlo Park.