Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Voices from the Past: Thomas Edison's Big Shark (1907)

Voices from the Past: Thomas Edison's Big Shark (1907)

Thomas Alva Edison is best remembered as one of America's greatest inventors, a man who's name is synonymous with inventive genius. But what few know is that Edison was also a fairly dedicated angler. Here is a report from the 08 April 1907 edition of The Los Angeles Times where Edison and his wife tangled with a nasty shark.

Edisons Fight Monster Shark

Inventor and Wife Have Close Call While Fishing

Story of Desperate Battle for Mastery Between Deep Sea Denizen and Fishers Comes to Light--Takes Hours to Capture Six Feet Long Prize

NEW YORK, April 7.--[Exclusive Dispatch] Friends of Thomas A. and Mrs. Edison today learned of a desperate struggle the inventor and his wife had in Florida with a shark, which Mrs. Edison had hooked while fishing in a river near Edison's southern laboratory.

For a time Edison and his wife were in imminent danger of being thrown into the water and losing their lives.

Edison and his wife were fishing for tarpon. The inventor was dozing when his wife aroused him by a shriek of alarm. Edison sprang to her aid, and together they played the fish, but the rapidity with which it sped away soon exhausted the supply of line, and they were forced to use their utmost strength to retain not only their prize, but their tackle.

Presently the two were being towed rapidly down the river. Spectators on shore worried for their safety. For half an hour they watched the struggle, and several times saw the inventor recline in the bottom of the boat, evidently to rest. At other times the boat was in great danger of being overturned.

At length the fish surrendered, the two dragged it near to the boat, and then Edison commenced to row toward the shore, while his wife, almost exhausted, clung to her prize. When the boat reached shallow water, Mrs. Edison's brother killed the fish--a shark almost six feet long.

Quite a battle! A few years back I recall seeing a post where an NFLCC member was able to view Edison's tackle box. I wish I could remember more details about that...

-- Dr. Todd


vance said...

are the prices listed in US Dollars?

Andrew Waber said...

Hello there

There's a story that was published in the Omaha, NE newspaper in 1884 that Edison caught a 15 foot shark weighing over 700 lbs using an electric fishing line. I have put it up on my website. Have you ever found another reference to this?