Thomas Edison's last breath is stored in a test tube.
1. Thomas Edison's last breath was saved in a test tube.
2. Thomas Edison's last breath preserved in a test tube in the Henry Ford Museum.
Hoax or Fact:
The messages claim that the famous scientist Thomas Edison's last breath before his death was stored in a test tube and it is displayed in the Henry Ford Museum. It is not a fact.
The story goes back to the association of Henry Ford with Thomas Edison who considered him as his personal hero and friend. In the year 1951, after the death of Henry Ford's wife Clara, several personal and historical items were transferred from his Fair Lane residence to the Henry Ford Museum, among which were “glass case containing Mr. Thomas Edison’s hat, shoes, and sealed test tube containing?". In 1953, they were all displayed in the museum. Again in 1978, the test tube was discovered in its cardboard mailing tube under one of the display cases in the museum in an exhibit entitled, “Henry Ford—A Personal History." Not all, but some of the museum staff then said that they remember a note tied to the cardboard tube that stated, “This is the test tube you requested from my father’s bedroom.” However, no such note was found in the museum’s archives, and the test tube along with its cardboard mailing tube were on display with a label saying:
Edison’s Last Breath?
It is alleged that Henry Ford asked Thomas A. Edison’s son, Charles, to collect an exhaled breath from the lungs of Ford’s dying hero and friend. The test tube was found at Ford’s Fair Lane mansion, along with Edison’s hat and shoes, after Clara Ford’s death in 1950.
But in late 1980s, Henry Ford museum acquired a photocopy of a letter written by Charles A. Edison, the son of Thomas, to a popular national radio commentator, Walter Winchell which explained Edison's real love was chemistry and that there was a rack of 8 empty test tubes (from his work bench in the Chemical Room at the Laboratory in West Orange) close to his bedside during his last illness. According to Edison's son, it was a symbolic gesture that those test tubes were close to him at the end, and after his death, he asked Dr. Hubert S. Howe (attending physician) to seal them with paraffin, from which he later gave one to Mr. Ford.
This clearly indicates that the test tube was one among those eight empty ones that Thomas Edison had close to his bedside. Also note that neither Henry Ford, nor Charles A. Edison ever said that the test tube contained the great man’s last breath. Therefore, the test tube displayed in Henry Ford museum (126.96.36.199) does not have the last breath of Thomas Edison, but is indeed a historical memory of the great scientist.