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Antique of the Week: Thomas Edison's Stock Certificate

Edison signed this certificate for 2,000 shares of his cement company.

As everyone in Kensington knows, Antique Row is one of the community’s points of pride. Howard Avenue and its side streets are lined with shops specializing in antique furniture, rugs, vintage toys, used books and more. This large presence in the community sparked our feature, Antique of the Week, where we will showcase a different item or curiosity each week to bring attention to pieces from the past. 

This week, we’re featuring Thomas Edison’s original certificate from Sept. 20, 1900, with his signature for the stock of his nascent Edison Portland Cement Company. The Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University attribute Edison’s interest in creating a cement company as a byproduct of the waste sand produced from his attempt to concentrate iron ore. Portland cement was named for having similar characteristics of the stone found at the Isle of Portland at Dorset, England. 

History in Ink states Edison opened his company in 1901 and hired his friend Walter S. Mallory, who shares his signature of the stock, to be the vice president.

The cement was used for a variety of structures, from buildings to dams, but the company did not make a profit until 1922, when it supplied the concrete to build Yankee Stadium, as mentioned in the Edison Papers. In fact, the Edison Papers describe the concrete as so durable that it was left untouched during the renovation of the stadium in 1973-4. Finally, in 2008, when Yankee Stadium was closed, Edison’s cement was removed.

You can own a piece of this monumental certificate of stock for $3,000. It is available at  at 3758 Howard Ave. The phone number is 240-264-7274.

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