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Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison was an inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century. Dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention. Some of the inventions credited to him were not completely original but alterations of earlier patents (most famously the light bulb), or were actually works of his numerous employees. Nevertheless, Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the UK, France, and Germany. (Source:

Dean Bennett is a Navy Veteran of the Korean War.  He has a fine baritone voice and studied and sang many operatic roles, some with his wife who now teaches voice.  After his release from active service, Dean became a radio announcer and actor.

Frequently asked to MC events, Deanís interest in history and love of jokes and mimicry led him to study and perform as W. C. Fields.  Asked to essay the role of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, he quickly found himself deeply involved in a study of the historic character.  Recruited by the American Historical Theatre which had been employed by the Discovery Channel, he appeared in The Real Ben Franklin Ė a film that is now shown every day at the Franklin Post Office & Historic Site in Philadelphia.

Whether by accident or design, another of Deanís favorite portrayals had more than a passing interest in electricity.  Somewhat further advanced than a kite in a thunder storm, Thomas Edison engaged Deanís interest.  Once again, the American Historical Theatre called upon Dean Ė this time for the recreation of a turn-of-the-century meeting between Thomas Edison and the founder of Petco, the largest electric company in Virginia.

During his twelve year association with AHT, Dean has traveled to France as an ambassador for US Airlines, read the Declaration of Independence on July 4th at the National Archives, appeared at the White House, and introduced the new $100 bill at the Department of the Treasury.  He has traveled the United States speaking at corporate functions, chautauquas and school programs.  He is the father of two adopted children and recently became a grandfather.  He has a deep and abiding interest in the welfare of children and believes that education can be enhanced by live historical encounters.

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