Napoleon Hill’s story of how Edwin C. Barnes “Thought” his way into a partnership with Thomas Edison; one of the greatest inventors of all time.
How Edwin Barnes “Thought” His Was Into A Partnership With Thomas Edison
It was in the early 1900’s when one Edwin Barnes from the Midwest had a burning desire to partner with Thomas Edison; one of the greatest inventors of all time. Although Barnes planned to work with the great inventor side by side, he faced a couple of challenges which almost made his dream of being Thomas Edison’s business associate seem like a chasing after the wind. Three of the major challenges that Barnes faced included:
He had never met leave alone have any association with Thomas Edison.
Poverty had been his best ally since he was born.
He had no idea what he could offer Thomas Edison to make him become his partner.
Although Edwin Barnes had a couple of shortcomings, he still persisted and knew in his mind that he would one day become Thomas Edison’s business partner and backed with courage and the will to succeed, Barnes traveled by a freight train to Orange, New Jersey in 1905 since he couldn’t afford buying a passenger train ticket.
When Edwin Barnes arrived in Orange, New Jersey, he presented himself to Thomas Edison while he was in his laboratory and declared he’d come to work WITH the great inventor. Thomas Edison sensing Barnes determination to succeed offered him the opportunity to work in his offices as a floor sweeper and for a nominal wage and this was an offer which Barnes gladly accepted even though it wasn’t related with Thomas Edison’s main line of work for he knew that TEMPORARILY working for the great inventor would give him the opportunity to learn from him, meet his associates and generally know how Thomas Edison had built his vast empire.
Months went by but still Edwin Barnes didn’t get his partnership with Thomas Edison though he decided to use his opportunity of working in Edison’s office as a floor sweeper to showcase his expertise in order to capture his “partner’s” attention which for now had eluded him.
Edwin Barnes continued working for Thomas Edison for about two years before his big break came in the form of a marketing obstacle.
How Edwin Barnes Became Thomas Edison’s Business Partner
Edison had just finished working on his newest invention, the Edison Dictating Machine(the current Ediphone) and feeling optimistic about it, he was ready to commercialize it though his salesmen weren’t as optimistic as he was for they claimed it would need a lot of effort to sell just one dictating machine.
This tag of war between Edison and his salesmen went on for a while until Edwin Barnes, the floor sweeper saw a very rare opportunity to seal his partnership with Thomas Edison for once and for all by offering to sell the Edison Dictating Machine on his behalf, a task which Thomas Edison’s sales force had deemed to be next to impossible.
Armed with great determination and a solid marketing plan, Barnes approached Edison and offered his marketing services to the great inventor since in his eyes he deemed the machine would be of great help to thousands of executives across the country as it would help them do more, save on time and increase profits. Upon seeing Edwin Barnes determination to sell his latest invention, Thomas Edison gave him the permission to sell his dictating machine and within a few months, Barnes had already sold thousands of the Edison Dictating Machine.
Thomas Edison became so impressed with Edwin Barnes that he gave him a contract to market the Edison Dictating Machine across the entire nation and this was how a business partnership grew between Mr. Thomas Edison and Mr. Edwin Barnes.
Barnes had finally achieved his dream of working with Thomas Edison and he could now comfortably say he was his business partner; something he had planned from the very beginning.
As a result of his efforts and discipline, Barnes became a multimillionaire at a relatively young age and because of his success at selling the Edison Dictating Machine, a business slogan”Made by Edison and installed by Barnes” was born.
After a couple of years, Thomas Edison was asked about his first encounter with Edwin Barnes and he replied by saying, “He stood there before me looking like an ordinary tramp but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after. I had learned from years of experience with men that when a man really DESIRES a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win. I gave him the opportunity he asked for because I saw he had made up his mind to stand by until he succeeded. Subsequent events proved that no mistake was made”.
Just before Edwin Barnes made it big with the Edison Dictating Machine, he had bought himself a rather expensive wardrobe and this was what Napoleon Hill wrote in his book; the Law of Success:
“In those days he had the largest and most expensive collection of clothes I had ever seen or heard of one man owning. His wardrobe consisted of thirty-one suits; one for each day of the month. He never wore the same suit two days in succession.”
And upon asking the young salesman why he had such an expensive wardrobe, Edwin Barnes responded by saying:
“I do not wear thirty-one suits of clothes entirely for the impression they make on other people; I do it mostly for the impression they have on me.”