Muckers’ Ball returns for 5th year

WEST ORANGE, NJ — On Saturday, Oct. 6, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., The Friends of Thomas Edison National Historical Park will hold its fifth annual Muckers Ball at the park, 211 Main St. in West Orange.

The Muckers’ Ball provides the unique opportunity to enjoy Thomas Edison National Historical Park via an enjoyable evening celebrating the Muckers, the researchers who worked with Edison. Edison had thousands of great ideas, but one of his paramount achievements was the very process of invention itself. He built research laboratories in West Orange and they became his “invention factory.” At the heart of this humming structure stood Edison’s “Muckers,” the skilled and trained technologists who nurtured the seeds of Edison’s imagination until they bloomed into new, practical products that changed America and the world. Edison could push his Muckers hard. Sometimes he required them to work all day and all night until some problem fell to their collective effort. But Edison also knew the value of each of his Muckers and, during those laborious days and nights, he would bring in food from local eateries to feed his team and keep them going.

“We’re trying to give our supporters a taste of what it was like to be an Edison Mucker,” Friends of Edison Chairman Arthur Gordon said. “People who join us at the event will have a rare chance to tour the laboratory buildings after normal hours and to share a meal as the Muckers might have done during their all-night research sessions.”

The event will feature casual fun, music, food and drink.

“And we’re only calling it a ‘ball’ for fun,” Friends’ Fundraising Chairwoman Bernice Manshel said. “People should come dressed for a casual evening of camaraderie and fun.”

New this year, own Council President Susan McCartney, who is chairwoman of the Muckers’ Ball, explained Friends will have dance performances and dance instructions by Theatre Next Door that span decades and encourage attendees to outfit themselves as a Mucker, in the style of the 1890s, or in a fashion relevant to the Roaring ’20s, ’40s tea dresses or swing, Fabulous ’50s, Flower Power ’60s, ’70s punk or ’80s vogue. Following Edison’s lead at his “midnight lunches,” Friends will offer appetizers from Folklore Artisanal; dinners from The Wilshire-Grand Caterers and Libretti’s; desserts provided by The Manor; beer, wine and Friends’ signature cocktail, the Electric Spark, donated by The Pour House Pies & Pints. Friends also thanks ShopRite of Essex Green and West Orange Dunkin Donuts for their contributions to the event.

Period music under the TENHP tent is provided by West Orange resident and pianist Jim Keefe along with vintage Edison recordings that enhance the festivities. A new feature added to the event is an outdoor light projection of Edison’s films shown on the façade of the main laboratory.

A portion of the ticket price will be tax deductible. Purchase tickets online at