Smith recounts the excursion made by inventor Thomas Edison to North Carolina in 1906. By then he was famous for his inventions, which included the phonograph, light bulb, and motion picture projector. Edison traveled with two steam-powered automobiles and brought his son and two mechanics with him. He had just developed an alkaline storage battery for autos, and came to North Carolina seeking cobalt. The inventor felt that by using cobalt he could reduce the weight of the battery from 67 pounds to 46.