Edison did not retrain himself for new technologies. He avoided almost entirely the area of electronics. He ignored a new discovery - radio waves. He did not investigate alternating-current systems.
In his new laboratory he pushed forward in familiar areas or explored new
subjects that did not require radically new techniques. He improved the
phonograph, invented a way of producing motion pictures, devised a method
of separating iron ore magnetically, built concrete homes, tried to develop a
storage battery for automobiles, and searched for a source of rubber. Some of
his ventures were successful; others, like iron-ore separation, were
Edison's attempts to increase his productivity tenfold were probably doomed
as long as he considered his new laboratory as a larger version of the old one.
His first laboratory had been basically an extension of himself; other people
were there to help facilitate his ideas. West Orange was too big for that.
Structuring and managing a laboratory so scores of inventors could create and
contribute to many new inventions was not his style.