We enter the world of a century ago, a world lit by gaslight. It is Menlo Park, New Jersey in 1877. Thomas Edison and his team are completing work on a new invention - the phonograph. Edison is a renowned inventor and is hailed as "The Wizard of Menlo Park." He declares that he will invent a practical electric light, a light that will be safer and cleaner than gaslight. He receives financial assistance from the financier J.P. Morgan for the undertaking. There are those who do not want Edison to succeed, but he toils on and on. He knows that the secret of electric light is incandescence - heating a filament with electricity until it glows. But what material should be used for the filament? His men try everything - but in each case, the filament shoots up in flames. The trials go on for months, yet Edison does not give up hope. The Warwick Institute tells the press that the electric light is an impossible dream and calls Edison a scoundrel. Edison declares that on New Year's Eve - only a few months hence, he will light up the area with 2,000 electric lights. The search for the elusive filament goes on and on. Ironically, each time Edison's light bulb fails, he must return to gas light in order to see. His men are ready to give up. "We have tried 1000 different types of filament." Edison says that the trick is to get up the courage to try 1001. At last they achieve success. The successful filament proves to be ordinary cotton thread, coated with carbon. On New Year's Eve Edison ushers in the year 1880 with a spectacular display of electric lights. His men and his supporters cheer.