History Jokes: Thomas Edison's cigars

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Thomas Edison's cigars 
Edison himself has played many a practical joke
upon his employees, and in the early phonograph days
he enjoyed many a laugh on them with the aid of his
"talking machine." Sometimes, however, the joke
was on him, as was instanced by the "fake cigar"
story, which was a popular Edison anecdote twenty
odd years ago. Edison was always an inveterate
smoker, and used to keep a number of boxes of cigars
in his room, and these were a constant object of interest
to his associates. First one man, then another,
would enter the room, ask Edison some trivial question,
and when leaving would manage, unseen, to insert
his hand in one of the boxes and annex three or
four choice cigars. Edison began to suspect something
of the kind, and one day he called on his tobacconist, explained
things, and got the man to fix up some fearful
"smokes," consisting of old bits of rag, tea leaves, and
shavings, and worth about two dollars a barrel. These
were done up in attractive-looking boxes, and delivered
to the laboratory. Nothing happened, however; there
was a falling off in the number of Edison's visitors,
but no casualties were reported. Then one day Edison
again called at the store, and inquired of his dealer if
he had forgotten to send up the fake cigars. "Why,
Mr. Edison," replied the amazed tobacconist, "I sent
up ten boxes of the worst concoctions I could make
two months ago. Ain't your men through with them
yet?" Then Edison made a rapid calculation, divided
the number of cigars by his daily allowance, and was
forced to the painful conclusion that he had consumed
those "life destroyers" himself. There and then he
gave a big order for his usual brand, and his cigars
disappeared once more with their accustomed celerity.

From Thomas Alva Edison: Sixty Years of an Inventor's Life by Francis Arthur Jones
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