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Glamping with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford

It’s time to go road-tripping with some men who ran the world.

Buckle up.
Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

Why did these titans of industry “glamp” together? As the above video shows, this group of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs became famous as “the Vagabonds.”

In the early 1900s, the traveling group took to the (primitive) roads to see the country and make the occasional business deal. Their exploits captured the imagination of the entire country, and it even involved a few naps. Part fun, part PR, their road trips changed how Americans see the open road and business.

Along the way, the unique foursome chopped trees, explored, and ate in style (while catering to the film crew they brought with them). Even President Warren G. Harding joined at one point just to see what the Vagabonds were up to.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s Almanac series on YouTube. And if you’re interested in supporting our video journalism, you can become a member of the Vox Video Lab on YouTube.

Further reading:

  • In Under the Maples, naturalist John Burroughs discusses his philosophy (and a few of his camping exploits).
  • R.J.H. DeLoach wrote the most indispensable memoir of life with “The Vagabonds.” You can read it free once you log in.
  • Finally, if you just want to check out raw videos of the group, visit The Henry Ford’s YouTube channel.