By Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

They were the titans of industry, science and politics, capable of doing nearly anything they wanted. And what they wanted, exactly 100 years ago, was to come to Pittsburgh for a camping trip.

Calling themselves the “Four Vagabonds,” Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and naturalist John Burroughs met up in Downtown Pittsburgh on Aug. 18, with a “coterie of reporters swarming about” in the lobby of the Fort Pitt Hotel, Downtown, where Edison and Burroughs had stayed the night before. (Reporters were eager to know whether Edison was working on an answer to the German U-Boats plaguing the U.S. in World War I — he told them the “Huns” were “boneheads” who required no fancy technology.)

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