Edison was laid down at Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, New Jersey on 18 March 1940 with Ericsson. The two destroyers were also launched on the same day, 23 November, when Edison was christened in honor of inventor Thomas Alva Edison by his widow in a ceremony also attended by his son, Charles Edison, later Secretary of the Navy and Governor of New Jersey.
After commissioning on 31 January 1941 under LCdr. A. C. Murdaugh, Edison was joined by Woolsey, Ludlow and Bristol to form Destroyer Division 25 of Destroyer Squadron 13, which through 1944 operated in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea and participated in all five of the major landings at North Africa, Sicily, Italy and southern France.
Edison began by operating from the East Coast in training and fleet exercises and in passenger and mail runs to Argentia, Newfoundland. In November 1941, she commenced escorting convoys from Argentia to Iceland, a run she repeated several times in 1942.
For Operation “Torch,” the invasion of North Africa, Edison departed Norfolk on 24 October 1942. At Fedhala (Mohammedia), French Morocco on 8 November, she engaged shore batteries and screened shipping lying off the beachheads. Edison returned to Norfolk on 1 December, made a voyage to gulf ports escorting tankers and then resumed escort duty with convoys from New York and Norfolk to Casablanca and Oran, Algeria.
For Operation “Husky,” the invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943, Edison was attached to RAdm. Richard L. Conolly’s Licata (“Joss”) attack force, with which she provided fire support for troops landing at Molla. Until September, she followed up by escorting support convoys from Algiers and Bizerte.
For operation “Avalanche,” the invasion of Italy on 9 September, she screened the assault transports and provided fire support for the American landings at Paestum. In this action, she closely followed cruiser Philadelphia through an unswept minefield to take station close inshore. From there, she engaged enemy Tiger tanks with direct fire, destroying twelve and exhausting her 5-inch ammunition while helping VI Army preserve its tenuous foothold on the beach. Her gun barrels glowed white into the night.
Resuming escort duty, on 16 December Edison screened while Woolsey forced U-73 to the surface with depth charges and sank it with gunfire. Edison picked up 11 survivors.
Edison and her division were present for the Operation “Shingle” landings at Anzio on 21 January 1944. On the 24th, she, Ludlow and Gleaves were assigned to fire support area X-ray off Nettuno. As troops ashore became bogged down, Edison providing fire support for the VI Corps’ right flank near Littoria on the 28th and continued operating off the beaches until the assault phase of the operation was completed on 2 February. Following the operation, she sailed home for overhaul, returning to the Mediterranean on 1 May 1944.
For Operation “Anvil,” the invasion of southern France on 15 August, Edison and her division operated with DesRon 16 in Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo’s “Camel” bombardment group off Saint-Raphaël. Like DesRon 16, they continued on patrol around the Ligurian Sea, firing at shore batteries, railroads, troop concentrations and other targets of opportunity until the end of the year.
At New York on 17 January 1945, Edison underwent another overhaul and then escorted a convoy to Le Havre, France during April and May. On 8 June, she departed New York for the Pacific. She was training at Pearl Harbor when the war ended. She reached Japan in September for the occupation. On 3 November, she departed Nagoya to serve as a weather station in the Aleutians.
Edison returned to San Francisco on 30 December and then continued to the East Coast, where she was placed out of commission in reserve at Charleston on 18 May 1946—later at Philadelphia. On 1 April 1966, she was stricken from the Navy list. On 29 December, she was sold for scrap to Lipsett Inc., Kearny, New Jersey.
Edison earned six service stars during World War II.