[D0204AAD], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Thomas Alva Edison, June 4th, 1902


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[D0204AAD], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Thomas Alva Edison, June 4th, 1902




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University


Thos. A. Edison, Esq,
Orange, N. J.
U. S. A.
G2 Hackford Road, Brixton, London, S. W.
June 4th 1902.
Dear Mr. Edison:-
Service of Mr. Bolton and the expiration of his option on the Jungner Patents, I have been able to keep an eye on matters, and herewith give you some information which may possibly be of use.
The Jungner business for all countries except Scandinavia, Germany and Austria is tied up for six months to come in hands, favorable to your interests, thus giving you time to close pending Patent matters.
In England, Jungner claims that the disclaimer attached to your Patent renders it valueless. The best defense against Jungner here is that his Patent does not disclose to an effort in the art any practical method of making his battery. As described, the battery will not work, neither does the expression "any suitable bending material" used in his Patent disclose with sufficient [illegible?] what he used. He did not use graphite.
In Washington, Jungner will claim that Rafn's affidavit describing his experiments with silver-copper is misleading, in that Rafn used graphite with silver and Jungner did not. Jungner claims that silver, when coated with graphite on like material, will not absorb oxygen, and that a battery so made is not his battery and cannot work. This is true of silver in a molten state, but you will know if it is true in solution.
He also claims that, while silver may be slightly soluble in very dilute alkali, that it is not so in a strong solution, say 30%.
His principal defense, however, is that his broad claims are good under the U. S. Supreme Court decision in the Favre battery case, where a Patent was allowed on the principle of the pasted plate as distinguished from the plate formed from solid lead, or Plante plate, although the Favre Patent did not disclose any practical method of making such a plate. This decision also prevailed here.
In Germany, and Austria, as a sequence, Jungner's broad claims were sustained because the German govt. consulted an eminent expert when your claims were pending, and he reported in favor of Jungner on grounds of public utility and on the Favre precedent. I have, at cost of much time and many, succeeded in getting a copy of this report, which is many elaborate. I propose to go to to Berlin this week and consult with Bergmann, et al, as I believe that you can get Jungner's broad claim overturned on several points. But you will understand that the matter is a delicate one, and must be handled by your agents with great discretion.
I shall also have in a few days other evidence, outside the Patents themselves, of the greatest importance, and which surely invalidate all of Jungner Claims. This I will communicate to Bergmann at once.
You told me last summer that when ready to do business you would give me a chance. Since Mr. Bolton's death his business has passed to a Company, and I am out of employment. I am under no obligations to the Jungner Co.; I am to you. I can, if you so desire, get the best people in Austria to you join me in the Battery business, with ample capital. Of course Patent matters must be clear, and in this direction I may be able to help. If you think so, will you wire Bergmann on receipt of this authorizing him to use his discretion in dealing with me? My time will cost you nothing, but I cannot well afford to spend any more money in traveling. I shall in any event tell Bergmann all the facts and give him the papers, as they are more important.
In conclusion, you must not mention my name in the matter to any person whatsover, in your office or elsewhere, as it may close sources of information. And do not underrate your opponents, as they are wealthy and will make a hard and bitterly personal fight. But I have a means of drawing their teeth.
If you write me re Austrian Business, or anything else where I can be of use to you, direct for the present case Bergmann, Berlin. It would be well for you to get action at Washington postponed beyond July 1st the time now fixed, as new evidence will be sent you of the greatest interest.
Sincerely yours,
W. N. Stewart.
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