[D8534A], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Thomas Alva Edison, January 10th, 1885


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[D8534A], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Thomas Alva Edison, January 10th, 1885

Editor's Notes

[Marked "Personal" (handwritten)]: "This failure of Kendall & Co. turns out to be the worst swindle ever known in Valparaiso." Their whole business has been fraudulent for 3 years, and the partners will be lucky if they escape prison. Their accounts with the Edison Co. at Santiago are also proven to be a cheat, and are so reported by the investigator. Just before the failure they called the stockholders together and offered them 20% cash and 30% in one year for their shares if they would sign over the whole business to them. It nearly worked and if it had, the whole business would have figured as an asset of Kendall's and the stockholders would not have received five cents on the dollar. ##I sold on 10/30 fixtures for a new hotel in Villa[?] del Mar. After Dec. 1, Kendall would not allow me or the purchaser to remove them, although a legal inventory showed Kendall & Co. to be in debt to me. We tried to get the goods, but they held them, backed by Mr. Waters, "who while drawing his salary from me has steadily worked against me and in favor of Kendall. This I hope you will not forget." I just now got an order from the receiver of the firm to take the goods. ##Before the failure, Kendall tried to sell the business to the Brush people and sent agents to me to work the same deal as me. I said I would make a combination on prices and nothing else, and that closed Kendall's deal because the Brush people would not come to [time?] unless I joined the deal. ##One of the stockholders of the Santiago Co. is coming to NY (E.C. Spencer). It has lately transpired that the money he invested belongs to minor children and that he is responsible for the loss which the Santiago people expect to sustain. I am sorry. "Treat him well but tell him nothing of any account." He and others are now working with the Brush people here, who may take the Santiago station and run it on the Brush incandescent system. This[?] Spencer will go to Cleveland to see how much Brush will put up to work the deal and get the credit of knocking out an Edison station and making a flourish of the fact all over the world. The Brush stockholders are rich and influential men here and will do this job if joined by the stockholders. The stockholders say that after repeated appeals to the Edison Co. in NY, they are unable to get any help and are therefore justified in taking it from the other side. They would change the sockets and dynamos and use the same wires, tubes, fixtures, engines, etc. "It is a nice scheme and I have therefore cabled you to include Santiago and Valparaiso in my contract and I will undertake to keep Santiago running as an Edison station without expense to you or anybody at home." My friends here will take over the whole business at any time. ##"If you have not yet answered me no this matter, cable at once. But look out for Spencer and tell him nothing. He is a cuss. We can now raise the price of light and bring Santiago to a paying basis."




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