[D8534X], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Samuel Insull, December 26th, 1885


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[D8534X], Letter from Willis N Stewart to Samuel Insull, December 26th, 1885

Editor's Notes

[Marked "Personal"] [Long, 6-page letter with TAE marg] I delayed in writing until I could see how things were moving here and what is to be done in the future. In the first place, Grace has gone into the business in good shape; he comes on his crutches almost daily to my desk to consult about some new point. We are having a book printed describing all the latest improvements in the system, testimonials from all owners of isolated plants, advertisements inserted in the daily newspapers. Clark and I have made long trips in the South working up business and nothing has been omitted which will push business. The results: we have already ordered one 300-light dynamo and supplies and we are treating[?] with 15 cities and towns for Central Station plants, while it takes all our time to attend to inquiries and get off estimates. Exchange is getting better, the price of copper and nitrate is advancing, and Chile never had so great a wheat crop as this year, so everything is looking very bright. "I expected to do very little during the first six months, but it seems as if we are bout to have a 'boom' inside that time." ##The only dark cloud is the lamentable condition of the Santiago station, and this makes our work much harder as everyone wants to know why that installation is such a failure. At present, the principal hotel and all the billiard rooms save one are using gas, making a total loss of revenue of over $7,000 per year not made up by new consumers. You will remember that Kendall raised the price of light 60% and this resulted in the loss of every large consumer. 25% raise would've been cheerfully paid, but $6.40 for equivalent of 1,000 cubic ft. of gas would not go down, with gas at $3.50 to large consumers. At this time of year, the station is operated at a loss of at least $1,000 per month; there are not lamps enough left to supply consumers; a large consignment of goods from NY lies here in the Custom House, because there is no money to pay duty and freight, and everything is demoralized. The engine and dynamo put in by Gegers[?], Long, and myself is coming out next week and is to be sold at auction, according to arrangement between us, as there is no hope of our getting our money from the Station, while I can use the dynamo elsewhere. Waters comes to NY next week, it is said for the purpose of raising funds for a company in Santiago. You know as well as I about how much he can get in NY for that purpose. It is more probable that he is coming home because he finds he can do nothing in Santiago. If he does come, I shall feel at liberty to remind you that by his combinations with Kendall he managed to break up several of my installations, that by his refusal to sell supplies for cash he gave all Edison interests in Chile a black eye, that every owner of a dynamo in the Province of Santiago is at present out of lamps and none to be had in Santiago, that Waters received from me $150 monthly in gold for 6 months and never did 6 hours work, while I had to employ another man to do his work, while he was conspiring with Kendall to break me up, that he daily insults his customers, spends his time playing billiards, riding horses, and exercising in the gym into which he has converted the principal apartment of the Station, and that his reports to the stockholder that the station is making its expenses are absolutely false. ##"This is harsh, but I am ready to prove each and every charge." [Lists people who can back him up: Ewer, Doyle, Lanz, Clark, Café del Casino, Hotel Ingles.] "I have always worked for TAE and his interests, I always intend to. And I know that you will not forget this and that you will make it a 'very cold day' for Waters when you see him. You may use this letter as you please; I back every word." ##Grace recognizes that the bad state of affairs in Santiago is a serious drawback to our work elsewhere. All the stockholders in Santiago will unite with him to revise matters and introduce the water-power scheme, of which you know. But Grace requires that you deal directly and only with him, and have nothing to do with Waters nor his gang. He will furnish all the cash needed when TAE agrees to furnish a good plant and guarantee its operation for 30 days. I am sure that no other arrangement will be worth a cent and that if you care to reorganize the Santiago scheme you will never have a better chance. Consider it, and use any efforts that you consider necessary. ##"Do nothing with the telephone business here; it is in a bad way." ##[TAE Marg]: "EHJ ##This is personal letter to Insull but you ought to see it. We have always found Stewart's statements correct. Please return to Insull after perusal."





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