[D8626J], Memorandum, John White Howell, June 8th, 1886


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[D8626J], Memorandum, John White Howell, June 8th, 1886

Editor's Notes

[Enclosure to Doc D8626I]. [Titled Criticism upon the "Recommendations" in the report upon Inidicators, etc., at Harrisburg by Mr. W.J. Hammer, Chief Inspector of Central Stations.] First recommendation: "In view of the fact that there is a percentage of error in these instruments not present in the new form." On Hammer's return, I asked him what this percentage of error was. He said they were not compensated for heat as are the new ones. Now these indicators are compensated for heat, Hammer did not know it, nobody had told him they were, so he reported them faulty although no evidence of the fault appeared to him during the three days he spent there. [Goes on to explain it wouldn't be a problem even if they were not compensated for heat because the station runs night and day.] So this percentage of error does not exist, first because the indicators are compensated, and second because there is no change of temperature due to starting and stopping. Hammer pleaded lack of knowledge as an excuse for making this statement; the excuse is an honest one. ##Next: "In view of the fact that the Lamp Co. replaced Instruments whose construction accuracy and intrinsic value has been proved to be less than the two instruments displaced." I admit their "construction" is "less," they are smaller. That the ones we sent are less accurate I deny, and knowing both sets, I assert that the ones we sent are more accurate than the old ones, although either set is accurate in a continuously running station. In regard to intrinsic value, the new ones cost less to build and were sold for less, the mechanical construction of the new ones is inferior to the old ones. The new ones require more skill to adjust them or to change their adjustment, but once adjusted and set up properly, are all right. Now these instruments were all put in proper adjustment by Hammer and made to show 2 volts per division, and as he says in the last sentence in the report, they "would answer save for the above-mentioned reasons." Now the "above-mentioned reasons" are reasons which are not founded on fact, save the one referring to their mechanical construction, and this does not affect their accuracy or usefulness as indicators now that they are in proper adjustment. Now I claim that we have done our full duty by the Harrisburg Co., especially as the indicators they returned are hard to get rid of owing to their beign old-fashioned.




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