[D8732AAR], Letter from William Symes Andrews to John H Vail, May 12th, 1887


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[D8732AAR], Letter from William Symes Andrews to John H Vail, May 12th, 1887

Editor's Notes

D8732AAR was enclosed with D8732AAQ. "I think you may probably like to hear something of the work now being done by the Brush people here with the Westinghouse system. ## They have now quite a number of lights burning, and have succeeded in cutting us out of some large Club contract by offering light at ridiculously low prices. They use small 50 volt lamps of about 12 C. P normal (that is at ususal incandescence), but they run these up to 20 or 25 candles, so that they look like small arc lights, and they claim that their lamps having short strong carbons, will stand this strain and average fully 800 hours of life, while of course the economy is greter than with lower incandescence. ## In their inside wiring, they use nothing smaller than No. 14 Am. W. G., and their names are proportinally large, so that some of their house wiring looks very clumsy. The imitate the appearance of our wiring however, as closely as possible, with regard to shades -- flex. Cord -- ceiling cut-outs &c., so that a casual observer would not see any difference. They fix up the "Converters: anywhere under shelter, and sometimes exposed to weather, and their OUTSIDE wiring is very poor and clumsy. ## Their "Feeders" are figured at 2% loss, as they have no 'Equalizers', and many of them are of 000 wite and carry 1000 volts approximately. How is this for $8 per mile? ## They have now been running the alterntative system about three weeks, and many people are entirely satisfied with the service they are getting. I think they ought to be too, for the light is really very good, and they are almost giving it away. ## They let people have it on cost of their average gas bills -- in fact they allow them to pay what they please -- ask for no contracts -- and allow unlimited hours of burning. ## Our Company here are feeling very blue about it, I tell them it is only a bluff game -- No Company will be so foolish as to continue such a suicidal policy of selling at a loss, and by and by they will have to pull up with a sudden stop. The fact remains however, that they are robbing our business pretty badly, and are able to run away out into districts that we at present cannot touch. ## I think it is very much to be regretter that the Edison Company have not taken more active steps to provide local companies with some means of combating with such as Westinghouse in the matter of long distance lighting. Take this station for instance. We have to VACANT FOUNDATIONS for 15 1/2 x 15 A. & S. engines with corresponding dynamo room. ## We could get at least 2000 or 3000 more lights in at VERY PROFITABLE RATES, in a rich resident district from one to TWO MILES away if we only had an alternating or converter system to SUPPLEMENT our regular three wire system. Brush people boast that they are going to scoop all this in, and tell everybody all around that they can go ANYWHERE where their light is asked for, and crow over the Edison Company as being tied down within the narrow limits of about two dozen squares. ## I hope to be in New York in the course of about two weeks, and I want then to talk this matter over more fully with you -- One thing, BETWEEN OURSELVES is certain, it is idle to scoff at the Westinghouse people as being beneath notice as competitors. They are hard and persistant workers, and it behooves us to provide ourselves with means to fight them with their own weapons, and if we don't wake up pretty soon to this fact, we shall suffer in the future for our negligence. I identify myself with EDISON interests, and feel pretty strongly in the matter. In the meantime, I would suggest that either you write yourself to the local company here, or ask Mr. E. H. Johnson to do so, and give them a few crumbs of comfort. I am trying to do my part in that direction, but a little assistance from head quarters would not be received without proper appreciation. ## Apologizing for trespassin on your time with so long a letter, I remain, ## P. S. I send you by this mail, to-days' paper."





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