[D8738AAG], Letter from Charles Edward Chinnock to Thomas Alva Edison, October 10th, 1887


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[D8738AAG], Letter from Charles Edward Chinnock to Thomas Alva Edison, October 10th, 1887

Editor's Notes

"Your communication, criticising the United Company's inability to propery canvas their territory, I take the liberty of answering direct. ## Our agent for New Jersey (Mr. Schroeder) allowed the Sawyer-Man Company to sell tem plants in Paterson, either because he was incompetent, lacked time, or the Sawyer-Man Company's agent succeeded in convincing the purchasers that the system is represented was the best for the money. Mr. Schroeder's answer please find enclosed. ## My answer is the utter impossibility for any one man unaided to properly cover a state like New Jersey. I have always thought, and do now, that the United Company should have a representative in every large city in the United States. ## The plan of having an agent secure large and valuable territory, more than he can possibly handle, and then coolly wait for the orders to come in, is a dead faileur, as a means to down the opposition. ## What we want here is fewer policies and more agents, joined with a reasonable amount of ordinary, everyday common sense. When I assumed the duties of Vice president, April 1st, the Company was behind at least Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000). The shops were assessed immediately, and it proved to me conclusively the time had not arrived to increase the pay roll to any great extent. I tried in a feeble way to prove what could be done, by authorizing an energetic young man, engaged in the Telephone business, to canvas Long Island in his spare time, with the following result:-- ## In five months he has closed nine contracts aggregating 3200 lights, in fact more than any other agent in the United States in the same time (outside of Messrs. Humbird & Gorton) and in the face of opposition from all sides, United States, Westinghouse, Sawyer-Man and Mather, one plant being under the shadow of the Sawyer-Man factory. I show this as a sample of that can and should be done. ## If I am responsible for the vacillating policy, and plans adopted by this Company during the last six months, I am ready to admit myself a flat failure and hold myself in readiness to step down and out with what little reputation I have left. This hanging by a thread without proper authority or confidence, trying to smooth conflicting interests, I am heartily sick of. ## While I have been with the Company forty thousand lights have been sold, almost double for any corresponding period and at one-half loss. I have made no attempt to change any verdict the Directors may have arrived at concerning myself and ask that this be not considered an endeavor in that direction." Enclosure: D8738AAH.








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