[D8750AAR], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Thomas Alva Edison, December 10th, 1887


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[D8750AAR], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Thomas Alva Edison, December 10th, 1887

Editor's Notes

"Your favor of 12, 5, reached me on the 7th, and I have delayed answering it to get a copy of Mr. Hubbards letter to Mr. Johnson, in which you said he insinuated dishonesty on your part. ## As I now understand your position, the only outrage that I have committed upon you is in declining to accept your proposition. ## Am I correct in this? and that you have no other cause of complaint against me or against the Company. ## When I was asked for an interview with you and Mr. Johnson on the 27th of last month, you referred me to your lawyer, so you cannot complain that I have not volunteered to come to see you under those circumstances. ## The question of the validity of the Phonograph patents is a question that can be tested and if necessary an act of Congress can be had to revive them. ## I do not agree with you that there was any insinuation in Mr. Hubbards letter to ,Mr. Johnson. ## Mr. Hubbard has been your friend and admirer all the long years that I have known him. ## I do not think he has ever done anything of which any one can complain, except when the Bell crowd got up the improvements on the Phonograph, and started out on the theory that the Edison patents were void, in order to prevent, their proceeding on that basis he took a small amount of stock in the Company, and went in to oppose and has up to this time successfully opposed anything being done by them in violation of the Edison patents, unless we absolutely refuse to make any terms with them whatever, which under directions, we have so far refused to make. ## They are willing today to recognize the validity of your patents, and to pay a royalty for their use. ## If they do not question them, you certainly cannot. ## Mr. Hubbard took the ground that you were entitled to all the honor and profit that there was due from the invention of the fundamental basis of the phonograph. ## Mr. Hubbard is worth several millions of dollars, and I think is incapable of doing anything by insinuation, or from greed. ## His letter to Mr. Johnson was intended to disavow having any ideas that you were knowingly doing anything that from your stand-point you did not consider you had a right to do. ## He desired to pave the way for a friendly interview and discussion of the matter, and when he afterwards made up his mind t that the proposition that you made to him was not not in your interests or his, as being the best thing that could be done, he again asked for an interview, and on a failure to receive any reply from you felt that he had not been treated properly by you, and immediately resigned, from the Old Company, both as President and Director. ## Am I to understand from your letter to Mr. Johnson, which he gave to Mr. Hubbard, and whidh I have now a capy of, that you take the ground there are no patentable improvements in the phonograph you are now making, and that any one is at liberty to make it so far as you are concerned? ## You complain that I did not accept of terms that you offered to go into the new Company, and in the same breath admit that you did not expect to have me go in on those terms, but there was another basis of which I know nothing. ## I was requested by Mr. Johnson to do nothing in the matter until you had an opportunity to retire if possible on a basis of your own the minority stock holders, who behaved so badly in 79, that you desired the management taken out of their hands. ## I have given you every opportunity to make a trade with them and I should judge from the fact that Mr. Cheever is now claiming to have nearly enough stock to control the old company, and is trying to get somebody to help him to make war upon you, that you have failed to get rid of the objectionable men in the old Company. ## I now earnestly desire that some basis for a continuation of the monopoly of the Phonograph business be had, and can only regard the present situation as fatal to your best interests and injurious to those of others. ## I think it has been unfortunate that you should have launched out to the extent that you have without any consultation with me, or as far as I can ascertain, with Mr. Johnson, and if there is any thing that I can do to mend matters I shall be glad to do it."




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