[D8750AAT], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, December 14th, 1887


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[D8750AAT], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, December 14th, 1887

Editor's Notes

"I have tried to get out to your house some night to get your approval of the Agency contract. I find, however, it is necessary for me to work every night in order to keep up my office work. ## As it how stands the cost of the apparatus to the selling Agents will be about $30.00 and the selling price has been fixed at $60.00. It is equivalent to 50% discount from the selling price. I have drawn up a contract on this plan, and have submitted it to several good men who propose to become agents for us and they are all satisfied with it. According to the plan we first adopted, as set forth in my contract, the selling Agents profit is determined by a sliding scale dependent upon the cost, and it is therefore never twice alike. It places us at a disadvantage with the selling agents, giving them all the advantage of any saving that we may make by improved facilities, buying material cheap, etc. The contract provides for giving this benefit to the public by a reduction of the selling price, but of course we would not want to reduce the selling price $.50 or $1.00 at a time. ## I suggest that we adopt the plan of fixing the selling price, and agree to give to the Agents, 50% discount upon the apparatus and 25% upon supplies. As the sale of the supplies are guaranteed to the selling Agent, and as supplies are a running expense against the use of the Phonograph, he should not receive so much profit as upon the sale of the apparatus. ## There is a clause in the contract which provides for not only changing the list or selling price, but provides for changing the discount, consequently, if this plan does not work well, it can be changed. It will be satisfactory to the selling agents and I think it would be to our advantage to adopt this plan. I enclose a copy. ## You will remember that I told you sometime ago that I had certain notions as to how the Phonograph should be made. I have been working along on it nights and at odd times, and am making one of them. If it works all right, I will show it to you; if it does not I will drown it. ## Everything seems to be going all right at the Factory. There is no use making apologies and explanations to you, as no one knows better than you do, the delays and disappointments in the manufacture of a new article and the starting of a new Factory. Do not forget that in this case we are doing both. We are doing the best we can."








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