[D8805AAV], Letter from Edward P Thompson to Thomas Alva Edison, February 15th, 1888


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[D8805AAV], Letter from Edward P Thompson to Thomas Alva Edison, February 15th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"It is evident that no one could tell how an incandescent lamp has been exhausted. I have a new way, and so far only the Patent Office knows about it. I invented it a long time ago, and official action of last august shows that the invention is novel and patentable. If the invention were patented in my name, no one would suspect that you or any one else were using it. It is therefore, a secret process, and for this reason, especially I call your attention to it. The advantages are subdivision of labor among unskilled handsand simplest tools.### I have tried it at an expense of only $3. and find that with my rude appliances and want of an electric current to improve the vacuum, I obtained as good a a vacuum as is found in the ordinary commercial lamp. I am not prepared to guarantee that it is better than the mercury pump as I have not exhausted enough lamps to compute the exact cost per lamp, but theoretically, it would be several times cheaper. Neither can I guarantee that the vacuum is better than in the ordinary lamp, because in my office I had not the facilities to compare. At Benjamin's, and at Richards and Co., we obtained a green flame a long time ago. I may be praising the invention too much in advance of crucial tests, but the latter could be tried so easily at your laboratory, that I would like to call and describe it to you and give you several points, if you would probably desire to test it with a view to our mutual benefit. There is no doubt that the same idea has occurred to you but the application has been pending so long, and I have such old records, that the patent will belong to myself when granted, and you may feel safe that it is capapable of protection. I think that you could so systematize the steps and design the special tools, so that six boys and six girls could in eight hours, exhaust 5,000 at what hour you could see me. Hoping to hear favorably." Yours respectfully, Edward P. Thompson [Marginalia: "here anytime"]




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