[D8820ABA], Letter from Thomas Maguire (Edison Employee) to Alfred Ord Tate, November 19th, 1888


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[D8820ABA], Letter from Thomas Maguire (Edison Employee) to Alfred Ord Tate, November 19th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"On my arrival at the Laboratory this mornign I found your various memorandums addresed to myself. ### Edison. Mr. Edison did not show up at the Laboratory to-day, so I sent your letter to his house along with some others wich came in this morning's mail, which letter have been replied to in accordance with Mr. Edison's notes. ### Insull. Mr Insull didn't materialize either. He telephoned that he would be out to-morrow (Tuesday) morning; so your letter awaits his arrival. ### Mayor Hewitt. I have got out all the correspondence between yourself, the North Am. Phono. Co., Jesse H. Lippincott and Mayor Hewitt, should you desire to refer to it. ### Homestead. Johnny Randolph sent the money up to your house as you desired. ### Phono. Works. Mr. Miller will have the statement of bills owing by the Phonograph Works ready for you in the morning. ### Penn. R. R. The Pennsylvania vouchers are in the safe. ### Phonoplex. In regard to phonoplex battery, M.r Ott informs me that the zincs have not yet arrived. He ordered these immediately you spoke to him about them. He has received notice of the in shipment and expects them to reach here very soon. ### Villard Ore. The man in the Ore Milling Dep't. informs me that the contents of car NO. 5075 are already at the Laboratory, and that #5087 is at the D.L. & W. Depot. At two o'clock p.m. the latter had not been switched and the ore can not be carted to the Laboratory until it is switched. Car No. 345 is expected to reach Orange to-morrow, and I told the man to visit the Depot early in the morning, so as to prevent the contents of the different cars from getting mixed up, in case #345 should arrive. I have made two copies of the analysis of this ore and they are on your desk. ### Tomlinson. I telegraphed you to Phila. Announcing Tomlinson's arrival. You will find copy of Russell's despatch on your desk. ### Uniformity in the Use of Letter Copyin Books. All the letters for which I am responsible are copied in one book. Since the new order regarding the copying of letters went into force, I have been very particular, and not one single letter emanating form "this office" has been copied in any but the proper book. There are a number of letters under date Sept. 10th in your handwriting copied in the letter book which you found kicking about Randolph's room, and over which I have no jurisdiction whatever. Johnnie tells me that it was he who copied these letters, I being home sick on Sept. 10th, and that he copied them in this particular book in accordance with your specific instructions. There is also a letter in your handwriting to Hood Wright, concerning Tomlinson, and one to Bergmann relative to the examination of the books of his firm, which were also copied in this book by Randolph- he says by your special request. All the other correspondence in this book is in either Randolph or Miller's handwriting, with the exception of one letter to the Corning Glass Works written by myself, and which was written at a time when the letter book in question was the only one in use, and, in fact, was the only one available for me to put my letter in. If you desire Mr. Randolph to copy his letter in our book a word from yourself to that effect would be very desirable. In view of the foregoing I think your reflections upon the writer in this connection are unmerited. ### Chaos. I will rescue the drawers in my desk from their present chaotic state at the very first opportunity, and will endeavor I the future to keep them in good order. ### Imperfect Copying of Letters. Before surrendering the letter book into the hands of "Mat" I devoted three afternoons to his instruction in the art of copying letters, impressed upon him the necessity of exercising great care and tried to imbue him with a proper sense of the importance of his work in this connection. I also initiated "Mike," and for the first week or so personally supervised their work, during which time it was well done, as you will see by reference to the letter book. It is not practicable, however, (and it shouldn't be necessary) for me to watch over them all the time, for, invariably, when the leters are being copied I am up to the eyes in correspondence and grinding out letters as fast as I know how. When I am not I always see that the letters are copied properly. I have reprimanded the boys several times about the careless way in which they perform this part of their work, and to-day I went for them so vigorously that if they don't improve in this respect it will be because they have not the capacity for doing so. The fact remains, however, that our present staff of juveniles are excessively stupid, and they betray a sad lack of intelligence in everything they do. All of them combined have not as much common sense as woud be required to keep a ton of pig iron from floating out to sea in a calm. A bright boy in the Laboratory would be like an oasis in the desert, and we could use such a one to very great advantage. I think, however, he would have to be imported, as he doesn't seem to exist in this vicinity, most of the juvenile physiogs that I encounter in the neighborhood being stamped more or less with Jersey denseness. If you could manage to give me the letters a little earlier than you have been doing recently, I will untertake to copy them myself and so dispense with Les Garcons. ### In conclusion, Mr. Tate, I beg to assure you that I take a lively interest in my work and perform all my duties with scrupulous conscientiousness and to the best of my ability, my desire being to give perfect satisfaction. I am anxious to relieve you of as much work as possible, and if you can make any suggestions in this direction, you can depend upon their being cheerfully and promptly acted upon." Respectfully, Thomas Maguire





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