[D8822AAE], Letter from A H Geisenberger, J S Morris to Thomas Alva Edison, March 13th, 1888


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[D8822AAE], Letter from A H Geisenberger, J S Morris to Thomas Alva Edison, March 13th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"The undersigned two attorneys at this bar have undertaken upon a purely contingent fee to prosecute thre suits for damages against the Natchy Cotton Mills Co of this city, for the widows of the men killed by the boiler explosion in the mills of said Company May 28th 1887. Our clients are destitute of means, and we have only our professions wherewith to maintain [unclear] and those dependant upon us for support. ### Knowing you to be one of the greatest, if not the very greatest machinist scientist and electrician in the U.S. we write to you to lay before you the theory of defence, to be set up by the Mill owners and to ask your opinion thereon, and also to find out whether you will allow us to take your deposition on this question. A favorable reply, naming your charges if any, and also the name of a [unclear] Notary Public, and take the deposition, would be most highly appreciated. ### The facts in regard to the accident are briefly as follows: On the morning of the 29th of may 1887 the Mills started to work at the usual time about 6 O'Clock and about 10 minutes after 7 A.M. the boilers exploded, killing six persons and wounding many more. There was a thunder storm at the time. The engines were run by a battery of three boilers, two of which, being the one next to the engine and furthest from the smoke stack and the middle one, were entirely blown to pieces, the third one was not sesiouly injured. ## The theory of the defence is that the smoke stack, which was standing about four feet from the boilers, and connected therewith in the usual way with iron backing and flues, was struck by lightning and that the electric fluid passed down the stack into the breeching or flues, or other metal conductor and passed from one boilder to the other till it reached the last one where it centered, (Not passing into the ground) and created such intense that with the usual pressure of steam, it caused the explosion of the boilers. The smoke stack was of brick and mortar, eighty feet high, and the boilers were resting on brick and mortar foundations. It is upon this "lightning theory" that we are anxious to get your expert evidence, and we trust to be honored with a favorable reply. ### Hoping that we are not inconveniencing you, and that we will soon receive an answer, expressing your opinion upon the above theory, we are with greatest respect," Your most obt servants, AH Geisenberger J.S. Morris [Marginalia: "Excuse me and say that my experience is so limited in that directio that it would not be warranted in giving a deposition" "Ans Mch 20/88"] [PUBLIC REFERENCE INQUIRY]




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