[D8822AAU], Letter from H B Mitchell (Georgia) to Thomas Alva Edison, May 29th, 1888


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[D8822AAU], Letter from H B Mitchell (Georgia) to Thomas Alva Edison, May 29th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"I have been greatly intersted in noting from time to time, accounts of your wonderful inventions, some of which are certainly belssings to mankind; and the thought struck me the other day, to write to you in the interest of the farmers' of the South, and a party of the West, and solicit your aid and wonderful inventive genius, toward solving a problem, over which many have tried and all have so far fairled. I refer to a Cotton-picker. ### Soemthing that will save the time, the labor and the cost of the present and old fashioned hand picking process. ### I feel confident, in fact I am so sure of it that I am tempted to say, I know that if you put your mind to the work you will succeed. ### You alone of all man-kind can successfully solve this problem, and if you only will, you will have made a debt of gratitude, that can never be repaid. There will of necessity be a great deal of money in it too, as such a machine of not too high, will have unprecedented sales in all the cotton states. ### I am suer such a machine can be so simple in its constructions, as to be within the reach of almost every farmer, which would render its sales enormous. ### It could be made to run by electricity or horsepower, though the latter would come nearer within the reach of the poor man's pocket and uneducated man's brain. Since the average field hand will not pick one day with another more than 100 lbs. per dime of seed cottogn the whole season, and labor is very scarce during tha tpeirod and where there is much to pick or even little, it is the farmer's intereste to get that in out of the weather as rapidly as possible, as the least rain stains it and reners its price lower, then too it grows lighter in weight the longer it is exposed to the sun. So that we farmers lose both ways, and it is no slight loss either. Again it costs us to have it picked from 40 cents to $1.00 per 100 lbs. depending upon the hands one may get. Please to think of this matter and let me hear from you upon it, and should you conclude to go to work in the farmer's interests I will do all in my power to aid you in it, such as furnishing you with any data as to genearl height of cotton in this section, width of rows, &c. and next fall send you cotton stalks with the cotton on them open & ready for picking. I don't know whether you ever saw a field of cotton or not, but will state that it does not all open at once, but has to be picked five or six times, and a machine in order meet with success must not injure the young bolls or blooms while picking those that have opened and must not pick hash and leaves along with the cotton. ### I sincerely hope and trust that you will give your attention to this work, for the sake of that poor and long suffering people--the farming class--as well as for the money there is in it, and am positive you will succeed if you undertake it. Hoping to hear from you soon" I remain very respectfully yours, H.B. Mitchenn [TAE Marginalia: "Tell him I am already working on it"





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