[D8839AAA], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, January 4th, 1888


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[D8839AAA], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, January 4th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"I have your letter of the 3rd. Inst., which I have read very carfefully as [unclear] of the one sent by Mr. Edison to Mr. Upton. I have written Upton that I would like to see him and talk with him [unclear] object the next time I am in New York. While I thoroughly [unclear] Mr. Edison that a dynamo sold by us at $800. should not be billed at $1500. yet I do not agree with him at all that the Japanese business can be run by special discounts being obtained from shop prices. We started but by trying to run the Construction Department on the basis of selling at the manufacturer's price, making our general expense and profit out of a special discount. You know how thoroughly this system failed, and that later on we had to add a percentage to cover the cost of administration and give us some profit. Messrs. Frazar & Co. have to keep an establishment in Japan. They have skilled men there he put up their plants. They have to take care of these men when they have no business, and it would therefore be impossible for them to handle this business on the basis of an ordinary commission business. It is not as if they sold the goods here in New York, simply handling the money and have nothing more to do with the business; they have to put up the plant and start it. They have to keep men so as to nurse any plants that they put up, and I know that we cannot pay any special discount which will cover any such expense as this. I may mention that the discount which we now give is not a discount for cash, but is given with a view to helping along the Japanese business. I think it would be well if Mr. Edison would extend his inquiries and find out whether the Edison Lamp Co. or Messrs. Bergmann & Co. treat the Japanese business with any such liberality. Do the Edison Lamp Co. give a discount (commensurate with the discount of the Machine Works) on lamps? Do Bergmann & Co. do this? I think you will find that our is the only concern that gives an extra good price, so as to enable Messrs. Frazar & Co. to meet the competition of European makers. I would like you to show this letter to Mr. Edison." Yours very truly, Sam Insull





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