[D8839AAE], Letter from Joseph Hutchinson to Thomas Alva Edison, January 13th, 1888


View document with UniversalViewer   → View document on Archive.org  → Re-use this digital object via a IIIF manifest


[D8839AAE], Letter from Joseph Hutchinson to Thomas Alva Edison, January 13th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"I saw Mr. Upton after leaving you this morning and have just conversed with Frazar's chief clerk through the telephone, and it seems to me that in view of the situation we are in duty bound to let the Japanese deal with Frazar and Company or let them not deal at all in this Country for the Edison Plant. Frazar and Company have sold about $75,000 of the product of the Edison Shops in Japan and outside of them we have done no business there whatever. They have hired two experienced men in the interest of the Edison Light and now have them in Japan at work and under salary. They have sufficient amount of experience in Japan business to justify them in claiming that, in comparison, we know absolutely nothing about the Japanese business. The importance of keeping up a good trade in Japan is of much more moment to them than it is to you or any of the Edison Shops. It seems to me for us to be led into opposing Frazar and Company as to their methods of doing business, by two strange Japanese, whom we know nothing about, is paying a poor compliment to Frazar and Company. It is not alone the interest of the Edison Machine Works which is involved, but it also involves Bergmann and Company and the Lamp Company. When the Japenese went to Bermann's Shop they had to go with a representative of Frazar and Company, and Bergmann refused to quote any prices except list, leaving the discounts to be arranged entirely by Fraar. We stand in the position of claiming to exercise better judgment than Fraar and Company in dealing with these Japanese and I think it is preposterous for any of us to think that we can do it better than Frazar and Company. This aside from the just claim which Frazar and Company has in the premises, that their Agency should be respected. It is utterly useless to attempt to carry on business in such a territory, if any stray "Jap" who happens to be in New York can go behind our Agents and get prices less than quoted by our official recognized Agent. We have no assurnace whatever that the price quoted by Frazar and Company is more than he can get, and it is utterly unreasonable for us to suppose that we can keep the European manufacturers out of Japan by quoting low prices. Siemes & Holske have their representative already in Japan, and as far as low prices will bring business, that far they will go and we can do nothing to prevent it. The only thing which will be most likely to sustain the volume of our business in Japan, is to be represented on the ground by a reputable Agent. This is worth ten times as much as to have a poor Agency and to sell goods cheap in New York. Frazar and Company assures me that they cannot carry out the policy which they have in doing our business, unless they are permitted to do it their own way. If they had taken hold of our business in a half-hearted manner, there might be some excuse for our attempting ot dictate to them, but in view of the fact that they started and have carried on our business in a most liberal and systematic manner, it is certainly very bad grace for us to put up our judgment as to what they ought to do, as against their own and our insisting upon having our method adopted, will result in paralizing and demoralizing the Agency. Frazar and Company expressed themselves very strongly and you may be sure that unless they are permitted to handle this Niwa case, in their own way, it will throw a wet blanket on our Japanese business. I think there is only one courst to take and that is for you to tell Niwa that the provisions of your contract with Frazar give them exlusively the Japanese business, and that not being familiar with the details of your contract you failed to remember this when you conversed with them. They will probably want you to give them your assurance that Frazar and Company's figures are not too high and I think you can conscientiously do this, for they made considerable of a reduction from their first figures. Niwa said that he considered Frazar and Company's figures only about 11% higher than they would be if the cost were taken and 12% added. If you will write a letter to me telling me to go to them and explain that you were in error in failig to remember that Frazar and Company Agency gave them exclusive rights and that you think their figures right, I will go to them as soon as I get the letter and settle it in this way, which seems to me the only right course for us to take." Yours very truly, J. Hutchinson




Folder/Volume ID


Microfilm ID


Document ID



Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
Download CSV | JSON