[D8845AAU], Letter from Julius Mortimer Alexander Sr. to Thomas Alva Edison, April 1888


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[D8845AAU], Letter from Julius Mortimer Alexander Sr. to Thomas Alva Edison, April 1888

Editor's Notes

TAE marginalia: Tate write say that I thank him for his letter that one of my men is travelling through the gold regions + I am slowly collecting data + when ready I shall communicate with him."] "Observing recently an advertisement which appeared in our papers signed by a Mr. Hix-which invited owners of gold mining property to send to your place samples of their auriferous sulphates for the purpose, as indicated in the advertisement, of extracting the gold and utlizing the sulphur and other residuals, by a patented process known to you-it occurred to me prompted by the enormous cost of transportation, coupled with the highly favorable situation of Atlanta (with nine railroads entering its gates and penetrarting the surrounding sections in almost every point of the compass--some of them indeed penetrating rich beds of mineral wealth amongst other advantages affording no bituminous coal for manufacturing purposes at perhaps $2.00 per ton) to respectfully suggest that here would be essentially a palce for the location and building of such furnaces, or plants for the reduction of these refractory ores (which, it is susceptible of demonstration, can be delivered here in quantities limited only by the demand) into their component parts, that such as would constitute the primay product- so far as this section is concerned,-sulphur, would find an immediate home market, without the cost of transit, in its distribution to the number of fertilizer works here. Whose consumption of it, in the shape of sulphuric acid is simply enormous,a nd which they now get from Sicily, with the attendant uncertainties, delays and other mishaps incident to a long sea voyage, chiefly delays which bring the sulphur into port long after the season for its use has passed. ### Permit me to say further that there perhaps aleady exist here disused furnaces, which were constructed orginally for the extraction of sulphur from pyrites, which for reasons unknown to me, (possibly absence of proper methods, and that the other products were treated as of no value), have been set aside. ### Presumably these furnaces may be utilized under your superior methods contemplating the utilization of the entire sulphrets. I have become so much impressed with the practicability of the matter under advisement, that I have had a conference on the subject with Prof. J.D. Caldon, who from enclosures herein, you may perceive has given the subject much thought and who, from personal exploration has acquired much valuable data concerning the sources whence a large supply for smelting would be available for feeding the unfailing demand for the products of such a plant as we presume, the auriferous results, from a careful analysis of the ores to be treated, would show you you would be justified in constructing. ### I am frank to say that my two fold motive in thus writing you is, first, with a hope of a reasonable pecuniary benefit, and second and of vastly more importance, towards the utilization of this enormous dormant wealth, which has been so bountifully placed in our very most here, but which seems to have raffled all methods heretofore discovered towards the conversion of its component parts into products of commercial value, until now, through your unparalleled research and study (judging by your grand success of the past), you have discovered the philosophers stone to give the grand results anticipated. ### I have further taken the liberty of enclosing to you, for the information that may be contained therein, some printed matter that may possibly interest you as bearing on the subject. I believe it is safe to say that there are large masses of these pyrites already mined, in locations where free gold was sought, and where pyrites were treated as a waste product. In a probable organization of the plant, I suggest that if desirable, it is highly probable local capital might be, obtained in cooperation. ### Should my communication receive a favorable consideration, I would be pleased (and I am sure Prof. Caldon would be glad to cooperate) to make further investigation of the matter under consideration especially if you would indicate upon what line it would be desirable to have the matter pursued." With respect, I am Yours very truly, J.M. Alexander




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