[D8848ABR], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, May 25th, 1888


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[D8848ABR], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, May 25th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"Toppan has told me about the sale of the stock in Boston and the action you are proposing to take in the matter, and what the influence has been that has brought this about, and I must say that I am surprised that you should fall in so readily with the ideas of those who may be considering their personal interests as against the interests of yourself and all others; certainly that is the way it looks to me. But the object of this letter is not to crticise, but to give you my views on the subject. ### I have said to Mr. Toppan and Mr. Lathrop and a great many others, that I considered the Phonograph stock worth 150, for the reason that I think that a business, the prospects of which are so good as the Phonograph seems to be, would be a good investment at a price which would make it a divident earning one, if the enterprise realized one-half of what is estimated. ### According to the terms of my contract, the sales for the first year would be 17,450 machines at a net profit to the Company and, pianos one hundred and fifty thousand, typewriters forty thousand and of telephone rentals ninty-six thousand dollars. ### Our estimate of business for the Phonograph in the same district amounts to eighteen thousand dollars. ### You have seen fit to put the commercial part of the Phonograph in my hands. I have been making a very thorough canvass of the matter and it would seem to me that I am much better able to estimate the value of the stock than Mr. Perry or John, who have never given these matters a moment thought and know nothing about it whatever,; and as I have said before are probably influenced by their personal interests. ### Being able to find purchasers for the amount of stock sold at this price, I consider to be a very fortunate circumstance; the money that you need can be raised, on the basis, by the sacrifice of a smaller proportion of your stock. ### Boston people are glad to pay 220 for Bell Telephone which only pays 12% on par with an occasional 4% extra. Ithink this idea that advantage is being taken of a person who pays 150 for Phonograph stock, is all bosh, in view of the above showing and the fact that Graphophone stock is at the present time selling at a higher figure. I think you ought not to hesitate one moment as between a sale of stock to a wealthy community, at 150 per share, as against hawking it around the street by a broker at 110. ### The Forbes family absorbed the whole Bell Telephone Co. The family to whom the stock has been sold might do the same thing with the Phonograph Company, a much more desirable thing than to have the stock peddled around in order to give some broker or his friends an opportunity to speculate. ### In regard to my proposed sales in Washington, I have never quoted a price, always told them to make an offer and it would be promptly accepted or declined. I warned them in my last correspondence that as they were so slow, it would probably be 200 by the time they decided. ### While I am not very ill, I am confined to the house, but expect to be out tomorrow. I trust you will consider the circumstance under which this letter is written, and I hope you will give the above careful consideration." Yours very truly, E.T. Gilliland "phono quantities"




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