[D8848ABV], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, June 6th, 1888


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[D8848ABV], Letter from Ezra Torrance Gilliland to Thomas Alva Edison, June 6th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"I enclose a copy of a letter which I propose to send out to about fifty first-class men that we know and have already spoken to a few and the most of them say that they will be able to recommend some good young men. ### I have had a talk with Gouraud and explained to him the importance of having men skilled in the setting up and adjustment of the machines, and particularly important to him, being so far from headquarters. He will avail himself of our school. ### I suggest that we represent to those young men whom we propose to educate for our business, that we fix a range of pay that they are to receive from $35 to $50 per month, according to the importance of the position which they fill, with a prospect of increasing it as the business develops. I remember that in some of our conversations on the subject, you were in favor of using machinists and instrument makers for this work; all of this class of people with whom I have talked, expect to be put on salary at one and expect to receive full wages. As Phonograph inspectors are not going to be called upon to file or fit, but simply to adjust, I don't think it will be of enough advantage to us to have men who have learned a trade, to justify the payment of the larger salary that they will require. ### I propose to adopt the plans of the Sewing Machine Co.'s in the selling and setting up of machines; that is, the salesmen and canassers obtain the order, the machine is delivered by our wagon and an inspector, who, will also be an instructor will follow and set up the machine and instruct the purchaser in the use of it. ### The class of men that we will have as salesmen, men of good address and competent to make a sale, will be too expensive to utilize their time as inspectors and instructors. For instance, I have engaged one canvaser for New York who has sold as high as 28 typewriters in one month, giving him a profit of upwards of $400. ### The typewriter companies pay only about $50 or $60 per month to the inspectors who go around and put their machines in operation. I find that sewing machine and typewriter people do not emply mechanics who have learned a trade, as inspectors and adjusters, but take good bright fellows and educate them up in that business. If you approve of my plan, and are ready to receive them, I can send out as many men as you can take care of. ### With very few exceptions, all of the parties whom I have negotiated with to act as our agents, expect me to furnish this class of help. I think we had better represent to these young men that it will take about two months to become sufficiently skilled in the business to enable them to fill a position. This will about fill in between now and the time we are ready to deliver machines. ### I am very anxious to get out and see the new machines and shall do so very soon, but I have from 20 to 30 callers per day, which together with our mail, occupies the entire day, and on account of my being sick, we some hundred or more letters behind. However, I have engaged more help and we will be caught up by tomorrow night." Yours truly, E.T. Gilliland [Marginalia: "Gilliland--You are wrong particularly in your assumptions I propose to educate mechanics so each agency has one mechanic. This mechanic was to teach as many men as required at the agency--if I attempt educating directly myself it would require whole laboratory-30 good men is all that would be necessary + these could teach a thousand + then afterwards be cheap of Repair Shop, etc." E]




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