[D8849ACI], Letter from Everett Frazar to Thomas Alva Edison, November 3rd, 1888


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[D8849ACI], Letter from Everett Frazar to Thomas Alva Edison, November 3rd, 1888

Editor's Notes

"Referring to my interview with you on Tuesday last in regard to the introduction of your phonograph into Japan and China, I would say that I have gone carefully through the extracts of the proposed agreement to be made between you and Mr. Frank Z. Maguire of Philadelphia, who, with an expert appointed by you it is proposed shall proceed to Japan and China on this special business; and if you are perfectly satisfied as to Mr. Maguire's business capacity and financial backing, to properly conduct same, I think it would be advisable to have this agreement carried out, with the following amendments; to which you will please excuse my calling your careful attention, speaking as I do from thirty years experience in business with these oriental countries, in your own interest. Of course, there is always some doubt as to the successful business management of such a peculiar undertaking on the part of any one sent to those countries, but as Mr. Maguire has never been in China or Japan and consequently does not know the natives or foreigners resident there, great care should be taken on your part to see that your interests cannot be injured in the event of his not making a success of the undertaking, and, in order that you may protect yourself and be ready at any moment to take the interest into your own hands, without delay or cost to you, I would very strongly urge that the following corrections be mae in the memo. of agreement, Viz.: In clause 5 which reads "said Edison desires, so far as practicable, in the appointment of agents", the four words "so far as practicable" should be left out of the agreement, and in the same clause that part reading "in this respect and to confer the appointments upon them wherever practicalbe" the two words "wherever practicable" should be left out. The intention of these two amendments you will notice is that while Mr. Maguire would act as general agent in Japan and China, the same as my firms in Yokohama and Shanghae do for you and all other Edison interests in the matter of electric lighting for those countries and Korea, you and all our other principals, numbering about thirty, have that confidence in me and my firms whereby you are willing to place your interests unrestrictedly in our hands. You are, therefore, protected in every way and through me look to see these interests properly conductd, and you have responsible parties with whom you can come into immediate personal contact. Is this not very essential in the matter of Mr. Maguire's taking up the phonograph business for you? In clause 10th reading "all rights are personally conveyed to Mr. Maguire by Edison and are not transferrable", I would suggest that the following five words be added: "except to Frazar & Co." which would then make it read "and are not transferrable, except to Frazer & Co. and all rights granted to said Maguire &c." The advantage of this very important clause to you would be that in the event of your or our finding that Mr. Maguire is not using the great privilege which you place in his hands to advantage and you have sufficient cuase to take immediate action and cancel the agreement with him, he can be made to transfer his interests and rights over to my firms in China and Japan, by cable sent through me, here. Unless you have such a clause and understanding, you might be compelled to suffer a loss of six months of mis-management and a certain injury to the business naturally following. ### As you are aware, I have for the past year, been in close correspondence with and have sent all the printed information I have been able to obtain in regard to your phonograph to my firms in Japan and China and I know that both Mr. Lindsley and Mr. Wetmore take the livliest interest in the phonograph and its future success they simply asking from you through me that they may be assured of its being a commercial success in this country, when they are perfectly willing to incur the expense of having an expert sent out, as I have several times notified you and Mr. Tait. As late as Aug. 4th, I wrote to both Shanghae and Yokohama as follows: "I find from Mr. Edison that he has sold the U.S. rights in his phonograph, but not the rights abroad so it stands just the same for you. I wait to see it really a commercial success here, after practical use, and in this Mr. Edison is in good accord with me." I have, from time to time, made many inquiries from outside parties, notably through Mr. Upton, Mr. John Crosby Brown, who some time since informed me that he was not only a stock holder in your Company, but proposed to put a phonograph in his house and office, Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Gilliland, Messrs. Unger, Smith & Co., who acted as bankers in placing the phonograph stock, and several others, endeavoring to answer the requests of my firms in China and Japan as to its commercial practicability for use in those countries. I therefore, have not been idle, and have always been ready to take the matter up as soon as might seem expedient. It is not necessary for me to repeat that I, too, take the warmest interest in the success of your phonograph. I shall be very glad to do all in my power, both here and in Japan and China and Korea to make it a grand succes. If you agree with me that these amendments, which are certainly in your interests are added, and you are satisfied that Mr. Maguire can provide himself with funds sufficient to enable him to go to Japan and China, live and travel in those countries for one year I shall be very glad to render all aid in my power to help Mr. Maguire carry out this agreement with you. ### At the present I am temporarily living in New York City. I will be in Orange on Tuesday next, the 6th, to cast my Presidential vote and I propose to call at your Laboratory to see you in regard to this matter, and to give any further information or suggestions which we may mutually think to be advantageous." Yours very truly, Everett Frazar "P.S.--It would be well to add Korea, which territory could be served through the agency of my Yokohama firm."




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