[D8850AAK], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, January 28th, 1888


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


[D8850AAK], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, January 28th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"Multiplication of Phonograms Edison's Phonogram publishing Company, more money in it than in Phonographs themselves. ### If you succeed in multiplying Phonograms by a process which will enable at once the reproduction of originals, both cheaply and accurately, as to the distinct articulations etc., I am convinced that the basis will thereby exist for the creation and development of a new business both interesting and profitable to a very great degree and that the copy-rights in such connection would be of immense value. ### You have no doubt anticipated all this, in your mind at least, and I have no doubt that you will succeed in multiplying Phonograms I both perfection and cheapness. I wish this to remind you to be cautious in your remarks and exhibitions so as not to publish prematurely any particulars pertaining thereto until I notify you that all patents are filed or further that you will loose not time in furnishing me with such particulars as will enable me to make the necessary applications for patents. ### This observations applies equally to all patentable modifications of the present Phonograph and its accessories. The recent publication by the Scientific American was dangerously premature as it is more than probably that copies will have reached several places before the patent were filed. ### I must remind you that the applications have to be in th languages of the respective countries and that so length a document, as the last one involving so much novelty in every way, even new words, makes necessary considerable delay in the matter of translations. For example, the German patent which you thought could be filed within 3 days of the arrival in England of the American Draft was not filed until more nearly 3 weeks rather than 3 days of that time. Again it takes nearly a month for the mails from England to the Australian colonies where in some of which at least these patents would have great value (for example the Remington type-writer agent tells me their slaes in Australia last year were 12 times greater than their sales in England. In consequence of the Scientific American referred to, in order to avoid all possibility against risk of would be infringers setting it up as publication (whether they could so succeed or not) the only remedy possible was to send the specification by telegraph which at 8/ a word for 6,000 words equallys 12,000 dollars! No discount for quantity. Please keep the subject well before you in the future. ### Rolling [unclear] Phonograms ### As reently suggested, to you the more I think of this the more convinced I am that you will seize upon the idea and work it out. ### I have a Mason & Hamvelin [?] organ self-playing by means of perforated paper on rolls about the width of ordinary 40 letter-paper & of various length. In action as the paper unrolls from the permanent cylindrical stick which keeps the paper from wrinkling, the paper simultaneously & automatically rolls round a similar stick or drum until the music is finished when by the same motive power (which in this case is the foot pedal) the paper is re-rolled upon its permanent drum or axle (which is removable of course) by merely pulling out a stop. In the Phonogaph of course this re-rolling would be accomplished by a switch. The permanent roll of Phonogramic paper would of cousre move laterally with the carriage and unroll only as it was being used, the used part simultaneously and automatically winding itself upon the prencil-like drum which would carry it to its destination. A knife could be hindged to the Phongraph in such manner as to enable the Phonogram contaiing the record to be cut off with one movement close to the end of the record so that no waste of stationery, so to speak, would result. ### In a word, I should think a combination of the principles existing in the type-writer carriage and the organ above referred to wil afford you a sufficient indication of what is in my mind to enable you to knock something practicable out of it always pre-supposing, as I confidently do, that you can make Phonogram blanks of some material or combination making the flexible sheet form possible. ### If the latter be possible it seems to me that besides such a patent, as you would be able to get for your flexible sheet Phonogram blank, we might bet a broad patent as well in the combination of it with the above. ### if you think there is any merit in the combinations idea please instruct Dwyer to immediately draft a specification to cover it & cable me the word "combination" and I will have a patent agent take it in hand here as well as to get the benefit of 2 minds on it. I am convinced that the field for the Phonograph is so almost inconceivably braod & the future of the Phonogram & the quality of the Phnograms that will be consumed so utterly incalculable that nothing short of a flat, thing pliable material to be carried upon a pencil-like drum will ever meet the necessities of the case. ### If in the suggestions I have made to the desired end you can see only "chestnuts" then all I dare to say is that I hiope they will at least so whet your appetite as that better fruits will grow out of them for our ultimate & mutual & profitable consumption. ### With kind regards & eager anticipations of the early arrival of the to be historical Phonogram No 1" Believe me yours ever, Gouraud [Marginalia: "Just say in respect to this that 3 weeks is a ridiculous time, that he better change his solicitor, we have done it in a week--That he must not bank on getting 3 weeks to perform all the operations. I do the best I can but when he receives a patent have a couple men go at it nights & put it through American style. Also tell him I will take care of the duplicating biz and believe as he does in that respect that it has a great future." "Tell him the old tin foil was of this character, that I have tried waxed cloth and paper but there are many [unclear] difficulty don't think a patent would [unclear] If the organ musica had to register as close as a phonograph there would never be any organ music by that method."]




Folder/Volume ID


Microfilm ID


Document ID



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