[D8905AAY], Letter from Cornell University, Robert Henry Thurston to Thomas Alva Edison, January 17th, 1889


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[D8905AAY], Letter from Cornell University, Robert Henry Thurston to Thomas Alva Edison, January 17th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Since you sent us that little dynamo, we have been growing here at Cornell at a tremendous rate, and the shell is getting a very tight fit for the student body.##When I came here, a little more than three years ago, we had about 50 or 60 students in this department, and about 600 or 700 in the University, all told; now we have 1200 in the University, and Sibley College enrols about five times as many as then--300 students. We have been compelled to limit our entering classes to 100, and the total to about the above figure. We are all right as to drawing rooms; but the pysical and chemical laboratories are overcrowded, and some students cannot get in at present; the workshops are filled, and the foundry and blacksmith shop particularly so.##Your little fifty-light dynamo, then ample for its purpose, is now overloaded, and we must put in another of double its size, extending the wiring correspondingly. We are in particularly close quarters for a dynamo-room. All of the larger builders, except Brush--who has not yet sent us his machine, though it is to come--have sent in sample plants, some of large some of small size, and I do not just now see what is the wise thing to do. But we must find a place for at best one more dynamo for our own shops, and I am reserving that lighting for your system. The others may be put anywehere outside; but you were the first to be generous to us, and to take a kindly interest in the work of teaching young men the profession which you and your co-laborers have created, and I feel that you should have this little field all to yourself.##Would you like to send us another and larger machine; or would you prefer that I should go to the company for it? Please tell me just what you think, on the whole, preferable; for you have been so generous already that I should not like to seem to take the attitude of asking more.##When we get another machine, it will have to do its work in the machine-shop until we can get a good electrical engineering laboratory built by some good friend; but I have no doubt that will come in time. Cornell is making friends all the time, and some one will turn up, I am sure, who will be glad to invest his fifty or hundred thousand dollars in a handsome and creditable working laboratory--something like yours, perhaps--taking his return in the satisfaction of having done a good deed and "embalming his name" in a noble building here. Our next fine building is to be the great Sage library; but a Chemical laboratory will built at the same time, and Ishall hope to see an electrial engineering laboratory promptly following.##Meantime, I shall see your work kept in sight.##Please advise me about the dynamo and if convenient, our boys would be glad to get that promised portrait at the same time. Portrait just rec'd. Yrs Truly R. H. Thurston




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