[D8905ADV], Letter from Philip Sidney Dyer to Thomas Alva Edison, June 7th, 1889


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[D8905ADV], Letter from Philip Sidney Dyer to Thomas Alva Edison, June 7th, 1889

Editor's Notes

I enclose you sketch of the factory property, which I cabled you of yesterday, this will give you an idea of it. Built about three years ago, and as good as new almost. Cheap at 15000 francs, and not too high at 100000--If it is not used for manufacturing by the present owner, I will find out in a few days if it an be rented, and price. There are a very few factory properties for sale or rent here, as in the last few years manufacturing interests have taken a start, and every available place has been taken. ## I enclose you two sheets of memos of wages &c. The differences in [duty?] is greatly in facot or Belgium, the diff in wages is much in favor of Belgium, also but sheet no. 2 does not show it. These wage pries for Germany were given me by a large manufacturer in Hamburg. (the returns from Berlin and southern [---------?] have not yet came in) but I am told by highly posted men that the Wages for unskilled labor in Berlina are nearly 1/3 higher than Antwerp, and Hamburg is still higher than Berlin. Berlin is THE place in Germany for manf'g, particularly if skilled labor is required, but other conditions in Berlin are very disagreeable. Labor questions, trade unions, and socialism control every factory. Local taxes are much higher in Berlin than here, from what I can gather I would take Antwerp as the best place in which to start a manufacturing business, particularly a light class of work, most of which could be done by unskilled labor i.e girls, boys &c. Antwerp is a very large shipping port that employes thousands of men, and up to very lately there has been no employment for the boys & girls. A few years ago there was not a "diamond" cutting wheel here. Now there are 15000 of them working, most of which came from Holland, the same can be said of Tobacco factories. Now there are a number here, growing larger, and richer every day, wholly on account of cheap, and good labor. Most of this latter business comes here from Germany, I am told by factory men here that if they granted 1000 girls at ONE FRANC per day, they would be in their works tomorrow morning, blean, healthy, contented labor. The Mgr. of the "Duke cigarette paper" factory here complains that some other fatories are paying too high wages when they pay 1 and 1.5 frs per day, but the Duke factory girls who only get 10 centiums (10 c) per day have not yet complained. There are no troublesome police regulations, no trade unions, and socialistic soc. Don't count for much here, town taxes are ery light, finest shipping facilities in the world, best street [tracks? Brass?] made in the country, steel from England or Germany. Iron castings BEST from England, spring brass, and German silver wire BEST from America, Plenty of cavant ground here in different parts of the city for 40 c to 80 c sq. foot. Building cheap. ### I am getting an estimate now on a building two stories 15000 sq feet floor surfae, and our three stories for 50000 sq feet floor space. ## Mr. Batchelor and [Hipple?] an give you lots of information about labor in Europe, Relative to assembling the Toy Phono'g here. I think the greater advantage would be in making the entire machine on this side. Relative to the Lamp works, I do not think you could find a better or cheaper place, and lamps of 8 to 24 ought to be turned out all 15 cents each. I have kept quiet regarding this lamp factory business knowing it to be more or less uncertain, and with my present knowledge of our relations in Europe quite impossible. But if it could be, nothing would please me better, and I am sure it would be a success. Within a very few years the lamp trade of Europe will be something ENORMOUS. ## I hope to send you soon some more plans, and estimates of building with data &c. I do not understand from your [favor?] of the 17 ult. That I am to rent factory or land until I hear from you, but only to look up proces &c. [Enclosure] 1) "Germany" Duty Brass partly manf. 18 marks 100 kilos a [polishes?] 30. " " iron & steel partly manf. From 6 mks to 10 mks " a mark is about 25 c 100 kilos about 220 lbs. Belgium Brass partly manf. 12 frans 100 kilos thin lead [guire?]'' '' 12 '' '' Iron + Steel '' '' 4 '' '' a franc about 20 c [Enclosure] Germany Wages Girls per day 1 to 2 mks Boys '' '' 1. '' Men 3…. 4 Engineer 4 4.5 [Fireman?] 3 4 Coal per ton 4 marks Taxes 4% or [net gaine?] on all manufacturing concerns. Local taxes &c. such as ground nut, taxes for 'socialisms" &c. Belgium Wages Girls per day 1 to 1.8 francs Boys 1 to 1.8 young man 2 '' 3 3.5 Engineer 4.5 coal per ton 15 francs' Coal per ton 15 francs Taxes --- 4% on net gain if Cmopany formed under Belgium laws, otherwise NOTHING. Local taxes, ground rent &c, very small None of the above labor prices are for skilled labor [Name mentions: Charles Batchelor Thos Edison Philip S Dyer James Hipple Duke Cigarette Paper factory Antwerp Berlin Toy Phonograph ]






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