[D8923AAE], Letter from David Hamlin Burrell to Thomas Alva Edison, February 5th, 1889


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[D8923AAE], Letter from David Hamlin Burrell to Thomas Alva Edison, February 5th, 1889

Editor's Notes

A few years ago I had two or more very interesting interviews with you with re to the Separation of butter from milk. I explained to you at that time the Centrifugal machines which were being used for that purpose, and dared to hope as the result of my interviews with you that you would be able to give the matter some attention. I apologize to you for again calling this matter to your attention, but let me say that when we consider that the total amount of butter made annually in this country amounts now to nearly two billions of pounds, and that the total make in all countries amounts to at least ten or twelve times as much, you will see how vastly important this matter is. # Let me quote from a letter which has just been submited to us. "The Cream Separators have hardly had time to obtain a foothold all over the world when a new dairy machine threatens with a new revolution to do away with the Separators in the art of butter making. Butter is now produced direct from the milk, instead of first being obliged to skim the milk, and then afterwards to churn the cream. The apparatus is called the Extractor. This has been tested, and it removes the fat direct from the milk, leaving the latter perfectly blue. Instead of leaving Butter-milk it leaves only sweet skim-milk." # "If the Extractor proves to be all that is claimed, then the milk may not be subject to so many manipulations, changes of temperature, etc etc. The treatment will be limited to one single process and that under simple circumstances." # All the foregoing relates to the machine, which as near as we can judge employs the Centrifugal force in some new and novel way. # The machine is the invention of a Swede. # We have cabled to two different firms, our representatives in Europe, asking them to find out definitely as to the value of this machine and to advise us. But as the subect has been brought to us in this forcible way, it calls to our mind our pleasant interview, and on the spur of the moment I venture to address you this letter and to inquire if you have ever given the matter attention. # I should dislike exceedingly to have any foreign inventor secure the credit of separating butter directly from the milk in the most practical and in the best possible manner. As explained to you I have felt sure that sooner or later it would be accomplished, and I did want the credit to attach to one of our own countrymen, and there is no one to whom I should have been so happy to have had the honor apply as to yourself. # If not inconsistent with your other duties, we should be glad to have a letter from you.






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