[D8933AAN1], Letter from Edison Electric Light Co, Frank Seymour Hastings to Harold P Brown, February 19th, 1889


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[D8933AAN1], Letter from Edison Electric Light Co, Frank Seymour Hastings to Harold P Brown, February 19th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[Copies of Harold P. Brown correspondence, transcriptions follow for D8933AAN1 to D8933AAN8] Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia####V. #### Edison Electric Co.---My dear Mr. Brown: Here is a list of the ------- and officers of the State of Missouri. I think it is of sufficient importance to have a pamphlet sent to each name on the list. Yours very truly####P.S Hastings, Secretary and Treasurer####VIII####March 17 1889 my Dear Mr. Edison: Early last month I visited Scranton as an expert for the city, to determine whether the arc lights were up to contract requirements, and to formulate means of making their many overhead wires safe. I enclose a copy of my report, and have marked my recommendations. I found that the Brush local company were preparing to put in an alternating current system, and, therefore, have laid great stress upon the necessity of adopting an ordinance prohibiting this current at a higher pressure than 300 volts. Of course they have raised a great outcry, and are attacking me, endeavoring to discccredit my ability. If you can conscientiously send me a line or two which I can show to Mayor Ripple. I shall be able to add Scranton to the list of cities which have shut out the high-tension alternating current, which is unsuited for commercial lighting. The local Edison manager, the telephone and telegraph superintendents, and the Sprague railroad people have approved my recommentation, bu the Brush people have set their hearts upon getting in the executtioner's urrent. Sincerely yours,####Harold P. Brown.####IX####Cable Address, "Edison New York"----My Dear sir: I have your letter of 17th inst., and take much pleasure in enclosing herewith a testimonial signed by myself, which I hope will answer your purpose. Yours very truly,####Thos. A. Edison####XI.####March 27 1889 My Dear Mr. Edison: The New York State authorities have authorized me to purchase for them alternating current dynamos made for electric lighting on the "converter" system for the electrical execution plants. To get these it will be necessary to purchase at least one full complement of converters and lamps, the other dynamos to be extras. This will require an investment of $7,000 to $8,000, UNTIL THE FIRST EXECUTIONPROVES THAT THE PLANT IS SUITABLE FOR THE PURPOSE. I will then have to take my chances of selling the converters and lamps, as, of course, the State will pay for dynamos only. THE THOMSON-HOUSTON COMPANY HAS AUTHORIZED ME TO TAKE UP WESTINGHOUSE'S ADERTISED CLAIM THAT FIFTY PER CENT more light for a given expenditure of power (fuel) can be obtained from W. alternating current apparatus and lamps than from any direct current system. I am to challenge him to send a 650-light plant to the electrical testing bureau at Johns Hopkins University, to be matched against the T.H direct-current plant for a three months' test, the reports to be published and the loser to buy the other's apparatus at list to present to the university. Of course, Westinghouse will not dare accept, so I wish to have one of the plants bought for the State used for the purpose of a public efficiency test. I AM WILLING TO UNDERTAKE THAT BOTH OF THESE PROJECTS SHALL BE CARRIED THROUGH IF $5,000 IS MADE AVAILABLE FOR ME TO USE, AND IT WILL BE DONE APPARENTLY BY THE T.-H COMPANY. IN VIEW OF THE APPROACHING CONSOLIDATION, THE PEOPLE AT 16 BROAD STREET DO NOT FEEL LIKE UNDERTAKING THE MATTER UNLESS YOU APPROE OF IT. DO YOU NOT THINK THAT IT IS WORTH DOING, as it will enable me through the Board of Health to shut off the overhead alternating current circuits in the State, and will, by showing the lack of efficincy of the Westinghouse apparatus, HEAD OFF INVESTORS, AND PRICK THE BUBBLE, thus heling all legitimate electrical enterprises? A word from you will carry it through, and without it the chance will be lost. Is it not worth while to say the word? Sincerely yours####Harold Brown Edison Electric Light Co.####Executive Officers, New York, May 15 '89, My Dear Mr. Edison Bombel left the cash yesterday. I send you a check. Please send him receipted.####Yours truly, W.J Jensen####(Note.--Load [---- ----- -- ]Brown's writing. [---- ok. ----]####XXXVI####Edison Electric Light Co, New York, june 26, 1889, H.P.H Esq., Shattuck Form, Jeffrey####My Dear Mr. Brown: Yours of 19th was received to-day. I enclose herewith a copy of the brief as requested. I was much interested in your account of the trial, and also in other matters contained in your letter. Shall hope to see you next weel. Yours in a hurry####F.S. Hastings, Sec. and Treas, S.####XI., Cable Address "Edison, New York" From the Laboratory of Thomas A. Edison, Orange, N.J June 29, 1889, My Dear Mr. Brown: In view of the present condition of affairs in the matter of electrocide, the forthcoming judicial examination and at Mr. Edison's instance. I beg to bring the following consideration before yoru notice. The only argument of any weight which can be urged against electrocide, on the score of a cruel punishment, is that its application may burn the flesh of the criminal at the points of contact, and that the amount of current which can be given without such mutilation is not yet known. Other arguments, such as the unknown quantity of current necessary, really merge into the proceeding, becaise it is only a question of giving such a large margin of current strength as shall inevitably be fatal. If, then, by definite experiment before competent witness a strong current could be sent through a man's body under parallel conditions without producing any external injury, the internal lesions, if not too violent, would not call for any comment. This experiment, if successfully carried out, would effectually silence the mutilation argument. It is readily capable of being carried out on a dead body say in a hospital. Any reasonable strength of current, whether continuous or alternating could be safely rent through the skin, prvided the latter were immersed in salt water and thus provided with a liquid electrode, because it is a matter of physical ertainty that the temperature at the skin's surface could not exceed the boiling point of water, so long as the liquid envelope remained intact, and the heat supply in the flesh was not excessive. I imagine that perhaps ten amperes could in this way be sent through the skin of a human arm for thirty seconds without mutilating it externally. I remain yours truly####A.F Kennelly, Electrician, Edison Co.####XLV, July 9, 1889, Mr. A.F Kennelly, Orange, N.J####My Dear Mr. Kennelly: Your kind letter of the 29th was forwarded to me while out of town and missed me on account of my returning earlier than anticipated. It reached me last night and I have acted upon your suggestion in my testimony this A.M As the case progresses I will hold myself in readiness to make the test suggested, or to offer to do so before the referee, if it seems necessary. From the line of the questions thus far propounded by Mr. Cockran. I judge that he inted to try to show that a galvanometer measurement of a living animal is unreliable, and that the alternating urrent is not amenable to Ohm's law: also to present persons to allege that they have received the full force of the alternating current or the lighning without being killed. If the acccuracy of galvanometer tests is attacked, could you not give in popular form a description of the use of instruments in finding and locating broken ocean cables? &c.Cockran is apparently not satisfied with any evidence unless the witness has actually done the act testified to. Sincerely yours,####Harold P. Brown.####[name mentions: Edison Electric Light Co, Frank Seymour Hastings, Mr. Kennelly, Harold P. Brown, Sprague railroad, Mayor Ripple, Brush, Westinghouse, Thomson-Houston Co]





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