[D8933AAN4], Letter from Harold P Brown to Thomas Alva Edison, March 27th, 1889


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[D8933AAN4], Letter from Harold P Brown to Thomas Alva Edison, March 27th, 1889

Editor's Notes

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 execution proves 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 advertised 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 approve 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 efficiency 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




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