[D8937AAV], Letter from William Dennis Marks to Thomas Alva Edison, October 29th, 1889

Item

Abstract

Edison Electric Light Co.####Philadelphia, Oct 29 1889####Mr Thos A. Edison, Orange New Jersey, Dear Sir####I enclose editorial of lines of today as also recent pamphlet concerning danger of electric lights & the harmlessness of the Edison current.We have ordered now 27100 lights of which 17100 arc connected up.####We expect to get 3000 more in the next week. Making over 30000 ordered Over 200 H.P. of motors are now connected & continual additional--Station will earn $6000 more than expenses this month.####I will send you copy of report of Phila College of Physicians & Surgeons all the poisonous properties of gas within the next week.####Yours truly####Wm D Marks, Supt Engr.####[Enclosure: One letter and a newspaper clipping]:####Oct 16th 1889####Dear Sir,####Owing to the recent discussions in the newspapers of Electrical execution and of the fatal accidents resulting from aerial wires charged with high pressure currents, much apprehension has arisen in the minds of those using any form of electric light.####It is therefore proper to assure you that there is no possible risk to life from the low pressure current used by the Edison Electric Light Company of Philadelphia.####The Edison system of electrical conductors is placed underground, and the current used is so mild as not to be able to give even an annoying shock to persons touching the wires--####Respectfully,####Wm D Marks, Supervising Enr. Gen'l Mang####The Times, Philadelphia, October 29, 1889####The Huge Gas Swindle.####The present supply of gas to the people of Philadelphia is simply a deliberate and colossal swindle upon every consumer. This is a grave charge to make against the Department of Public Works, but the facts, as known to all who use our gas, conclusivevly sustain the accusation.####The gas now supplied to consumers in Philadelphia is the worst ever furnished and no number of gas lights will make a room well lighted.Reading by gas light in this city is seldom attempted now, unless by those whose eyes can stand the severest strain; and to give even ordinary light in any room, three or four times the usual nubmer of burners must be lighted.####This is simply a huge swindle upon the consumers of gas in Philadelphia, and it is a deliberate swindle conceived and executed to compel the people to pay double or treble price for the amount of actual illuminating gas they receive. The gas is starved in its manufacture until its candle or illuminating power is so greatly impaired that consumers must burn twice or thrice the amount that they would consume of good gas, and then have dull and sight-destroying light.####In other words, by cheapening the quality of gas in its manufacture and impairing its illuminating qualities, the people of Philadelphia are now practiaclly compelled to pay $3 or more per thousand for the candle power that is promised and should be furnished in one thousand feet of gas; and this swindle is rapidly compelling gas consumers to abnadon its use as far as possible. It is, in fact, a swindle upon consumers, and also a swindle upon the city, as it is rapidly forcing the introduction of electric and lamp lights in the homes of Philadelphia.####This intolerable swindle is not perpetrated by the Department of Public Works for any corrupt personal profit, but it is done under the delusion that by making much more gas out of a ton of coal than is in it, and thus forcing consumers to use double or treble quantities to obtain ordinary lights, the balance sheet of the gas Works may be made to show a large profit; but it is none the less a studied swindle; a direct and most extortionate swindle of consumers, and it must result in the very general abandonment of gas for lighting homes and thus rob the city of large patronage and profits in furnishing gas.####There is not a gas consumer in the city of Philadelphia who does not know that, bad as has been the city gas in the past, it has been worse under the management of the Department of Public Works than eever before in our history; and every man, woman or child who lights a gas-burner knows that they are swindled, and largely swindled, when they do so. They have complained only to receive offensive answers, as a rule, if they received any, and the only remedy they have is to turn to the electric lights or the oil lamps which are now used in nearly or quite every home in the city. The people are so deeply incensed at the attempt to force half-illuminating gas upon them to compel the use of double quantity or more, that gas lights for the ordinary home uses in which they have been generally employed are never seen now except when it is unavoidable. One year more of this swindle upon gas consumers, and the city will be swindled not only out of all possible profits from gas, but it will be swindled entirely out of a majority of consumers as patrons of city gas.####It is simply a huge swindle; a cheat by artifice or false pretence, and it is not the less a swindle because the money fraudulently extorted is not corruptly stolen. It is the logical result of either incompetent or unscrupulous effort to manufacture and sell half-price gas at double cost or more to consumers, and it is certain to rob the city of legitimate profits in the near future, just as it is now robbing consumers who are compelled to use it. It is a swindle; neither more nor less, and it is a double swindle, as it is certain to swindle both city and consumers.####W.D.M####[Next page: enclosure]: [Photocopy. Original is in Primary Collection]####Edison. Safety, Health, Convenience]####[name mentions: Thos Edison, William D. Marks, Department of Public Works, Edison Electric Light Co, Philadelphia College of Physicians and Surgeons]

Date

1889-10-29

Decade

1880-1889

Type

Identifier

D8937AAV

Folder Set

D8937

Title

[D8937AAV], Letter from William Dennis Marks to Thomas Alva Edison, October 29th, 1889

Microfilm ID

126:387

Publisher

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