[D8938AAT], Letter from William Dennis Marks to Thomas Alva Edison, June 17th, 1889


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[D8938AAT], Letter from William Dennis Marks to Thomas Alva Edison, June 17th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[TAE marg: "My Dear Marks, I don't see anything wrong in vails report, except that I believe him mistaken in every point except perhaps one or two minor details" It has occurred to me that the ungraciouss attitude and plain-spoken frankness forced upon me by persistent advocation of Mr. Vail for an appointment in this Department may have impressed you as well as others with the feeling that I am actuated by personal motives.####It is important, if I have given rise to such an impression that you should know some of the reasons which have dictated my attitude in this matter.####I therefore enclose for your consideration Mr. vail's report upon the Philadelphia station, and also my reply to it. Do not deem this reply as of much value in comparison with an inspection of the station today in operation.####I would not trouble you with these documents, did I not wish to show you by them how little real engineering knowledge, how much insincerity, and the total lack of care as to statements made, are exhibited in this document.####had I not fortunately been for many years a resident of Philadelphia, and in possession of the confidence of the gentlemen interested, an infinite amount of mischieft and injury aggregating far more than $ 100,000 would have resulted to the Philadelphia Company, from such a wholesale denunciation and misrepresentation.####Mr. Insull's repeated insistence in this matter, that he has acted as your agent and spokesman makes me regard this as a grave affair.####May I ask, in justice to me, to refer to the following gentlemen:####Col. C.H. Banes, 20-21 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Past President, Franklin Institute, Chairman Committee on Exhibitions, President Market street National Bank;####Wm. O. Tatham, No. 1420 Walnut Street, Past President of Franklin Institute;####Sam'l B. Huey, Drexel Building, Philadelphia, Director in Edison Company;####Amos R. Little, Aldine Hotel, Philadelphia, Director in Edison Company, Director Penna. R.R. Co.####All of these gentlemen are of the highest commercial and social standing in the City of Philadelphia. They have known me in business and profession for many years, and have been very close to me. Some of them are capable of forming a just estimate of my engineering knowledge, and all of them know the results of my work in Philadelphia. Anything they are willing to say should carry very great weight.####It would seem as if the great intrinsic physical merit of your invention of the Incandesent Light is the cause of its surivival of the mismangagement, untruthfulness, toadyism, chicanery, and actual theft which has followed it on all sides.####I would say that it is my earnest desire to make the name of the Edison General Electric Company a synonym for all that is throrough and honest in engineering and business management.####To do this I must insist upon unswerving integrity and justice, and thorough engineering knowledge on the part of all my subordinates.####This is my reason for desiring not to employ Mr. Vail, and feeling that I had better submit to greater labor at the ou-set of my work than risk being misled in matters requiring judgment, or misinformed in matters requiring just and prompt action.####I feel that I owe you an apology for asking you to read the enclosed documents, and also for asking you to read this letter, but, it is my desire to establish a clear and cordial understanding between us, and I hope that before many months have passed you will feel, without the need of explanation on my part, that every act is dictated solely by the desire to further the interests of this Company, in which you are so largely interested




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