[D8949ACO], Letter from John Birkinbine to Thomas Alva Edison, November 26th, 1889


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[D8949ACO], Letter from John Birkinbine to Thomas Alva Edison, November 26th, 1889

Editor's Notes

I have your inquiry concerning the mines of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co, in Butnam County, N.Y. and in reply would say that immediately after our visit there, I called on Mr. O'Brian, and discussed the matter fully with him. He stated that the Company were much more anxious to sell than to lease. After going over the matter thoroughly with him I found that I knew a great deal more about the property than the present officers of the Company, and before fixing a price on the property he asked for time to look up the matter, get the maps and other data which the Company have. This I considered would be a good plan, for it would give you more reliable information than we could secure in any other way. I only this A.M. received an answer from the Company which is as follows. The Philadelphia & Reading Coal & iron Co, will give us the priviledge of examining all maps, reports, etc. and place all the information it has in our hands. After going over these the Company will consider any proposition either to lease or rent the property, but have no price fixed either for lease or rental. Mr. O'Brian also says he will be glad to go to Orange to meet you, or join us in a visit to the property. I would have reported to you in full last week, but I received a telegram from your Laboratory, asking where I could be communicated with and have been in daily anticipation of hearing from you, or I would otherwise have been over to see you. I have pushed the matter as fast as was practicable without showing any undue anxiety, which would cause the officers of the P& R C & I Co to imagine that you were in need of the property. The plan which I would suggest is as follows but before acting upon it I desire to know if it meets your approval. 1st. I am to obtain from the P & R C & I Co, all maps, reports analyses, and other information concerning the property, which they have. 2nd. I am to go over these papers thoroughly, so as to be able to report to you their contents, and prepare an abstract giving the extent of the property, development of the ore upon it, with copies of analyses, etc. 3rd. I will then come to orange at such time as you wish bringing the abstract and the original papers for consultation with you, when we can formulate some sort of a proposition for either the purchase, or lease, or both of the property. A proposition such, that it will be practically your ultimatum, based upon the most compete data obtainable. 4th. If you should consider another visit advisable I can arrange to have Mr. O'Brian accompany you, and probably also Mr. Luther, under whose direction much of the exploitation of the mine was carried forward. As Mr. O'Brian reported that Mr. McLeod was not prepared to fix a valuation on the property or to name a price at which it could be leased, I did not think it wise in view of the fact that he had collected the maps and reports together to give any intimation as to what you would probably do. I doubt if any body just now is looking at the property besides yourself, and I thought it was best, under the circumstances to take advantage of the additional information which is now obtainable. Please advise me if I shall carry out the programme as above outlined and also let me know if you propose making the trip to Maryland shortly. If you are through with the papers concerning the Minnesota property, will you please return them to me, so that I can send them back to the proper party.




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