[D8959AAN], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, February 2nd, 1889


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[D8959AAN], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, February 2nd, 1889

Editor's Notes

"The Graphophone in England.##The curtain has fallen upon the first act in the drama "Graphophone" versus the "Phonograph." This first act began in June, and ended on the thirty first of Jan., the day before yesterday. Edmonds has done the best he could and no man could have done better, I think, but you and the Phonograph have been too many guns for him, and guns of too heavy calibre. There have been certainly more than one hundred newspaper outings concerning the phonograph, and many of them a column or more than a column long, to one notice of the Graphophone, and the Graphophone notices have rarely exceeded two or three inches. He has moved heaven and earth to sell his patent. He has had many combinations for the purchase of them, but one after another they have all fallen through. Wherever I heard that he was negotiating, and I kept a close watch upon him I took care to put a spoke in his wheel, and so demoralised everybody that he failed everywhere: many people would have gladly gone into his patents if he could have affected some arrangement with me. Of course they would. But, as I told him, any arrangement with me would make his patents worth ten times what he was asking for them. He has made the most of the fact that we have no English patent as yet, and also he has made the most of his several patents and his upwards of 100 claims, but he has everywhere been met by the question, “Why don’t you bring an action against Gouraud if he is infringing your patents and john Bull does not like buying himself into a lawsuit - - not particularly. The latest form his negotiations took were proposals to me to buy the Graphophone patents, upon the theory that they must be worth more to me than to anybody else, and that they could be bought now cheaper than they would ever be purchasable in th future. He showed me opinions of Preece and of Conrad Cooke, both of which opinions he had quoted in a prospectus he had circulated privately and which opinions were as strong as their authors were capable of making them, to the effect that he Phonograph infringes the Graphophone, and that the Graphophone patents are unassailable. Well, I thought as the last days were approaching in which I could have any negotiations with Edmonds, I would put before you the position which I did through my cable, in the code of J.S. Morgan & Company through Drexel, Morgan & Company, so that you might share with me the responsibility of the decision, a decision of so much importance, but the day before his option expired and the day after you must have received my cable Edmonds and his partner came again and tried to bluff for the last time, so that I concluded it would not do to have any negotiations with him on the basis of buying his patent after all, as it was not likely that he could carry out such a sale and I accordingly cabled you not to trouble to answer my cable of two days previous. Whether American parties have bought the patent or not remains to be seen."




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