[D8959ABQ], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, May 18th, 1889


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[D8959ABQ], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, May 18th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Dear Edison:-- I confirm following cables to you##Gouraud to Edison May 13th-- When shall I receive commercial machine##Edison to Gouruad May 16th--Cant give price until three thousand made however we bill them at $45.00 to company here for first thousand, forty for next & probably thirty five next thousand subject to final settlement by books ultimate price will be lower as we have stopped making changes & are cheapening work we have up today delivered seven hundred they are working satisfactorily in the hands public send order for what you want now wheterh one a week or one hundred Edison##Gouraud to Edison May 17th 89 Must decline ordering until wee machine proposed last receiver proves unsatisfactory prefer waiting automatic to injuring otherwise splendid business##If you will read the above telegrams in the light of those immediately precedding them already confirmed together with my letter o the 4th inst in which I asked specific questions & gave you code words for replying that not only h ave my questions asked in the letter not been asnwered nor have those asked by cable either##I do not know who is to blame for this neglect which has already several times happened before to my previous inconvenience to say nothing ofh te utter waste of money expended in cables.##Surely it should be taken for grnated that I need the information at once or I would not go to the epxense of cabling for it & when I write for information & take the trouble to give you code words to save you expense in reply the least you can do is to answer my questions without compelling me to cable a repetition of them.##Then to receive no reply when I calbe a repetition of so simple a question as "When may I expect to receive a commercial machine" is discouraging indeed. I have already called your attention to these irregularities in your office & I must protest against their continuance. I am aware you have to leave these matters to some one & no doubt your able lieutenant Mr Tate has equally at times to leave his duties to others but wherever the fault lies I trust you will take such steps as to prevent in the future any occurrence of such unbusiness like & embarrasing neglect. My difficulties are quite sufficient with all the information you can give me & to which I am not only unquestionably entitled but which it is as important to you I should have as it is to myself.##I shall be glad if upon the receipt of this letter you will charge some one to answer the questions contained in the letter & cables above referred to so far as they remian unanswered at that time.##Now referring to your above cables the points they contain I understand to be as follows-- First, that you are now making a practical commercial mch., second that you are so far satsified with it that you have determined to make it without further changes-- third that ther are seven hundred in the hands of the public giving satisfaction, fourth that the price of the first thousand to the American Co. will not exceed $45.00, actual price to be determined by books after 1,000 machines are made-- second thousand forty dollars & third 1,000 probably $30.00##Fifth that you want my orders & can fill them at the rate of one or one hundred per week##Part of the above is both clear & satisfactory while other parts are neitehr clear or satisfactory##It is satisfactory that you should have made a mch. Which satisfies you sufficiently to, in your mind, justify proceeding with its manufacture upon a large scale & it is certainly to be hoped that your epxectations will be realized as to reducing estimated prices you name because if by these prices which you refer to in connection with the American Co. are to apply to me the same you will not be surprised that I am disappointed when you remember that the hightest price you ever named to me & which you alsys gave as the maximum would be $25.00 with a probability not to exceed fifteen. A somewhat startling difference.##I am assuming in these observations that your contract as to price with the North American Co. is the same as your contract with me.##Your statement that there are 700 phonographs working satisfactorily in the hands of the public is some what startling to say the least, & it is impossible to reconc9le the statement with other statements & facts before me. It is incredible that you should have made & delivered to the Amer. Co. so many as 700 phonographs of a model different from & superior to anything that you have sent me, & unless such is the case which would be an injustice to me as well as a short sighted policy in your own interest, too eggregious to be conceivable-- unless, I say such is the explanation, then it must be that these magical 700 phonographs are no better than those you have sent me, in which case it is impossible to conceive, (in the light of our experience here with the same instruments!) that you can have been truthfully informed as to their capabilities so as to justify, on your part, this statement as to the satisfaction they are giving in the hands of the public. Either therefore you are being decieved by those who so inform you & who must know better (I am now assuming the 700 mchs. Are the same as those we have & that you have not made & given out in America 700 machines superior to those sent me) or the machines you have sent us done't workin Europe as they do in America! If it were not that Hammer assured us in Paris that the new spectacle on one of his machines gave the same results as he had seen in America I should seek an explanation of the differenc ein question in the theory that we did not know how to work it to its best advantage, so I am necessarily left with the two first alternatives above suggestd, of which one is as unsatisfactory as the other.##In my letter of the 4th inst.l I expressed the opinion tha the modifications presented in the new machines seemed to leave little to be desired in many respects; that opinion was based upon very brief practical experience with a single model. I confine my observations to the last ten machines received with new spectacles. The previous machines I never regarded anything but experimental, they have taken Hamiltons entire time to keep them in order.##These new machines, five of them have been for ten days past in the hands of clers in my office, each man with his own machine, in several cases in the hands of those familiar with the old instruments & in all cases most enthusiastic & anxious to get the best results & there is but




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