[D8959ACS], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Samuel Insull, July 23rd, 1889


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[D8959ACS], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Samuel Insull, July 23rd, 1889

Editor's Notes

[11 handwritten pages from London] I was quite right, in writing yesterday, when I called Gouraud's order for a thousand phonographs a blind. He might just as well have made the order 10,000 or 50. It would amount to exactly the same thing. ## I have seen him this morning and he is having made a list of what he requires now which will probably be 50 phonographs and supplies--and y ou can rest assured that he will not ask for a further shipment for several months, if he ever does. He tells me that he is going to set up a lot of instruments in his offices here and commence the education of experts for the various countries under h is control; that he is writing each of the men who have applied from these countries for agencies to send over a man to be instructed, saying that in this way he will secure a man naturally adapted to the country in which he is to work; that through these agencies he will leases machines and that his contract with htese agents will provide for the relinquishment of their agencies upon the payment to them of some definite consideration yet to be determined should a company subsequently be formed in their territory. You can size up this arrangement for what it is worth. To my mind it amounts to nothing and means delay pure and simple. ## In writing you on these matters I am very anxious that Mr Edison should not form the idea that I have lost sight of his wishes. I know that what he desires is the commercial success of the phonograph that he desires to see a legimate business established with as little delay as possible, and when I caomment on Gouraud's proposition I do not wish to be understood as opposing this idea. If Gouraud were sincere it would be a different matter, but he makes these propositions simply to mislead and deceive me in the belief that I will mislead Mr. Edison as to his real intentions. His agency scheme, like his order for a thousand phonographs, is a blind. ## The phonograph can only attain commercial success by reaching the public through the medium of an efficient organization. It cannot be sent out haphazard to be misunderstood and eventually thrown aside, but must be properly and efficiently introduced and maintained. We are in a position to insist upon such an organization being perfected by Gouraud- He knows it and is afraid of it- but I look upon this power simply as a means to a different end-as a whip with which to beat him into line when it becomes necessary to use it, and in the interest of Mr Edison and the phonograph itself, it would be folly and worse [that?] to take any other view of the present situation. ## The commercial success of the phonograph will never be seriously consideed and worked out energetically until it leaves Gouraud's hands, and if we used the power which we hold over him excepting as I have said as a means to a different ending, we would defeat the primary objects which we seek to attain--there would be no money in it for Mr. Edison and the business would be destroyed. With the information I have given you, and your knowledge of Gouraud you are as capable of interpreting this situation as I am and it would gratify me to know if your conclusions differ from mine. I learn this morning that Gouraud is considering bringing out a French company, or forming a syndicate there after Mr Edison's visit to Paris considering that that time would be propitious. He said that he had had some correspondence on the subject which may or may not be so. I cannot find that he has opened negotiations with any one as to formation of companies-- I mean serious negotiations. He may have sounded different people in an indirect way but I cannot discover anything of a definite nature. He could not in any event go very far in a matter of this kind without our knowing of it.





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