[D8964ABF], Letter from Albert Blake Dick to Thomas Alva Edison, June 8th, 1889

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Abstract

[11 handwritten pages] "I have just arrived from Sonmberg, the place I mentioned in my letter from Nurnberg, and have to report that the doll manufacturing industry there is very large in its proportions, there being over twenty manufacturers besides nearly a dozen commission h andlers. ## None of the factories are as large nor do they seem to be as well conducted as [Jurneau's?] of Paris, but employ as many as 150 to 200 hands, and even that number, I find, can grind out a very large number of dolls daily. ## The quality or grad of dolls made there, are what m ight be called 'medium' and lower grade goods, altho' a few of the factoies make a specialty of better class goods, some almost equalling the work of Jurneau whom they all imiate as to style etc. ### Dolls to the amount of over 6,000,000 marks were exported to the U.S. during 1888 and nearly 7,000,000 more to Great Britain and Spain from Sonnberg aone, and the average prices did not [illege] 18 marks per dozen for [illeg] dolls. ### [continues in this vein for another page or two.] ## Alto' every doll maker was highly pleased with the general idea of a speaking doll, a good many criticism were offered on the present construction of the Phono. And its liability to get out of order etc. An almost universal objection was made to the weight and dimensions. ### They all seem to want a Phono to fit a fdull fully a third smaller than the dolls I am exhibiting to meet the requirements of the trade. Is it not possible to reduce the size to confrom to their ideas? ### Objections were also made to your esimtate of the cost of the movement in quantities, but they were easily overcome, for I convinced them that a new trade entirely would bestarted with the Phono. Doll and that its price should not be compared to any other style; still I feel confident that the trade will be greatly enlarged if you succeed in manufacturing them so that they can be sold for say 3.5 to 4 marks each. ### None of the Sonneberg manufacturers exhibited any desire to enter largely into the business and probably will not until after giving the Phono a [illeg], altho' ALL wanted to buy a few to make up into different style dolls and send out to their trade as samples. The Germans are more conservative than I found the Frenchmen to be, but I am well pleased with my visit to Sonneberg nevertheless, and am sure a good business can be done there. The trade is BOUND to come to you after the first introduction and it will not be less than 250,000 to 300,000 movements annually to Sonneberg alone, altho' I doubt if I could get positive orders for over 10,000 on my first visit on account of this extremem [illeg]. ### While in Sonneberg I met Mr Eischer who contracted wth Mr. Hunt of the Boston Doll Phono. Co., and a more disgusted m an I never met. ## It seems that Mr Hunt brought over one of their movements and had moulds made to form bodies to fit it, all at the expense of Mr. Eischer, and holding out to him the idea that as soon as they were satisified with the body, they would place an order with him for 20,000 dozen at 20 markes per donzen. (This price includes a cojplete doll with Bisque head and jointed arms, lets egc.) It has been several months since the bodies were finished and sent to Boston but Mr. Hunt fails to respond in any way to repeated requests of Mr. Eischer as to an opinion of the suitability of his body etc. I do not know what connection this Mr. Hunt has with the Boston Company but presume that you do. ### Before I left home you requested me to send your samples of different sized dolls with prices in quantities for the N.A. trade. ### I find the line of dolls so extensive and prices so varying that I do not know what to send you. I can get dolls large enough for your Phono, with kid or paper mache bodies all finished in the best styles (undressed) at from 18 to 22 marks per dozen, and the better grades run up to 30 to 40 marks per dozen. ### Would it not be the best then for you to select such sizes and grades as ou may determine upon, at Macy's or Schwartz in New York, and when you are ready to buy, send them over to me and let me get special quotations. ### So far, I have not been able to find anything in the way of large mechanical figures for y ou, altho' I found a figure make at Sonneborg I could not find anything in his stock of samples which would please you. I may succeed better here in Vienna. ## Awaiting your favors… ## PS I omited to state in the body of the letter that there is a very large doll m anufacotry at [Walterhausen?], it being the largest single factory in Germany, but as it was about six hours ride from Sonneborg and entirely out of my proposed line of travel I did not go over to investigate. I [illeg] that a very large proportion of the dollsmade there are sold in Berlin, so I may find out all about the business when in the last mentioned place."

Date

1889-06-08

Decade

1880-1889

Type

Identifier

D8964ABF

Folder Set

D8964

Title

[D8964ABF], Letter from Albert Blake Dick to Thomas Alva Edison, June 8th, 1889

Microfilm ID

128:139

Publisher

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