[D8964ACD], Letter from James F Kelly to Samuel Insull, Edison Machine Works, July 11th, 1889


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[D8964ACD], Letter from James F Kelly to Samuel Insull, Edison Machine Works, July 11th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[Letterhead of Edison Machine Works, Wire Insulating Dept. Seven-page typed analysis of doll market] "At your request I have tried to acquaint myself with the toy trade, with especial reference to the 'doll department.' My very limited knowledge of the business must be my excuse if I have failed to cover all the pointes you desired information upon. ## The very large jobbers place their import orders in the early part of the year--some as early as January and February, and others in March and April. If they find the prospects for a large business good, so that they are in danger of running out of stock, they place further orders along in July or August. ## Only the very largest jobbers import, the smaller fry contenting themselves with buying from the stock of the big jobbers chiefly in New York and Baltimore. These smaller jobbers buy in August or Septmeber, and their purchases drag along even into October and November. In point of fact, the big as well as the little jobbers buy all the year through, though the two great seaons are the early part of the year (February or March) and druing the latter half of the year (August or September). ## If, however, a novelty is introduced, the jobbers will buy the moment it is ready for sale, irrespective of whether it is a proper or improper season. The Phonograph doll, for instance, would be gobbled up immediately if it were ready to be put on the market. [Continues in this vein, mentioning F. A. O. Schwarz as prominent dealer.] ## It is essential that the doll be of such material and general construction as to make it a good receptacle fo rthe Phonograph parts, and at the smae time it will be well not to have it depart much from the now accepted or prevailing styles. ## Leaving aside the very cheap dollas as being useless for phonograph purposes, I find that the most popular dolls are those with bisc heads and kid bodies, or bisc head and patent-jointed bodies. Only the latter is of use for our purpose as the kid body has to be stuffed, and it would be impossible to attach moving parts. ## Dark-haired dolls are unpopular. In general four-fifths of the dolls made have brown or decidetly blonde hair and the remaining fifth have black hair. "Human eyes' shouldbe used in preference to the cheap glass eye... ## [continues with analysis of doll features.] ## By the way, there is one point about which I could get very little information, and that is the probable demand for such a novelty as the Phonograph doll. The remakrs of one buyer will serve for all: 'If,' said the buyer for Stirn & Lyon, 'you can put a novelty of this kind on the market for aboug $3 you will sell an enormous number, while if you expect to get $5, you will sell but comparatively few.'" [provides names and locations of prominent jobbers & retailers]




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