[D9238AAR], Letter from Horace Darwin to Thomas Alva Edison, October 7th, 1892


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[D9238AAR], Letter from Horace Darwin to Thomas Alva Edison, October 7th, 1892




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


Letterhead: The Orchard Huntingdon Road, Cambridge.
Oct.7. 1892.
Dear Sir,
Several resident members of this University are anxious that a permanent record of spoken language should be kept here by means of your Phonograph. It is suggested that records should be taken periodically; the value of such a history of the language would be inestimable after some centuries. A record would also be taken of the several dialects now fast dying out and the instrument might be used for other scientific purposes. It would seem specially appropriate that one of the older Universities should undertake this work, and that the University Library- one of the great Libraries of this country- should have the cylinders in its keeping.
As I hope you will consider this a worthy use for your Phonograph I venture to trouble you with one or two questions. The success of the scheme depends upon the permanency of the records; would you kindly tell me whether the substance of which the cylinders is made, will run any chance of decomposition in time, and what special precautions should be taken to keep them in perfect order; this is important, as the scheme will be criticized on this point. The cylinders I presume can only be used a limited number of times. Would you kindly let me know whether the Phonograph can now be obtained, and if so, where I should apply for information.
I shall be most grateful to you for any suggestions you can make which will ensure the success of the scheme and especially any information about the cylinders showing that they will be chemically unaffected by time.
Yours very faithfully,
Signed: Darwin, Horace
T.A. Edison Esq., Orange, N.J. U.S.A The records when soldered upon a tin case will keep forever. I advise that you wait a little while as I shall soon have a phonograph that will be far beyond all others now out. They will I hope be proven able in England next summer
E Nov.3, 1892.
Horace Darwin, Esq.,
The Orchard, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge England.
Dear Sir:-
Your esteemed communication of 7th ultimo, in regard to the phonograph, was duly received by Mr. Edison, who directs me to say in reply that phonographic records, if soldered up in a tin case, will keep forever. Mr. Edison is now at work upon a phonograph, which when completed, will be greatly superior to the machines now on the market, and he suggests that the inauguration of the scheme mentioned in your letter be deferred until the introduction of this perfected instrument, which he hopes will be procurable in England next summer. The phonograph in Europe is controlled by the Edison United Phonograph Co., Northumberland Avenue, London, S.W.
Yours very truly,
Private Secretary.
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