[LB015163], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Compagnie Continentale Edison, January 16th, 1883


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[LB015163], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Compagnie Continentale Edison, January 16th, 1883

Editor's Notes

I have duly received your favors of 18th and 31st December on the subject of the engines at milan and also Mr Baileys cable from Berlin on the same subject. The latter & my reply thereto have been confirmed in my advices to the Societe Electrique Edison.##The engines supplied to the milan people will work successfully together. This is proved by our experience at the Central Station. We worked them there from the 4th September till the early part of December without stopping once if the coupling device (of which Mr Patin & Mr Colombo have plans) were used there would be no trouble in making the four engines work together. I should think that it would be far better for the Italian people to put up the machines & start them rather than to keep up a correspondence on the matter the waiting for the close of which cannot but result in the loss of valuable time. I cannot understand why the claim for a change of engine should be made before those now in milan have even been tried. Furthermore the Italian Company have no right whatever to protest the engines they have as I know they will do the work as is proved by our experience in New York at the Central Station and from the all night test which each machine under went before they were shipped from my works.##I am perfectly prepared to do anything which I can with justice be called up to do but I would remind you that at the time the Dynamos now in milan were shipped we could not get an Armington & Sims engine for Central Statin purposes and at that time there were not the slightest prospects of our being able to do so. What I sent was the very best engine on the market at the time. Because I happened later on to get a better engine (one more suited to our requirements, & more economical in working is no reason why I should be called upon to make the change & to bear the expense of doing so. If I were to admit [such] a claim you might call on me to take back all old machines in case I should at some future time invent a Dynamo of a far more economical & reliable character than that now used we are taking the Porter Allen engines out of our Central Station here & replacing them with Armington & Sims engines but the expense is not being born by me but by the Edison Electric Illuminating Co for whom I originally built the Dynamo machines & bought the engines.##The reason I did not pay the Porter Allen people was in consequence of some dispute between them and the Edison Electric Illuminating Co and it was thought that if I paid a further amount to the Porter Allen people it might further complicate matters I am however advised that I shall have to them.##I am prepared to do anything that can reasonably be expected of me but I most assuredly object to being compelled to pay for the substitution of an improved engine simply because I have been the means of bringing that engine to notice.##With reference to the charge made by Mr. Wallerstein for cashing the Drafts for Italian accounts your letter of 18th [ultime] is the first intimation I have received of any such charge. My Secretary saw Mr Wallerstein as to the matter and the only explanation he gave was that he made that charge under his general arrangements with you about which of course I know nothing. I therefore think you should communicate with Mr Wallerstein on the subject but if I can do anything for you in this connection I beg you to command me.##You refer to the Italian Co paying for my shipment in advance. Except in the case of the first credit I have had to wait several weeks for remittances. It is now a month since I sent forward my last bill & I cannot understand why a credit to cover it has not been opened. I think the terms of payment required by me are such as would be required by any manufacturer under like circumstances. If I had agreed to wait until the goods sent had been tested I should have required a very large capital which you are aware I have not got. Furthermore the profit on the things sent are so slight that it would have been impossible for me to get our various establishments to take the order on any other terms than payment on the shipment of the goods.##I have not seen your letter of 8th of Dec which you refer to as containing complaints as to B. lamps. Such letters should be addressed to me & then you may be sure of their receiving my personal attention. As to the complaints about A lamps I have taken measures to prevent the breakage of the Inside glass parts which I trust will prove effective. The carbon breakage in the position you mention and also near the loop. This is from electrical causes. I shall be glad to receive notification of any complaints as to apparatus at all times as it is my constant endeavour to make improvements & practical [experiments] of the working of the various parts of our System is invaluable in this connection




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