[LB015274], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Joshua Franklin Bailey, February 8th, 1883


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[LB015274], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Joshua Franklin Bailey, February 8th, 1883

Editor's Notes

Your letter of 20th January came to hand yesterday.##With reference to the milan Engines I presume you will have seen my letters to the Company on the question of Porter & Armington engines.##You all seem to have lost sight of the fact that at the time the "C" Dynamos were sent to milan we had no other Engine except the Porter. Again and again we tried to get other engines and could not. It was not till December that we succeeded in getting any Armington Engines for our Central Station & from the time we started our Station 14th Sept up till December we used Porter Engines which ran together all right.##The Illuminating Co did not take the Porter Engines out of the Central Station because they would not work but because I told them I had at last got a better Engine and they therefore made the change not at my expense however but at their own recognizing that it would be a great injustice to expect me to pay for the engines simply because I recommended their use. If the Italian people had an engine which it was quite impossible to work they would have reason to complain but such is not the case. They have engines which we have been using here for months & which they refuse to put in operation simply asserting that (which is entirely the opposite to our experience) they will not work, without even going through the form of trying them.##You say that it will cost all of us very dear if I do not do just what the Italians want. If such is the case why do not the Compagnie Continentale Edison bear the loss. If they think it of such great importance to give in to the unjust demands of the Italian Coy why do not they bear the expense instead of asking me to. I am but a simple Stockholder in the European Coy & were I to give in to such a request as you make I would eventually be a Bankrupt manufacturer.##I have given instructions to have two Armington Engines sent to milan but I wish it clearly understood that I have done this not because the Porter Engine will not work but simply because the Armington Engines will work better. This act must not be taken as any admission on my part that the claim of the Italian Company is just but simply as an [comment] of my desire to see the Italian Station a success in every way. I shall look at Compagnie Continentale Edison for reimbursement##The Italian Company have no right morally or legally to call upon me to make the change & if it were not for the fact that I have succeeded in getting the Armington engine we should never had heard of this controversy They would have gone ahead and used the Porter engine & they would have been quite satisfied with them.##I have just turned the K (200) machine into a 325 Light machine. Dont you think the Italian Company have a perfect right to demand that I should take back all the old K machines & give those in their place that will carry 75 more lights. I think that if they have a right to demand Armington engines they have a right to demand new K machines. But simply because they make a demand & threaten that if we do not give in it will cost us very dear is no reason why we should give way There ought any way to be a semblance of justice in their demand. If there was I should be only too happy to meet them and I think you will bear me out in the assertion that as a rule I get the reputation of being just in my business dealings.##As to the question of my [---] having paid Porter the reason I have not done so is that we have claims against them so [have] the Light Co in other matters and consequently under advice I withheld part of the payment for some engines of which the milan engines are part. I am responsible to the Porter Coy & will have to pay them as soon as other matters have been settled & I most indignantly repeat the assertion that I have charged the Italian Coy with engines that I have rejected myself. Such a remark comes with bad grace considering that the bargain made at the time the goods were ordered has not been adhered to by the Italian Co as at no time since I commenced shipping have their bills been sent promptly on presentation of invoice & B/L as agreed. They have owed me for two months upwards of $6700 & I have cabled to the Compagnie Continentale again and again for the money without even getting a reply.##The Italian Company must not expect to get everything to run perfectly in a new business without any charges or extra expense. I am spending money right along & your companies get the benefit of this expenditure of money & also of my time & I get no compensation for it & I think the least they can do is to bear the expense of taking advantage of such improvements as I may make. It surprises me somewhat that you should take the same view of this matter as the Italian Coy & I cannot but think that immediately you look carefully into the question you will alter your mind.##I should like Mr Batchelor to see this letter & also the correspondence between myself and the Paris Company on the subject.##Major Eaton sent me a cable from you the other day as to these Armington engines in which you asked for a reply. I do not know what to say as I had answered all cables sent me from Paris on the subject. I would suggest that all cables as to supplies be sent to me as it is very confusing to have two people cabling on the same subject. You may rely on everything being answered just as quickly as we can get the data on which to reply, & you should not get impatient and telegraph to someone else to find out why I do not reply to you the very moment your first cable arrives.




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