[LB021464], Letter from Samuel Insull to Thomas Alva Edison, March 29th, 1886



My absence in the west on Machine Works business has prevented my writing you much, although the telegrams I have had sent {to} you kept you well-posted, I think. ##With relation to the Electric Railway, I wired you yesterday of the success with Sprague's motor. Batchelor informs me today that he has written you fully on this subject and as he is better posted than I am, I will not try to supplement his letter. ##Tate is now writing you as to {the} phonoplex. I went with him this morning to see Wiman. I am sure from Wiman's manner that he was much pleased with what he saw of the phonoplex in Canada. I also gathered that Dwight was much pleased, as while we were with Wiman, he dictated a letter to Dwight giving details of prices, etc. As to Royalty, Tate and myself talked $50 a circuit and said nothing about $6 per station. ##Railway Telegraph at this moment is somewhat stagnant. Rudd {---------} and Mr. Sayor{?} are at Wadsworth on the Chicago Mil. & St. Paul. They are experimenting with a car in the Yard. Rudd is troubled a great deal by induction which he says is much worse than at Staten Island. He says "the margins must be raised." I presume he means that the Receiver must give the sound out louder{?} before the system can be placed safely in the hands of the Ordinary Operator. He predicts, however, entire success and says it is only a matter of a little experimenting. Have you any suggestions? Stock is dull. I was obliged to you for your permission to sell 200 shares at 35 and also disappointed at it. I{underlined in original} thought I had done wonderfully well when I sold 140 shares at 25. I then wired you that I hoped to sell more between 30 and 35. The latter figure was my most sanguine idea, but you seem to consider, from your telegram, that 35 would be low. Anyway, the market is off. I failed to sell the 200 shares I had hoped to and today I do not think I could sell at above 20 or possibly 25. I am on the lookout, however, nobody is offering any stock and the first purchaser who comes along I shall try to catch for you. My strong belief is that Railway Telegraph will not amount to a great deal in a long time. I do not think Railway Co.'s will adopt it with much of a "wish." If your belief is the same, you should let me sell some of your stock even if I cannot get over 20. Don't think that because I write this that I am not talking the thing up. I simply give you my opinion and something tells me that your opinion is something akin to mine. The Doctor is still painting glowing pictures of the business. He may be right, but still I cannot bring myself to think so. ##Isolated business has improved a little the last week. Since I wrote you last, the Co. has sold plants amounting to{?} about 1000 lights. This is not much, still it is better than nothing. ##The Central Station business looks promising. I wired you yesterday that with relation to Uptown New York, the law had been appealed to. Johnson tells me that a mandamus has been applied for to compel the authorities to give us permission to tar{?} our conductors. Johnson has been agitating that the 27th St. property should be secured anyway and a meeting fo the Illuminating Co. directors is to be held for this purpose. ##The Boston Block plant is running about 2,000 lights {---} been contracted for and overhead lines {-----} are being run for this work, as at present the permit to put wires underground has not been obtained. ##At last, Stuart of Cincinnati has raised the capital for a 1,000 Light Block Plant. The people who are interested in the Union Depot (now lighted by us) are pulling up the money. They have plenty of capital and this Block is said to be only the start of a large Co. ##The Syndicate for putting in half a dozen stations in Upper New York State is going along all right. The first plant, Amsterdam 1,600 lights, will soon be in course of construction. ##Hesseboro{?} of Pennsylvania chooses{?} to have about {-----} Cos., all of which he will have installing plants before the summer arrives. Whether he will be able to do this, you are as well able to judge as I am. ##Stewart of Chile writes me that Grace & Co. have issued a circular asking for $100,000 Chilean currency ($50,000 gold) for a Valparaiso Station of 1200 lights. Grace & Co. in the subscription{?} circular guarantee themselves 6% on this capital, as I presume they will be able{?} to raise the money. Stewart still wants you to take up the question of his using the Santiago Station with water power. He says until Santiago is put on a good basis, that business will lag. ##I have received the information from Lockwood about Gilliland's English Patent and Tomlinson is drawing the papers. Bergmann has shipped half a dozen more transmitters{?}. ##That key of safe has never reached here, so I still owe 140 shares of Railway Stock, which I gave my word I would return inside of a week, and I do not like breaking my word in such matters. ##I continue to wire you very fully as I read your first telegram from Fort Myers to mean that it is nigh to useless to depend on letters. {Added as postscript:} The weather has been very uncertain here and Spring seems a very long time coming.








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[LB021464], Letter from Samuel Insull to Thomas Alva Edison, March 29th, 1886

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

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