[LB022052], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Thomas Alva Edison, April 27th, 1886


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[LB022052], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Thomas Alva Edison, April 27th, 1886

Editor's Notes

[addressed to Akron] Referring to the matter of silencing the phone in Transmitting Office, and my previous letters to you on the subject, I beg to say that immediately upon my return to New York I discussed the question with Mr.[Ott and the result was an instrument as per the annexed sketch. ## The time however during which the circuit around the phone is open to admit of "breaks" is measured by the period required for the front point to pass from a line a little above the bottom contact screw to a line a little below the top contact screw, and though there are two such intervals during the formation of each dot and dash, I still find that the practical working of the instrument is not what we could wish. We set it up in the Laboratory here, and on a short line where incoming signals are very loud, it would be O. K.--but when these signals are faint I am afraid they will not get through at all in a satisfactory manner. With this instrument the breaks don't come in on the phone as it would appear they should come by looking at this sketch--but they are much more intermittent. Even with the most favorable adjustment and sending out "breaks" in a continuous stream, the currents do not get to the phone each time the circuit [arrived?] it is opened by ordinary morse writing--but they only come occasionally. When the circuit is short this is all right, but I don't hope for much on a long one. However I gave Mr Bossart an instrument (we fitted up just one) and had him take it to Baltimore for test. I wired him yesteday asking what result was and he replies ## "Condenser burned out Sykesville [2 other illeg place names];-Have not yet had good opportunity to make fair test." This disposes of the instrument for the present, but introduced another important matter about which I wrote you some time ago. We have lost four condensers since completing the last [???] on the N&O. I have instructed [CM?] to get today the best lighting arrester he can procure for the purpose of protecting each condenser we have in circuit. I don't think any of those known to us will be of much use for tho' they may carry off a good deal of the fluid it only requires a small amount to perforate a condenser. We must either have a lighting arrester adapted to our business or fix our connections so [Sporatess?] can do as we did in former times on morse lines--out out during storms--and this latter will be but insufficient protection. ## In a conversation with Mr Bates of the B&O the other day he said he was immensely pleased with the phonoplex and thought it a splendid thing. ## Beyond the troubles which form the subject of this letter we are not in any kind of hot water. Everything is satisfactory. The Harrisburg circuit is simply immense. We started it right off on regular work the day we finished making our connections and there's never been a [kick?] nor a break since. ## I discharged our Canadian operator as per your instructions. What do you wish done with all that matererial we have up there. ## I hear nothing at all from Dwight and Wiman has sailed for Europe. ## When I discharged our Canadian man I also wrote Mr Dwight, simply thanking him for permitting us to avail ourselves of the services of one of his men, and I said that we now believed this man to be fully qualified to install the phone system. Dwight will reengage him. ## Mr Dwight has carried on all his negotiations with us through Wiman but I think that the time has now arrived when he should show his hand, and I think we should ask him what he intends doing, or else force it by the removal of our instruments. I will do nothing however until I hear from you. ## I am going to see Mr Bentley of Philadelphia [Reese?] St. 2 in a day or two. ## I think the B&O will put a number of circuits up at Philadelphia. They do a big business there. Yours faithfully
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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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