[LB022265], Letter from Edison Electric Light Co of Europe Ltd, Thomas Alva Edison to Henry Villard, July 24th, 1886


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[LB022265], Letter from Edison Electric Light Co of Europe Ltd, Thomas Alva Edison to Henry Villard, July 24th, 1886

Editor's Notes

We beg to enclose you herewith Power of Attorney from Mr. Edison personally and ourselves, giving you authority to deal on our behalf with our contract relations with the Compagnie Continentale Edison and kindred organizations in Paris. We have heretofore been in the habit of qualifying out Powers of Attorney with a clause which compelled our representative to refer to us for final approval. In view of the well understood circumstances now existing in connection with the relations between ourselfs and the Paris Companies, and their licensee organizations, we have though it adivsable, in delegating Powers to yuou, to make them as broad as possible, so as to enable you to revise the contracts in our behalf without referring to us. ## Mr. Upton has told you that our Company has an amount of $100,000. of outstanding bonds on which we have defaulted in our interest for several years, and also other liabilities. It is essential that in any arrangements you may make for us that some provision should be made to take care of this indebtedness. We have made an informal arrangement with the bondholders, by which they have agreed to accept fifty cents on the dollar in liquidation of their bonds, and interest at six per cent on the face of the bonds to date of liquidation. Assuming that we will be able to make the necessary payments under this arrangment by November 1st. next, our total indebtedness, including the above mentioned bonds and interest, and also notes and sundry bills owing, will not exceed the sum of $85,000. We understand from Mr. Upton that you would propose raising money for us in Europe on bond to clear off this indebtedness. In any arrangement you may make on our behalf with the Paris Companies, it is essential that an income shall be guaranteed to us sufficient to take care of th einterest on the amount of new bonds issued to cover the above referred indebtedness of $85,000., and also to enable us to pay the ordinary expenses of our Company, including taxation. We estimate that the minimum amount which we would require to keep up the organization of our Company, even if we exercised the strictest economy, to be $2,000. per annum. Our minimum guarateed income, under any new contract you make for us, must amount to $2,000., in addition to the interest on such new bonds as we may decide to issue after further conference with you. ## It may be that in your negotiations with the Compagnie Continentale you may find it possible to obtain for us an advance payment say of $85,000., sufficient to enable us to clear off our present indebtedness. If this came to be done, of course we should much prefer it, as it would be far of greater advantage to us to get the money we require now from the Paris Company, rather than raise it on mortgage. If they are willing to do this, the payments could be made to us as an advance on the lamp royalties, or other profits coming to us, and could be cleared off from time to time by the payments that would otherwise be due us. But if such a course is followed, we should desire the amount of $2,000. per annum, above referred to cover the expenses of our organization, to be paid to us. If you cannot get the total sum of $85,000. as an advance payment, it may be that you can get part of this, which would natually lessen the amount of new bonds that we would be compelled to issue. ## The contract should also provide that any royalties due to our Company should be paid at regualr intervals to us without our having to go through the form of making a request for same. This should be so arranged as to insure us that we will receive said minimum income altogether, apart from any disputes that may subsequently arise between the Paris Companies and ourselves. ## The contract should further provide that in the event of the Paris companies desiring information from us, for the obtaining of which we have to pay, that all such expenses shall be borne by them, and that in getting such information we act simply as their agent, and that the liabillity is entirely theirs. We mention this point because the Compagnie Continentale has disputed a bill for services rendered by our Patent Attorney for work he did on our instructions and on a request made to us by the Paris Co. in obtaining certain information in Canada for their use in patent suits. The contract must not bind Mr. Edison with relation to any of his future inventions in connection with electric lighting. Should, however, the Compagnie Continentale make any great point of this matter, Mr. Edison is willling to give them an option on all inventions in connection with electric lighting which he may make, such opetion to be only for the countries now owned by the Compagnie Continentale under contract with us, and to run for a period of ninety days after Mr. Edison has given the Compagnie Continentale notice to exercise the option, the price to be paid for each invention to be such a one as may be entirely satisfactory to Mr. Edison. ## Mr. Edison would also be glad if you can arrange to bind the Compagnie Continentale to exploit electric lighting business only in the territory which they hold by contract with us. That you may better understand his desire in this connection, we may mention that the Compagnie Continentale, or their agents, have endeavored to do business in countries outside of their own territory, which may or may not have patent laws, and in which countries Mr. Edison has by contract approved with his name and goodwill, and where patent laws exist with his patents. The countries we have especial reference to are Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, and also China, Japan, Corea, the Phillipine Islands, and other Islands in the Far East. It is nothing but right that the paris Companies should bind themselves in relation to this matter, inasmuch as Mr. Edison, and parties associated with him, have been put to very considerable expense in working up business in the countries mentioned. ## We are quite agreeable to the various changes contemplated in our contract relations with the Compagnie Continentale Edison in the memorandum made between yourself and Mr. Upton on our behalf, and Mr. Rau on behalf of the Compagnie Continentale Edison, a copy of which memorandum has been hadned to us by Mr. Upton. ## Your favor of the 29th. June has been handed to us by your Attorney, Mr. Spofford. We notice with pleasure the progress you have made and geel confident that you will be able to bring the business to an entirely satisfactory conclusion. P.S. Please address all communications to us care Thomas A. Edison, 40 & 42 Wall Street, New York City.





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