[LB024332], Letter from Samuel Insull to Thomas Alva Edison, April 11th, 1887


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[LB024332], Letter from Samuel Insull to Thomas Alva Edison, April 11th, 1887

Editor's Notes

I enclose herewith for signature a limited licesne in favor of H.H. Unz for the use of your patent No. 295.990 on certain conditions as expressed in said license, together with a letter, also for signature demanding from Unz an assignment of his contract with you under date.## In explanation of this I beg to say that a few nights (?) ago I was I approached by the A.B. Dick Co. of Chicago who desired to purchase the right to use your patent no. 224.665 which relates to the producton of duplicating writing machines (autographic stencils) by use of a corrugated surface. This patent was tied up in the Unz contract for three years and in such a manner that whether he did anything with it or not we had no means of cancelling the contract until after the expiration of three years. I hunted up Unz and found that he had gone a certain distance in connection with producing a Machine embodying the patent and he stated that he had spent about $1000 in experiments. As soon as he commenced to negotiate with him for an assignment of his contract he attempted to take advantage of his position under the agreement--finish demanding a heavy cash premium, then a permanent intrest in the patent. ## The A.B. Dick people were ready to place upon the market a machine which Mr. Dick had perfected (?) embodying this patent . He did not consider it advisable to inform Unz who it was that desired to obtain the patent as he was attempting to play {illegible} game that he would have discouraged the Dick people and destroyed your opportunity of obtaining a good annuity from an invention which had been unproductive from its birth. ## During the course of conversation with him he mentioned that certain typewritten people had approached me in relation to your patent no. 290.990 for needlepoint (?) type. He immediately jumped at the conclusion that these were the parties who wanted to use the patent he controlled by him and proposed giving them the right to use the latter patent providing he retained the same right himself, was paid $500.00 and licenses to use also the first named patent on type. We {illegible] he had conceived the idea that this type written patent was the more important one of the two and we presented to him as our ultimatum this proposition. ## He would give him $500 in cash and if within the present year he could produce a type writing machine embodying your invention which worked satisfactorily we would give him a limited license to use the type invention--which license applied only to his make of machine and did not restrict the licensing of other manufacturers by us. ## As he had fully impressed himself with the idea that the typewriter people had found something valuable, which he couldn't just then realize he accepted the proposition and it is pursuant to this agreement that I send you the within for signature. The license must be delivered to him before the sixth day of May next and as I have closed with the A.B. Dick Co. you will see the ncessity of returning these papers to me at once. ## In relation to this type written patent the parties who approached us were the Hall people. Hall has a machine but it is really no quad (?). No one else has spoken of it since Wyckoff Seamans and Benedict sent to your house. I do not consider this a valuable patent--and even could it be adapted to a type writer I do not think its nature warrants the exclusive licensing of any single manufacturer. ## I mean by this that if the Remingtons adapted it it would be used where Remington Machine are used--and so with their manufacturers. ## I express my opinion on this patent in order to explain my reason for having committed you to an obligation. In the first place my conviction is that Unz will not produce any machine at all and next, should he produce a satisfactory one it will only induce other manufacturers of typewriters to adapt the invention--and we can license them to use it and this turns Unz efforts to our own advantage and reap pecuniary benefit from the result of his labor. ## The A.B. Dick Co. will pay the $500 which are given to Unz. They also agree to pay a royalty of .75$ on each machine sold and 5% on renewals: that royalties for the first two years shall not amount to less then $800 in each year and not less than $1500 per annum thereafter. These provisions are the same as those in the Unz agreement. ## We have run the Dick machine and it is simply perfect. It is without a doubt the best duplicating machine in the market and a dealer who wanted to get the agency for Railroads alone offered to guarantee the sale of ten thousand machines. I estimate that your royalties will amount to {illegible} 2000 to $5000 per annum. Under these circumstances I felt that it was absolutely necessary that I should get an assignment from Unz of his contract. His attempt at a sharp game threatened our success but I think he overstepped himself and that our diamond proved to be harder than his. I had not time to consult you by letter as Unz was working in every direction to find out what we wanted with his contract--As Dick perfected his machine not knowing you controlled the patent and had spoken of it {illegible}, there was a chance of Unz hearing about it so I did the best but could be done under the circumstances and arranged matters accoriding to the foregoing explanation kindly sign and return the enclosed at once. The Dick contract is being written and when completed will be forwarded to you for signature.




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