[LB030427], Letter from Edison Phonograph Co, Alfred Ord Tate to Reginald Gray, June 19th, 1889


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[LB030427], Letter from Edison Phonograph Co, Alfred Ord Tate to Reginald Gray, June 19th, 1889

Editor's Notes

"I have before me this morning your letter of 24th ultimo, asking, on behalf of Mrs. Hemenway, information respecting the Edison Phonograph Company, an answer to which has been delayed owing to my absence from Orange. I take pleasure now in complying with your request. ### In order that you may intelligently understand the manner in which the Phonograph business throughout is conducted at the present time, it is necessary for me to inform you that the contract between Mr. Edison and the Edison Phonograph Company, whereby the latter acquired the rights which it possesses, give it to Mr. Edison the exclusive right to manufacture phonographs and supplies for sale in the United States and Canada, the articles so manufactured to be delivered only to the Edison Phonograph Company or its [unclear] – or in other words, the Company contemplated marketing the articles manufactured for it by Mr. Edison. ### These manufacturing rights were last year assigned by Mr. Edison to a corporation called the Edison Phonograph Works, and the latter erected large factory buildings in Orange, and equipped them for a capacity of two hundred complete phonographs per day. At the present time they have made delivery of about twelve hundred instruments, many of which are I believe already in the hands of the public, and giving good satisfaction, and they are continuing delivery at the rate of about two hundred and forty instruments per week. ### With regard to the affairs of the Edison Phonograph Company, probably you already know that Mr. Jesse H. Lippincott, representing the North American Phonograph Company, purchased all the stock of the former, excepting the shares previously purchased by Mrs. Hemenway; but I do not think you are aware that Mr. Edison arranged this sale in such a way as to protect Mrs. Hemenway from any possible loss. In the negotiations between Mr. Edison (representing in addition to his own holding, all the stockholders, excepting Mrs. Hemenway) and Mr. Lippincott, the total sum offered for the stock afforded an average price per share lower than the price paid by Mrs. Hemenway, which was inevitable in a transaction involving such a large amount of money and the sale of such a large number of shares. It was, therefore, impracticable to invite Mrs. Hemenway to participate in the sale, but Mr. Edison was unwilling to leave her to take the customary and ordinary risks pertaining to stock sold without guarantee, and he, therefore, made Mr. Lippincott an allowance out of the amount paid to Mr. Edison by the former, equal to the sum paid by Mrs. Hemenway for her present holding, which, am I recollect it, was to be the price to be offered Mrs. Hemenway, should Mr. Lippincott desire to purchase, and she decide to sell her shares. ### This will allay any fears which Mrs. Hemenway may have had as to the safety of her investment. ### With your permission I wish to make a suggestion, which is that, I think it would be very desirable for yourself, as Mrs. Hemenway's representative, and Mr. Lippincott to affect communication with each other. Mr. Lippincott's address is, No. 160 Broadway, New York City." Yours very truly, A.O. Tate





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