[LB031140], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Samuel Insull, June 30th, 1889


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[LB031140], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Samuel Insull, June 30th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Memorandum for Mr. Insull.##I give you the following information in regard to current matters in this office:-- ##EDISON ELECTRIC LIGHT CO BILLS FOR EXPERIMENTS. Maguire will hand you our bills against the Electric Light Co. for experiments conducted by Mr. Edison in this Laboratory, on their behalf, amounting to $4,488.82. These were forwarded by me to the Light Company and were returned by them through Mr. Wirt, who was instructed to come here and get an explanation as to the nature of the experiments which are named in the bills, and to find out upon what authority these experiments had been conducted. In order to have these bills intelligently explained, it is necessary that Mr. Edison should be present at any interview which is had with Mr. Wirt, as no one else can give the necessary information. I have not had an opportunity to make an appointment for the discussion of this matter.##Bloomfield Real Estate. Mr. Edison has purchased a number of different properties in Bloomfield. Randoph has all the details of these properties. All papers relating to them, such as agreements, deeds &c., are in the hands of Mr. George P. Kingsley, whose office is near the Orange Nat'l. Bank, Orange, N.J., and who has acted as our local attorney in affairs of this nature. The papers were placed in Mr. Kingsley's hands, for him to have a survey made of all the properties, and a new map prepared, showing the correct boundaries of each. The first property which Mr. Edison purchased in Bloomfield is known as the FARRAND property, and was bought from David N. and Lydia Ropes, for the sum of $10,000, $8,000 having been paid in cash at the time of purchase, and a mortgage of $7,000 executed by Mr. Edison in favor of Lydia Ropes. During the present month, Mr. Edison made a payment of $2,000 on account of this mortgage, which was handed to Mr. Kingsley, and which he was to endorse on the bond, which he states has been done. This makes the present amount of the mortgage $5,000. All the other properties have been paid for in full, with the exception of one. This is another Farrand property, and on July 15th there is a payment due to complete the purchase, of $4,990, $10 having been paid when the agreement was made, making the total purchase price, $5,000.## Mr. Kingsley is preparing for us a description of each of [unclear] properties, taken from the [unclear], which Randolph will write up in [unclear] when he is making his entries for these properties, so that we will always have a record to which we can readily refer when necessary.##BLOOMFIELD FACTORIES. There are two buildings going up on the Bloomfield property, one of which is, I believe, a Chemical Works, and the other for the manufacture of batteries. I have started a small set of books, which are being kept in this Laboratory, for these two buildings, and the details of communication of each are being recorded separately. One building is just about finished, and they are getting in machinery, the foundations of the other building are now rising.##TAXES ON BLOOMFIELD PROPERTY. In view of the extent to which Mr. Edison proposes going in to the manufacturing business on these new properties, I went to Bloomfield a few days ago and saw the Assessor, the idea being to obtain exemption from taxation for a number of years. The line between the Townships of Bloomfield and Belleville divides these properties almost equally. Mr. Batchelor has a map which shows this line. Mr. Edison can build in the Township of Belleville or in the Township of Bloomfield, as he pleases, and I intended playing off one Township against another, in order to get as favorable terms as possible. The Townships are controlled each by a Committee, which is elected to office, I understand, annually. The office of Assessor is also an elective one. Mr. Kingsley, our local attorney advises me that the Township Committees have not the power to grant exemption from taxation, but that we can keep our assessments down by having an understanding with the Assessor. As stated above, I saw the Assessor for Bloomfield Township, and he gave me the same information that Mr. Kingsley gave me. He called to see me the other day and assured me that he would keep the assessments down to the lowest possible point. I only took this matter up recently, and have not been able to follow it out beyond my last interview with the Bloomfield Assessor, above referred to; but I think that there must be some way by which we could obtain exemption for a certain number of years. I do not feel satisfied that Mr. Kinsley has advised me correctly. If we can avoid it, we do not want to be at the mercy of those Assessors, but if there is no way out of it, we ought to have a proper understanding with them, and make them our friends. The time to do this is the present.##For your information I may add that, all the Townships in this district furnish blanks to various manufacturing establishments, and ask to have them filled up with information as to the value of real and other property. These blanks should always be ignored, and the Assessor allowed to put a valuation on himself. They usually assess for about 30 or 40 per cent of the actual value.##LIPPINCOTT'S PAYMENTS ON ACCOUNT OF PHONOS, AND SUPPLIES DELIVERED TO THE NORTH AM. PHONO. CO. You will recollect that I called your attention the other day to the fact that Mr. Lippincott had given his personal check for the last twenty-five thousand dollar payment on account of the above. I also told you taht I had written Major Eaton, and I now attach a letter from Major Eaton, under date 25th instant, in which he suggests that we have a clear understanding with Mr. Lippincott as to the account to which these stocks are to be applied. As you are dealing with Mr. Lippincott, I have done nothing about this matter, but leave it for you to adjust, as suggested by Major Eaton. OSGOOD S. WILEY I attach letters from Mr. George Munro, Sec'y of Edison Phono. Co., London, and J. L. Nixon. Mr. Wiley appears to have boarded with the latter for about two months. These communications explain themselves. Under instruction from Mr. Edison, I have forwarded to Mr. Munro Exchange on London for twenty-five pounds, and to Mr. Nixon Exchange on London for 4-13-1[0]. Wiley is in Mr. Edison's debt, apart from these matters, about $300. Our books will show the exact amount. With these last amounts added, his overdraft will amount to between four and five hundred dollars. Wiley's father has money, and an attempt should be made to recover this indebtedness. AMOUNT PAID BY MRS. HEMENWAY FOR PHONO. CO. STOCK. Through an error of Tomlinson, the Lippincott contracts state that the amount which Ms. Hemenway paid for her stock was $22,500. This is not so. We sold her 150 shares of stock, at $148 per share, and the check which I received and deposited in the Orange National Bank, in the name of A.O. Tate, Trustee, was for $33,300. Randolph has the check book of this Trustee account, and a certificate can be obtained from the Orange Nat'l Bank as to the amount of deposit, if the same be necessary.##MR. EDISON'S CONTRACTS WITH THE EDISON ORE MILLING CO. [UNCLEAR]. I obtained one of the original copies of this contract from Mr. Butler, the other being in the possession of the Ore Milling Company, The copy which I had is now in the hands of Eaton & Lewis, to whom I sent it for the purpose of having explained certain provisions which were not quite clear. I have written Eaton & Lewis to return this contract to this office, and when it reaches here it will be put in the safe, together with a copy of my letter to E&L, and their reply. Mr. Edison agreed to spend a certain sum of money to perfect his Ore Milling process, the amount, as I recollect, was $25,000. The charge on our books at the present time against Ore Milling, is about $17,000. There may be some minor experiments which should be written off against Ore Milling experiment, but that can easily be determined by a glance at our experimental sheet. Mr. Edison has intimated his desire for an accounting between himself and the Ore Milling Co., under this contract, if the matter can be arranged at this time.##TOY PHONOGRAPH. Major Eaton can explain to you the legal aspect of these affairs. I told you to-day that we had written Mr. Stevens, practically withdrawing Mr. Stevenson as a candidate for the position of Manager of the Toy Phono. Co. I have made an appointment for Mr. Edison to meet Mr. Stevens and some of the other directors of the Company, at this Laboratory, July 8th, and I have dictated a memorandum to Mr. Edison, which will be presented to the latter at that time, the substance of which is as follows: The Toy Phono. Co. made a contract with T.C. Crawford, for France, a copy of which is in Major Eaton's hands. I have a letter from Mr. Stevens, under date 27th inst., in which he says that it is a question whether this contract is a valid one. F. Z. Maguire came to the Laboratory the other day and told me that he was associated with Crawford in the matter of this contract, that the contract had lapsed, and that he wanted to obtain from me information regarding Mr. Edison's relations with the Toy Phonograph Company, so that he and Crawford could decide whether they would ask a renewal of their agreement with that Company. He appeared to have no doubt as to the expiration of Crawford's contract. I have given this information to Mr. Stevens.##From all of Dick's correspondence, it appears that Paris is the great distributing centre for the doll trade in Europe. It is, therefore, of great importance that the Toy Phonograph Co. should take advantage of any right which they may have to abrogate the Crawford contract. Otherwise that gentleman will control the bulk of the trade abroad.##TRUST AGREEMENT EDISON PHONOGRAPH WORKS. Mr. Edison's agreement with the Phonograph Works, under date 19th day of May, 1888, provides for an issue to Mr. Edison of 52% of the Capital Stock of that Company, or 1,560 shares. Mr. Edison agreed to place 38% of this 1560 shares, or 592 8/10 shares, in the hands of a Trustee, as is explained in the above agreement. Eaton & Lewis are preparing this Trust agreement, and the Garfield Safe Deposit Company has been named as Trustee. I believe the Trust agreement will be ready next week. All of Mr. Edison's Phonograph Works stock is in the safe here, and that portion of it, namely , 1,500 shares, which was issued to him as a consideration for the assignment of his manufacturing rights has been stamped, "ISSUED FOR PROPERTY PURCHASED."##Phonoplex. Logue is installing a circuit on the lines of the Penn. R.R. between Jersey City and Philadelphia, which he will finish in a few days. After that he is to go to Altoona, to set up a new battery which we desire to test there. When he is through at Altoona, I think that Mr. A. B. Chandler, of the United Lines, will be ready for him. I have corresponded with Mr. Chandler, and he has promised us a circuit. You can review this correspondence at any time. When Logue is through with the United Lines, he should go to Chicago and some of the larger Western cities. We have very few circuits in the West. We need one running out of Chicago more than anywhere else, and an effort should be made to obtain it. I am going to prepare to-morrow matter for a new Phonoplex pamphlet. Burgoyne printed the last one, and he has our cuts, and I believe has the old pamphlet in type. When a proof of the new pamphlet is received, it would be well to have Logue read it over and see that no technical errors have been made. We should have 500 copies of the new pamphlet for distribution among the various Railroads in the United States.##EDISON E. LT. CO. OF EUROPE. I am sending you all the records of the Edison Electric Light Co. of Europe, Limited. There are coupons missing from those paid on February 1st last by Mr. Hutchinson. I, of course, must be held responsible for these. I can give the Company a bond or a check, as they please.##FRAZAR & CO'S CONTRACT FOR SALE OF PHONO. IN CHINA AND JAPAN. This matter was turned over to Major Eaton several months ago, at a time when he was loaded down with work in connection with the General Company and the Lippincott deal. Hs is ready to take it up now and complete the papers. The last time I discussed this matter with Mr. Edison, he said he wanted a royalty of $10 on each phonograph sold in these countries through Frazar and Company. I think it would be much better for you to readjust this and provide for Mr. Edison to have a certain percentage, based upon the factory price of phonographs and supplies. Mr. Frazar happened to mention to me in his office a few days ago, that this partners in China and Japan were considering the formation of a Company. I notified him, by letter, that his contract with his form would not be assignable, and that the formation of a Company would have to be the subject of further negotiations between himself and Mr. Edison. Frazar has an expert (Churchill) in China, and about 25 machines. Nothing has been billed to him, and we have given him to guarantee as to the price of phonographs. The whole matter can be shaped to suit present circumstances. You can handle it as though it had just come up for adjustment at the present time, as there are no complications.##TREASURER'S BOND PHONO. WORKS. The Treasurer of the Edison Phono. Works is required by the By Laws to give a bond for $250, for the faithful discharge of his duties. You should have this bond prepared and filed with the Company's records.##PHONOGRAPH WORKS, STOCK ISSUED FOR SERVICES. When Batchelor, Tomlinson and myself were elected Directors of the Edison Phono. Works, we were each given five shares of stock to qualify. These were entered upon our books as having been issued for "services rendered," but Mr. Lewis advises me that there is not provision in the N.J. Statutes by which stock can be issued for services. It must be issued for property or for cash. We could change the record on the books by giving the Phonograph Works Mr. Edison's check for this stock, at par (all the cash stock was issued at par), and then adjust the matter In his general account, which I refer to below.##MR. EDISON'S GENERAL ACCOUNT WITH PHONO. WKS. There is an open account in favor of Mr. Edison on the books of the Edison Phono. Works, for manufacturing done at the Laboratory, on their behalf. Our charges against the Phonograph Works were made upon the same basis as our charges for experiments, and are altogether too high for manufacturing. If you will look at our experimental sheet, which Randolph will show you, you can see exactly what we charge for experiments, and can decide as to the amount which should be allowed the Phonograph Works on the above. AO Tate





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