[LB031451], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, July 30th, 1889


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[LB031451], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, July 30th, 1889

Editor's Notes

[long but useful snapshot of foreign phono, toy phono, desultory lab work on eve of TAE's departure. Possibly select or at least mine for good quotes---TAE "intoxicated" by ore milling prospects] "Your favors of July 16th and [unclear] came to hand yesterday, both together. I think the long delay in their arrival is largely owing to the fact that you do not put on the envelope the name of the steamer by which you want the letters forwarded, and under these circumstances they lie over in the General Post Office to the end of the week. ### SELIGMAN NEGOTIATIONS. I do not know that there is much to say from this end of the line. All I can do is to reiterate what I said in [unclear] last letter with reference to the Seligmans—that we have no understanding with these people here whatever; that we have absolutely refused to have any new negotiations whatever, and that when young Moriarty and young Seligman say that I mentioned six hundred thousand dollars as a price for the whole foreign phonograph interest, they simply lie. Young Seligman knows what they lie, and if they make that assertion on the authority of the people here, the people [unclear] lies. I taxed Mr. Jessie Seligman with this some time ago, and he disclaimed altogether that I had made any such statement. He admitted that I refused to name a price even for Mr. Edison's interest; that the arm of $750,000 and the manufacturing was made absolutely on [unclear] authority, and that I especially disclaimed having consulted Mr. Edison in naming that price. In fact, Mr. Jesse Seligman [?] admits the interview between him and myself, at which you were present, in precisely the same way as you and myself understand is it rather amuses me to read your letters. They are simply a confirmation of what I have been preaching to Mr. Edison for the last eight years. I have always insisted that Mr. Gouraud would never be able to float anything successfully after his telephone [unclear] and I want no better justification of my opposition to Mr. Gouraud getting his present contract with relation to the phonograph them the cable correspondence we have received from you and the two letters above referred to. We have a letter from Gouraud, of which I enclose you herewith a copy. We are not going to enter into communication direct with Mr. Gouraud. You must fix this matter with him yourself, and if you see Mr. Moriarity again with Mr. Gouraud, I would, if I were you, tell Mr. Moriarty that the statement which he makes is false, and that you make that statement on my authority, you having been present at the interview with Jessie Seligman, and that you know from letters received from me, that Mr. Jessie Seligman has especially disclaimed, within the last few weeks, that when he was talking with me obtained a figure on the whole foreign phonograph including Mr. Gouraud's interest. ### ORDER [unclear] PHONOGRAPH I was sorry to receive your telegram stating that you had accepted an order from Gouraud for fifty (50) instruments. We have Mr. Gouraud's order for a thousand (1,000) instruments, and we are working on these thousand instruments, and in calling on Mr. Gouraud to pay cash in New York for the instruments we are only doing what the contract gives us a right to do. The result of his refusal to pay for the instruments might possibly have ended in our being able to declare his contract void, but I am half afraid that we are [unclear] what compromised by your having accepted the order for fifty instruments, and by accepting that order have given a constructive consent to the cancellation of the order for a thousand instruments. ### At the time of dictating this letter I have not got a final cable from you as to what you have arranged concerning this matter. All I have is your telegram, stating that delay is not yours. I do not even know whether you have returned Gouraud his order for fifty instruments. ### At the time of dictating this letter I have not got a final cable from you as to what you have arranged concerning this matter. All I have is your telegram, stating that delay is not yours. I do not even know whether you have returned Gouraud his order for fifty instruments. ### Mr. Edison is of course very much disgusted with the state of affairs as shown by your cables and your two letters. I think the thing that has affected him the most has been the refusal of Gouraud to put up money for phonographs. I believe that the whole matter will so influence him that in the future he will deal very differently with his foreign business. ### TOY PHONOGRAPH Mr. Stevens sails on the 7th of August. Nothing definite has been done yet with relation to putting toys on the market. I have found a very good men as Gen'l Manager of the Company, and he is in Boston to-day negotiating with Stevens and his colleagues. If we [unclear] to your arrangment with them, the business will be at once [unclear]. I have not got the time to attend to it myself, but as soon as they have a good General Manager, I will take me active part in directing his efforts. We have got the plant at Orange ready for turning out the doll movements and can go to work on large quantities with little or no delay. I think that this business is in far better shape than it has ever been before, and I shall be disappointed if the Christmas season does not find us playing large numbers of these toys throughout the country. ### Laboratory There is nothing particularly to report in connection with the Laboratory. There has been no correspondence of any moment referring to any business of importance. Everything goes on in a [unclear] drum kind of a way, Mr. Edison giving little or no attention to experimental work. The order of the day now is 'I will take that at hand when I return from Europe.' Batchelor has been away most of the time since you left here the concern in [unclear]. The idea to-day seems to [unclear] you can run ahead on a large number of machine and when you have got too many, [unclear] off your man still maintain a good organization. My experience in this connection is somewhat extensive, and I know that every time they shut down, it costs several thousand dollars to get under way again. ### GENERAL EDISON CO. Everything is going just as I thought it would Mr. Coster heartily co-operates with me, and in consequence, Mr. Edison's views are in every respect paramount. The Executive Committee has been formed, and I am, of course, a member of it. Mr. Edison could not wish for any better state of affairs than now exists in the Gen'l Edison Company. I had Mr. Villard and Mr. Edison at Schenectady on Saturday last, and have started enlarging the Works there, and before I get right through I am sure a quarter of a million dollars will be spent. General Edison Co. stock is a good purchase, as it will pay a dividend of eight per cent this year, and only [unclear] at 90 to-day. ### Ore Milling. The plant at Bechtellsville is a remarkable [unclear]. There is no doubt but that we are going to make a deal of money in concentrating iron ores. [Unclear] and Edison are practically intoxicated by the business. According to present prospects are discounting what they have to say and estimating that the cost of production will [unclear] they really [unclear]. I am sure we have got an extended such a thing. We have increased the capital to $100,000. ### You cannot expect to get many letters from me. It is for that reason I cable very fully, but I will try get a letter off to you once a fortnight. ### Borjes. You will have received our cablegram declining Mr. Borjes' invitation, and will have notified that gentleman of same. He simply wants to make social capital out of entertaining Mr. Edison. Mr. Edison occupies the high a [unclear], to my mind, to allow of his accepting any such hospitality as Mr. Borjes offers. The proper place for Mr. Edison to go to is a Hotel, where he will pay all his own bills. However, of course you will have made necessary explanation to Porjes saying that Mr. Edison will only stay in Paris a short time &c., &c. and Porjes will be disappointed, but of course satisfied. ### I have sent you to-day that cable transfer of two hundred pounds. I am afraid you are too close to Leicester Square and 'Petite Paris.' I hope that your lounging place is not the Alhambra and the Pavilion. My boy I advise you to go it slowly as you may have to wrap it up in writing." With kind regards, I remain. Very sincerely yours, Samuel Insull. ### Note : Mr. Insull has gone away without signing this letter, and as it must be mailed to-night in order to catch to-morrow's steamer, I have deemed it advisable to attach his signature and send it off." Maguire





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