[LB035273], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to N Eisenlord, December 24th, 1889


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[LB035273], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to N Eisenlord, December 24th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Mr. Edison has asked me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date 11th instant. Your inquiry as to how he came to be an operator, is answered in the following extract from a recent biography of Mr. Edison, which has the merit of being strictly accurate:-- "....He now turned his attention to telegraphy, and in the following manner. Standing one day on the platform of Mount Clemens Station, he saw the son of the Station Master, a child of three years, in danger of being run down by an approaching train. Springing to his assistance, Edison succeeding in getting the boy off the track a few seconds before he would have been crushed beneath the wheels of the locomotive. The child's father out of gratitude, offered to teach Edison telegraphy, and here his career as an operator commenced. He rapidly acquired the art and as rapidly turned it to profitable account. The telegraph office was some distance from the town. Edison strung a wire from the Station to a Drug Store, equipped it with instruments, placed an assistant at the other end, and received ten cents for each message which he repeated over his private line, which was, however, in a few months sacrificed to corporation greed, as the Western Union Telegraph Company, noting the profitable business which Edison was building up, ran one of their own wires to the town." Yours very truly, AO Tate







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