[LB038148], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Thomas Alva Edison, March 4th, 1890


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[LB038148], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to Thomas Alva Edison, March 4th, 1890




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


March 4, 1890
My dear Mr. Edison,-
Replying to your letter of 28th ult., I beg to give you the following information: Kelly has just returned from a trip West, where he arranged with a number of the largest electrical supply houses to handle our cells. Upon orders rec'd from him we have shipped to all the electrical houses in the States sample of our battery, chiefly the small telephone size and the 1590 ampere hour type. These are being tested and reports upon them are coming in now. These reports are all very favorable, but so far have been confined to the 15 ampere hour cell, for the reason that Gladstone, cowing to the covers not being ready, was only able to commence the shipment of the 150 ampere hour cells on the 20th February last. Before we can sell any large number of batteries, we have got to go through a certain amount of preliminary work and obtain reports from people who are recognized in the trade. We must do the same in connection with railway work, and I am working a few of the best roads in order to get their endorsement, after which we can push the business more vigorously. The Pennsylvania Railway people ordered 50 cells, with six renewals, for Philadelphia Division, and a few days ago I received an order [illegible] for 75 cells for his Division. These are all 300 [illegible] Telegraph Model, which owing to the necessary preparations for the manufacture of the new covers having been only recently completed, we were not able to ship until the 25th of last month.
You may remember that I wrote a letter to Mr. Pugh in regard to this battery, and I enclose herewith copy of his reply which referring as it does, specifically, to the Phonoplex, is very satisfactory indeed.
I have placed a dozen or so of cells on trial with the Boston & Albany R.R. and also with the Boston & Maine R.R., and have received the following from the Chicago & Northwestern R.R.:-
"We have two cells of your Edison-Lalande battery operating about 30 Sounders."
They then ask for information about renewing the cells.
I sent two cells to the N.Y., Lake Erie & Wes. R.R., from which they ran six sounders; the Division Operator writes me as follows:-
"It is an excellent battery I am well pleased. I shall order some cells of the Telegraph Model on my next requisition."
Taylor, Div, Operator ,F.R.R. at Altoona written as if am certainly captivated with the 15 ampere here [illegible]
We have sent 8 of our 150 ampere hour cells to the American Telephone Co. [illegible] St. New York. Our test on their long distance. Kelly is working the Telephone Companies, the District Companies and the Western Union Company, and will "bag" them before very long. Brown, who in matters connected with the Western Union stands next to Eckert, made a new test of our 300 ampere hour cell, and is greatly pleased with the result. He is making a report, which will state that the cells gave more than 300 amperes. Kelly was to have had this report today. I will send you a copy of it when he gets it.
Just as soon as a number of good reports from well known people like those whom I have mentioned are obtained, we can branch out. Of course Kelly's work---which covers practically all open circuit work---being handled by the electrical supply houses, will not put us to any direct expense, but I am convinced that we will have to spend some money on railway work, by sending a good man out to market our cells. If he is equipped with a letter from the P.R.R. people, and a few others, endorsing the cells, it will be all that is necessary, but I think that this equipment is a necessary preliminary.
I have just received a cablegram from Dyer, Antwerp, as follows:
"Lalande agrees to your requirements; letter follows."
In brief our proposition to Lalande was that he should give us permission to market the cells for electric lighting purposes up to 25 lamps; also that he should permit us to sell in Canada and Mexico without any further guarantee as to royalties, his renumeration to come from such royalties as may accrue on actual sales in this extended territory. This is the proposition that Lalande accepts.
Logue has just completed the installation of two circuits on the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham R.R., between Memphis & Birmingham, one 128 miles, 19 offices, and the other 119 miles, 15 offices; five offices on each of these circuits are phoned; the rest condensed. These two circuits, together with the one on the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis line, which is under the same management, use 200 Edison-Islands cells. Nearly all our phonoplex licensees have replaced the old Chromic acid cells with the new kind.
Logue is now on his way to Chicago to complete the installation of the 450 mile circuit on the lines of the North American Telegraph Company, and for which Mr. Kennelly made a new coil. I did not send this coil to the North Am. people, because I wanted Logue himself to install it. The Northern Pacific Railway people also wrote me requesting tat a representative of the Phonoplex should call upon them in regard to installing some circuits upon their lines, so that there will be no cessation in Logue's work. I have two or three other circuits under way.
Yours very truly,
A.O. Tate
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