[LB048185], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to George Charles Spencer Churchill, March 11th, 1891


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[LB048185], Letter from Alfred Ord Tate to George Charles Spencer Churchill, March 11th, 1891




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


March 11, 1891.
Duke of Marlborough,
Blenheim, Woodstock,
Dear Sir:-
Upon Mr. Edison’s return to the Laboratory a few days ago after an absence of several weeks, your letter dated the 19th of January and your phonograph of same date were brought to his attention.
In regard to the suitability of the phonograph for business purposes, we are using it in the office here for all our correspondence and find no difficulty in getting seven or eight ordinary business letters on one cylinder. By reducing the speed of the phonograph to about 80 or 90 revolutions per minute. It is possible to get much more on a phonograph than when the machine is running at a higher speed, and the quality of the reproduction is in no way impaired by the reduced speed. The phonogram which will accompany the new style of instrument will have a capacity nearly double that of the phonogram in use at present; it will contain about 1500 words.
In regard to making corrections: Should it be desired to to Duke of Marlborough, omit from a letter something already recorded on a phonogram, we find that a good plan is to move back the spectacle arm to that part of the cylinder containing the words which we desire omitted, then to adjust the recording stylus and speaking tube and say into the phonograph, in a loud voice, “don’t write this,” or words of similar import, which expression will be recorded on the cylinder over the sounds already there and will be reproduced more distinctly then the latter. Should we desire to substitute something else for the passage omitted, we record it on another phonogram and direct the operator’s attention to it. The best way, however, is to make the corrections at once, should they occur to you while dictating, and in that case it is well for the operator to run over each cylinder before commencing to transcribe, as by so doing he learns if there are any corrections or omissions to be made end is prepared for them.
As to the breakage of cylinders, we find that much of this is caused by users pushing them too tightly on the brass cylinder.
This letter is being dictated to a phonograph and it takes up about three-eighths of the cylinder, the instrument running at normal speed.
Yours very truly,
(Signed A.O. Tate)
Private Secretary.
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