[X001M2AW], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Edison Lamp Co, August 2nd, 1889


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[X001M2AW], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Edison Lamp Co, August 2nd, 1889

Editor's Notes

Gentlemen, In response to your request for a general report of the impressions received frfom the New England cash central stations concerning the value of the Edison lamp and their comparisons of it to lamps made by other manufacturers I submit the following. ## The greatest inducement to purchase lamps from other makers has been the difference of prices, which, being removed brough orders from those who were short of lamps. The ruling price for other lamps being 60 cents with special rates of 55 cents or a discount in shape of price of 4 cents or 6 cents for old lamp stubs. I found no Edison sockets replaced by sockets for other make of lamps but in all cases the lamps were made to fit Edison sockets. I found three makes of lamps using the Edison socket viz. Sawyer-Mann Mather-Perkins and Schaeffer. ## A comparison of the lives of rival lamps is seldom made under proper circumstances. An instance will serve show the methods of some salesmen. Edison lamps of 97 volts are in use on lines having 107 volts pressure an excess of 10 volts which causes short life and rapid blackening of globes. Now comes a salesman from an infringing concern who hear complaints that Edison lamps cost 85 cents and give a very dull light, with very short life. He measures pressure and finds that lamps are being forced 10 volts high, and succeeds in selling them a bill of lamps at 60 cents with an individual guarantee of 600 hours. He sends them lamps of 106 or 108 volts and secures their orders for future and makes the impression that his lamps is very much superior to the Edison. This impression lasts till his tirck is shown up. Those stations which had used other lamps in direct competition with Edison and under exactly similar circumstances reported that the average life of Edison lamps was longer than any other but that the first Edison lamps which failed showed a very short life and the last ones an exending long life, making the cost of renewals, at same price per lamps, less with Edison lamps, and the average efficiency of Edison lamps lower because of dimunination of light after 1000 hours life. This short life of the first lamps which fail is exceedingly embarressing to stations which charge for lamp renewals because customers always contest payment for lamps which give minimum life. I was not able to see every station in operation and therefore cannot state reasons for complaints in all cases but I know of no case of short average life or excessive blackening which is not due to either very high pressure, very bad regulation or both. In many cases I found that a comparison of the long filliments of Sawyer-Main or Mather-Perkins lamps gave customers an impression of greater illuminating power and caused them to demand "the lamps having long carbons" and would not have the "little lamps." The size of the bulb I found also made an impression on such customers that the lamp was of larger type. I convinced a few managers and superintendents that neither the size of carbon or bulb determinined the candles power of lamps but they will find greater trouble to convince their customers of these facts. Much complaint was made by managers that complaints and requests for information were ignored or only answered after long delay and that but little satisfaction could be had by correspondence with #65. Fifth ave. and that with some the relations were so strained that it was more pleasant to do business with other companies. There is the same general lack of information among these small cash stations as exists amoung small stock stations and I found managers and superintendents generally grateful for the limited amount of instruction and the few points my times allowed. I believe that every station on my list could be secured to the Edison interests by a little attention and help. Yours very truly, Wilson S. Howell Rough draft of report to lamp co. on impressions of new england june + july '89





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