[The following note describes a series of company records and has no document records attached to it. To see the document records in the volumes and folders described here, use the "Which Series Notes?" button to enter the Series Notes or use the "Next Text" button to move to the first item in the series.]
The Edison Portland Cement Co. (EPCCo) was organized on April 15, 1899, and incorporated in the State of New Jersey on June 7, 1899. It controlled the American and Canadian rights to Edison's patents and to machinery relating to the manufacture of cement. Edison was the company's first general manager until 1907, when he succeeded William H. Shelmerdine, a Philadelphia businessman, as president. In the following year Edison resumed the office of general manager and Robert H. Thompson, a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of corrugated steel products, became the company's president. In 1909 Edison was elected chairman of the board of directors. Walter S. Mallory, the founding vice president, succeeded Thompson as president in 1910. Other company officers included William H. Pilling, John F. Randolph, and Harry F. Miller, who served successively as treasurer; and Theron I. Crane, Willard P. Reid, and William E. Horne, who each served as secretary.
During the period October 1899-August 1900 Edison constructed a full-size kiln at his laboratory in West Orange to demonstrate his ideas to the company's investors. In the early 1900s a site for the large-scale quarrying of rock and the production of cement was acquired at Stewartsville, New Jersey. Located approximately forty-five miles west of West Orange, the site was known as New Village. In March 1903, late in the construction phase, a fire at the works destroyed the coal grinding plant and killed at least nine employees, including chief engineer Edward A. Darling. His assistant, William H. Mason, then became plant superintendent. He later invented the hardboard-product known as Masonite.
The Stewartsville plant entered production by November 1903. Edison, who had supervised the design and construction of EPCCo's works, also oversaw its manufacturing activities. He analyzed trouble spots, experimented further with machinery and production methods, and directed changes at the plant. In the first years the product was sold through Pilling & Crane of Philadelphia, but by 1906 the sales function was integrated within EPCCo's administration. The company operated sales offices in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, as well as in several southern states, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In 1908 EPCCo also exchanged rights to cement patents with the manufacturers' pool headed by the North American Portland Cement Co. In December 1931 the company was renamed the Edison Cement Corp. and became a subsidiary of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
The records are arranged in seven series: (1) Corporate Files; (2) Minutes; (3) Legal Records; (4) Plant Operations; (5) Financial Records; (6) Letterbooks [not selected]; and (7) Promotional Material [not selected].
A finding aid for the archival record group is available at the Edison National Historical Park. Related documents can be found in the Notebook Series, Document File Series, and Richard W. Kellow and Harry F. Miller Files (Legal Series), as well as in the Edison Ore Milling Syndicate, Ltd., Records (Company Records Series). The New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works Records (Thomas A. Edison Papers, Part III (1887-1898)) also contains documents relating to the Edison Portland Cement Co.
Corporate Files. These records cover the period 1899-1928, with most of the documents dating from 1899-1912. They relate primarily to the activities of company officers and senior managers. Included are correspondence and other documents dealing with the organization, operations, and finances of EPCCo. There are items pertaining to cement production, sales, chemical analyses, quarrying, and product quality. Some of the documents relate to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works and the Edison Crushing Roll Co.
Minutes. These records cover the period 1899-1931. The subjects covered include the election and resignation of officers; the appointment of managers and sales representatives; reports by senior officers and managers; corporate reorganizations; company finances; and the construction, operations, and capacity of the Stewartsville works.
Legal Records. These records cover the period 1899-1928, with most of the documents dating from 1899-1904. They consist of correspondence, agreements, meeting announcements, and other documents relating to incorporation and financial matters. A few of the documents are written or signed by Edison or bear his marginalia. Included are copies of the company's certificate of incorporation and bylaws; a draft of Edison's report to the stockholders' meeting of April 14, 1903; and a draft of the agreement executed with Edison on June 9, 1899. Other items concern the decisions in 1904 to double the output of the Stewartsville works and to issue a mortgage bond. Also included is material pertaining to an increase in capital stock in 1907.
Plant Operations. These records cover the period 1899-1918. They consist of unbound notes, lists, drawings, calculations, correspondence, reports, notebooks, and pocket notebooks. The records relate primarily to the design and operations of the Stewartsville works. Included are documents dealing with work assignments, output, and costs. A few items concern the employment of Edison's crushing technologies by other enterprises. The records are arranged in four groups: (1) General; (2) Reports; (3) Notebooks; and (4) Pocket Notebooks.
Financial Records. These records cover the period 1899-1912 and consist of five general ledger books summarizing transactions relating to the cement works at Stewartsville; company offices in Philadelphia and in Camden, New Jersey; and the model of Edison's concrete house at the West Orange laboratory.
Letterbooks [not selected]. These four letterbooks cover the period March 1908-February 1917. They contain outgoing correspondence written by the company's treasurer, primarily during the tenure of Harry F. Miller. The letters deal mainly with the routine administration of financial matters, such as requests for signatures, disbursements and expenditures, the distribution of stock, and calls for payments on coupons. Included are letters of transmittal relating to the receipt of checks and the proceeds of notes, as well as correspondence pertaining to purchases, accounts, and prices. The books are numbered and indexed.
Promotional Material [not selected]. These records cover the period 1910-1923. They include clippings, sales brochures, scrapbooks, advertisements, and photographs.