This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the commercial and technical development of Edison's phonograph. Included is material pertaining to the Diamond Disc Phonograph, which was demonstrated at the Boston Electric Show in October 1912 and marketed throughout the United States by the end of the year. Also included are items dealing with the development of Blue Amberol cylinder records, the Edison home recording outfit ("shaving machine"), and the Edison School Phonograph. Among the subjects discussed in the documents are the manufacture of phonographs, cabinets, and records; the evaluation of singers and trial records; contracts with artists; trademarks; and patent interferences. There is also correspondence with Marshall C. Lefferts of the Celluloid Co., along with letters from phonograph enthusiasts and requests or suggestions concerning the improvement and promotion of the phonograph.
In addition to the correspondence, there are drafts of promotional material, technical notes and drawings by Edison, and instructions to members of his technical and administrative staff, including Jonas Walter Aylsworth, Frank K. Dolbeer, Miller Reese Hutchison, Walter H. Miller, Alexander N. Pierman, and Carl H. Wilson. Also included are Edison's copies of interoffice communications, demonstration reports, and minutes from committee meetings of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
The committee minutes appear at the end of the folder in the following order: Executive Committee, Amusement Phonograph Department Committee, Dictating Machine Committee, Manufacturing Committee, and Phonograph Sales and Advertising Committee. Also included are minutes from a meeting of salesmen on December 30, 1912, to discuss the marketing of Diamond Disc phonographs and records. Among the topics discussed in the Executive Committee minutes are the possibility of making voice recordings of presidential contenders Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Champ Clark and the status of the phonograph business in Mexico and Latin America.
Approximately 50 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected material includes unsolicited correspondence with no substantive reply from Edison, letters of transmittal and acknowledgment, memoranda concerning billing procedures, circular letters, and weekly summaries of agreements with disc dealers. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.