This folder consists primarily of correspondence and other documents relating to Edison's role as a procurer, manufacturer and supplier of benzol, carbolic acid, toluol, and other chemicals in the wake of shortages caused by World War I. Included is correspondence with U.S. government officials, representatives of the chemical industry, and industrialists such as Samuel Insull and Charles Schwab. Many of the documents, including several letters to and from the Du Pont Co., pertain to Edison's efforts to procure benzol for the production of his phonograph records. There is also correspondence with the U.S. State Dept. and congressional leaders regarding attempts to persuade the British to lift their prohibition against the export of carbolic acid. Edison employees appearing in the documents include chief engineer Miller Reese Hutchison; chemical engineer H. H. Meno Kammerhoff, who was put in charge of the phenol (synthetic carbolic acid) plant constructed in September 1914; and Edison's personal assistant William H. Meadowcroft, who oversaw most of the chemical sales. Related documents that were glued together by Edison's secretaries, such as the Du Pont correspondence, are arranged according to the date of the first item.
Approximately 60 percent of the documents have been selected, including all material reflecting Edison's direct involvement. Among the items not selected are routine requests for price quotes on benzol, phenol, toluol, and other chemicals, along with proposals for business arrangements with various companies that were ultimately not pursued. Related material can be found in the Harry F. Miller File -- Chemical Contracts and in the Chemical Production Records. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.