This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the procurement, sale, and testing of minerals. Among the items for 1918 are requests to the U.S. Geological Survey and to various state geologists and mineralogists for maps, publications, and information about lithium-bearing deposits in North Dakota, South Dakota, and California. Also included are letters pertaining to the failure of the Spar Chemical Co. to exploit Harry P. Bassett's patents for the economical extraction of potash from feldspar, which led Edison to suspect that the "German potash syndicate in the United States" was deliberately trying to suppress the invention.
In addition, there are references to specific products such as Monel metal (nickel alloy), cobalt, powdered asphaltum, and chalcocite (copper sulphide), as well as inquiries about mineral samples with replies from Edison concerning the material's possible value or use. At the end of the folder are approximately 40 pages of notes by Edison on lithium minerals, mining locations, and extraction processes. The correspondents include naturalist and Edison friend John Burroughs, Ohio State Auditor (and future governor and U.S. senator) A. Victor Donahey, Prof. C. James of New Hampshire College, manufacturing chemist Dr. Herman Reinbold, and South Dakota State Geologist Freeman Ward. Among the correspondents representing the U.S. government are J. Jarvis Butler of the U.S. Navy Dept., H. C. Rizer of the U.S. Geological Survey, and officials at the U.S. Naval Experiment Station in New London, Connecticut.
Approximately 40 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected items include requests for maps and publications; letters of transmittal and acknowledgment; unsolicited business propositions; inquiries about Edison's old statement that paper could be replaced by nickel sheets; and a copy of a U.S. Geological Survey coal production report. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.