This folder, which covers the years 1915-1919, consists primarily of correspondence and related agreements similar to the material in the "Chemicals" folders of the Edison General File Series. Most of the selected items date from 1915 -1916 and pertain to Edison's production and sale of phenol, aniline, and other organic chemicals during World War I. Included are agreements with the Cambria Steel Co. of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the Woodward Iron Co. of Woodward, Alabama, relating to benzol plants, along with correspondence with New York Edison Co. executives Nicholas F. Brady and Thomas E. Murray regarding Brady's investment in the aniline plant built by Edison at Silver Lake, New Jersey. There are also financial agreements and correspondence relating to Edison's purchases of acids and other raw materials and to the sale of his various chemical products. These include benzol purchases from the Dominion Iron & Steel Co. of Nova Scotia, aniline sales brokered by Stanley Doggett, phenol sales to the Picatinny Arsenal, and sales of toluol from the Johnstown benzol plant to the Du Pont Co.
Other subjects include Edison's business dealings with the Japanese firm of Mitsui & Co., issues relating to Heinrich Hirzel's distillation patents, Edison's exhibit at the National Exposition of Chemical Industries in New York City, the disposal of spent acid, and the pricing of benzol. The documents from 1917-1919 concern the decline of profits from chemical sales, the transfer of Edison's privately-owned plants to the Coal Tar Products Division of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., and the conclusion of his partnership with Brady. In addition to Edison's business secretary Harry F. Miller, the correspondents include Edison's personal assistant William H. Meadowcroft, who managed much of the chemical business; Richard W. Kellow, who succeeded Miller as Edison's secretary; and financial executive Stephen B. Mambert.
The documents in the archival record group at the Edison National Historical Park are filed in 118 numbered envelopes. The selected items have been rearranged in chronological order. An item-level finding aid, with the names of all of the companies with whom Edison transacted business, is available.
Approximately 10 percent of the documents have been selected, including all items reflecting Edison personal involvement along with a representative sample of standard sales contracts. The unselected material includes documents relating to shipping instructions, tank cars, and the return of empty drums; standard short-term sales contracts without further substantial information, contracts to purchase raw materials, and contracts that were never implemented; and additional accounting documents from 1918 and 1919 pertaining to ownership of the aniline plant.
Related documents can be found in the Chemical Production Records (Special Collections Series) and in the "Chemicals" folder for each year of the Edison General File Series. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.