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The loose technical notes and drawings constituting this collection relate to a variety of subjects, including the phonograph, electric lighting and power, ore milling, batteries, the kinetoscope, telegraphy, telephony, and x-rays. There are also documents pertaining to various other projects, such as a proposed cotton picker. Many of the notes and drawings are by Edison. There is also material by Charles Batchelor, Arthur E. Kennelly, John F. Ott, and other associates, as well as notes by various laboratory experimenters, including Jonas Walter Aylsworth, John Joseph Force, H. De Coursey Hamilton, and Joseph W. Harris. Numerous drawings from 1887 and 1888 are signed by Mina Miller Edison as a witness. Some of the notes and drawings carry inscriptions indicating that they were used in the preparation of caveats and patent applications. Other items, such as the series of kinetoscope drawings at the beginning of the "Undated Notes and Drawings, ca. 1888" folder, are also closely related to material in the Patent Series. Approximately 80 percent of the documents have been selected.
The notes and drawings are arranged in the following order: (1) dated notes and drawings; (2) undated notes and drawings; (3) oversize notes and drawings.
Dated notes and drawings covering the periods 1887-1892 and 1895-1898 are arranged in chronological order. Also included in this series are undated items that seem to be continuations of dated entries, as well as related undated material (often pinned together with the dated documents).
Undated notes and drawings, prior to their reorganization, were generally filed in the Document File under an attributed year. Undated material that was probably generated within the year of attribution, along with other items that present no compelling evidence of being misfiled, are arranged according to the attributed year. Within each attributed year, documents by Edison and his closest associates and those items with the clearest experimental context appear first. Those documents for which no specific year can be reasonably conjectured appear at the end of the series.
Oversize notes and drawings are items that were too large to be reproduced at the standard reduction ratio of 14:1. The dated documents appear first, followed by the undated items.