This collection consists primarily of letters exchanged between Edison and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, along with related correspondence. Many of the typewritten letters are accompanied by drafts in Edison's hand. The documents in this folder are from July-September 1917. They concern tests of the feasibility of using anthracite (rather than bituminous) coal on steamships in order to reduce smoke emissions and make the ships harder for enemy submarines to detect. A notation on Edison's letter of July 27 indicates that Daniels's acknowledgment of his report was filed with Report 21. The correspondents include Admiral Washington Lee Capps, general manager of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and Edison's chief engineer Miller Reese Hutchison, who conducted tests on Pennsylvania coal from the mines of Lehigh and Scranton on a run between New York City and Philadelphia in August and between New York City and Jacksonville, Florida, in September. An acknowledgment of this report can be found in Daniels's letter to Edison, August 1, 1917, in Report 21. Another copy of Edison's letter of July 27, 1917, with a postscript added at the bottom, can be found in the Josephus Daniels PapersThomas A. Edison Correspondence, Library of Congress. A transcription of this letter appears on pp. 171-172 of Lloyd N. Scott's Naval Consulting Board of the United States. A related letter concerning camouflaging experiments can be found in Report 40.
Other documents pertaining to the anthracite tests conducted by Hutchison can be found in Ship Reports (Anthracite Tests) (1917), Correspondence (August 1917), and Correspondence (September 1917), Naval Consulting Board and Wartime Research Papers. Courtesy of Charles Hummel.