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This collection contains legal, business, and technical documents relating to various Edison companies, business associates, and laboratory employees. The selected material, which covers the years 1880-1924, includes correspondence, technical notes and drawings, and other documents pertaining to cement, electric lighting, phonographs, and sound recordings. The correspondents include Edison; William Walter Dinwiddie, a laboratory engineer; Frank L. Dyer, Edison's general counsel; Halbert K. Hitchcock, Edison's brother-in-law and president of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.; and William H. Meadowcroft, Edison's personal assistant.
Much of the correspondence relates to the financial and legal affairs of the Edison Portland Cement Co., including the issuance and transfer of stock and the assignment of patents. Other letters concern electroplating experiments. A laboratory notebook from 1880 contains notes and drawings by John H. Vail relating to electrical connections for dynamos. Another notebook from 1891-1892, which was used by Frank A. Wardlaw, consists primarily of information about Edison standard dynamos and motors. In addition, there are eleven diagrams from 1891-1892 made by the Edison General Electric Co., Chicago, depicting various components of arc lighting systems, including dynamos, connections, regulators, lamps, and brush contacts. Two technical documents from 1893 pertain to Edison bi-polar motors manufactured by General Electric.
Among the items not selected are stock receipts and other routine financial documents relating to the Edison Portland Cement Co.; letters from the Edison Electric Light Co. of Philadelphia regarding the installation of a lighting system at the U.S. Customs House; instructions on running the Edison chemical plant in Johnston, Pennsylvania; numerous inventories of chemicals, possibly from the Johnston plant; a stock certificate book of the Edison Manufacturing Co.; a notebook from 1921 containing a payroll list of laboratory employees; and an advertising booklet for the Edison Phonoplex System. In addition, there are several items pertaining to the Edison Pioneers, an organization of former Edison employees.
The documents are arranged in the following order: (1) Correspondence and Memoranda; (2) Technical Notes and Drawings.
An online finding aid to the archival collection is available. Courtesy of the Wichita State University Libraries.