These documents cover the years 1910-1928. The authors include Frank A. Wardlaw, secretary of the Edison Pioneers and curator of the historical collection of the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies; former Edison associate William J. Hammer; Edison's personal assistant William H. Meadowcroft; and H. G. Lyons, director of the Science Museum in South Kensington, London. The documents pertain to the original prototype of Edison's tinfoil phonograph, which he had deposited in the South Kensington museum in 1880. Two letters refer to a replica of this phonograph that was made in 1910. The remaining documents relate to the efforts of Wardlaw and Hammer to reacquire the original phonograph, which was finally returned to Edison in October 1928 during the ceremony in which he also received a Congressional medal. In addition to correspondence, the documents include affidavits sworn by Edison and Hammer in 1925 attesting to their belief that the phonograph was in the South Kensington museum as a loan, not a gift. A related itema report describing the museum's acquisition of the phonograph in 1880can be found in the Document File Series.
The correspondence that Edison and his associates exchanged with the Science Museum and other British officials has been selected, along with an account of the return of the phonograph to Edison. Unselected material includes a series of detailed internal memoranda produced by the Science Museum and the British government outlining their views of the case, as well as photocopies of original documents in the Edison National Historical Park archives. Courtesy of the Trustees, Science Museum, London.