[The following note describes a series of volumes and has no documents attached to it. For that reason, a "no Documents found" message will appear if the "List Documents" button at the bottom of the note is used. To see the documents in the volumes described here, use the "Which Series Notes?" button to enter the Series Notes or use the "Next Text" button to move to the first item in the series.]
Volumes 8-18, covering the period 1875-1879, are collections of unbound notebooks relating to etheric force, acoustic and multiple telegraphy, the telephone, phonograph, electromotograph, and electric light, as well as a few other subjects. The documents are identified by page/volume numbers written on the back of each page, often in red and blue pencil. The notebook page number appears below each document.
Most of the drawings and notes were originally made in soft-cover tablet notebooks. Edison's staff subsequently removed the pages from the tablet notebooks so that material relating to the same subjects could be gathered together and so that tracings could be made. Numbers in the upper left corners of some of the pages indicate that tracings were made for those pages. (See Edison's testimony, Telephone Interferences, Litigation Series.)
The page/volume numbers were probably assigned in 1880, after the Patent Office declared Edison's telephone patent applications to be in interference with those of Alexander Graham Bell, Elisha Gray, and several other inventors. In letters of February 16, 1880, and April 1, 1880, Edison's patent attorney, Lemuel Serrell, suggested that one of Edison's assistants "sort out the drawings and evidence according to date" and "lay out all matters relating to Telephones." Serrell would then go over the material with Edison and "number and list the drawings."
The drawings and notes that were taken from Volumes 9-15 for use as exhibits in the telephone interferences were probably never returned to Edison and are not at the Edison National Historical Park (ENHP). However, facsimiles do appear in the printed record of Edison's exhibits. (See Telephone Interferences, Volume 2, Litigation Series.) In some instances when an item was removed, a note recording the page number, the interference, and the date was prepared and inserted into the sequence. By correlating the numbered drawings and notes at the ENHP with the exhibits in the printed record, it is possible to reconstruct nearly the complete numerical sequence of Volumes 8-18.
Although the drawings and notes used as exhibits were intended to establish the priority of Edison's work on the telephone, material relating to the phonograph also appears in the exhibit volume. Readers interested in the development of the phonograph should examine this volume along with other documents relating to the phonograph.
Other notebooks at the ENHP may at one time have been considered part of this series. There are bound notebooks among the Miscellaneous Shop and Laboratory Notebooks that are labeled "Vol.2" and "Vol.5" (Cat. 30,094, Cat. 30,095). Another bound notebook (Cat. 1175) may have been Edison's Volume 7. Its pages contain penciled page/volume numbers similar to those in this series. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.