Part IV: Series Notes
The small vertical arrows () on this page link back to the top of the "Contents" page. The link on each series and subseries title leads to the appropriate series or subseries title on the "Volume/Folder List" page. Those titles, as well as the titles of the individual volumes and folders, are linked to their appropriate editorial descriptions ("targets"). The small horizontal arrows () next to the series and subseries titles on the "Volume/Folder List" pages lead back to the appropriate series or subseries on the "Contents" page. Because the "Volume/Folder List" pages for Parts II-V are quite large, they are each divided into sets of three. The boxes at the top and bottom of each "Volume/Folder List" page enable users to easily move from one page to another.
- Notebook Series
- West Orange Laboratory Records Series
- Patent Series
- Document File Series
- General Letterbook Series
- Company Records Series
- Primary Printed Series
- Scrapbook Series
- Unbound Clippings Series
- Family Records Series
- Legal Series
- Special Collections Series
- Supplement to Parts I, II, And III
|NOTEBOOK SERIES (REELS 163-179)|
- NOTEBOOKS BY EDISON
- These standard-size (6" x 9") books contain notes, drawings, and calculations regarding phonographs, phonograph records, storage batteries, cement, ore supplies and processing, motion pictures, and other subjects. In addition to experimental research notes, there are occasional partial drafts of patent applications, lists of projects to complete, and items relating to Edison's plans for the laboratory or manufacturing sites, as well as speculative observations concerning electricity, acoustics, electromagnetic radiation, and thermodynamics. Although most of the entries in these books are by Edison, there are a few by associates such as Francis R. Upton and laboratory employees such as Otto Groethe, Ludwig F. Ott, and Alexander N. Pierman.
- NOTEBOOKS BY EDISON AND OTHER EXPERIMENTERS
- These standard-size (6" x 9") books were used by Edison and other experimenters. The entries in the initial notebooks in many of the groups are mainly by Edison, whereas the later books, generated after the pattern of tests had been established, record the work of other experimenters. Most of the notebooks belong to groups of numbered storage battery books. In addition, there is one group of notebooks pertaining to the composition of phonograph record blanks and another group containing the results of ore assays. Among the Edison employees whose work is represented in these books are Ralph Arbogast, Charles Dally, Ignacy Goldstein, Otto Groethe, O. A. Rogers, and Ademor N. Petit.
- NOTEBOOKS BY EXPERIMENTERS OTHER THAN EDISON
- These standard-size (6" x 9") books were used primarily at the West Orange laboratory, although some contain work performed at other locations, including the Edison Storage Battery Co. The books consist of notes, drawings, tables, and calculations regarding a variety of subjects, including storage batteries, cement, and phonographs. In addition, there are records of tasks done at the chemical laboratory within the West Orange complex. Among the Edison employees whose work is represented in these books are Ralph Arbogast, Alvin D. Caskey, Cloyd M. Chapman, Ignacy Goldstein, Walter E. Holland, John F. Ott, Ludwig F. Ott, John C. Shengle, and Francis R. Upton. The books contain occasional notations and drawings by Edison that indicate his attention to the work performed.
- POCKET NOTEBOOKS
- These notebooks, which generally measure 3" or 4" in one direction and 6" or 7" in the other, contain notes, drawings, and calculations by Edison relating to a variety of topics, including storage batteries, phonographs and phonograph records, cement, x-ray tubes, and other experimental apparatus. Most of the entries describe experiments or other matters to be undertaken at the West Orange laboratory. There are also some speculative notes concerning electricity, acoustics, electromagnetic radiation, and thermodynamics.
- MISCELLANEOUS NOTEBOOKS
- These ten notebooks served primarily as clean copy records, into which experimental plans and results were transcribed or in which data was tabulated. Three notebooks used by Edison during the period 1902-1904 contain compilations and transcriptions of notes and drawings on numerous topics, including batteries, electromotographs, phonographs, telephones, and other apparatus. There are also references to experiments involving chemistry, electricity, magnetism, radiation, and thermodynamics. Six notebooks used by experimenters other than Edison during the period 1904-1911 consist of graphs representing the performance of batteries. Another notebook, used by Edison in 1907, contains tests on the solubility of lithium compounds.
- UNBOUND NOTES AND DRAWINGS
- These loose items relate to a variety of subjects, including the development, manufacture, and use of storage batteries, phonographs, and phonograph records. Also included is material pertaining to experiments with various chemical processes, acoustic and electromagnetic devices, concrete construction, and the development of a synchronous-play phonograph and kinetoscope called the kinetophone. Many of the items are by Edison. There is also material by John F. Ott, George E. Small, Albert F. Wurth, and other employees.
|WEST ORANGE LABORATORY RECORDS SERIES (REELS 180-183)|
The West Orange Laboratory Record Series is composed of bound volumes, loose correspondence, unbound drawings, and account books that deal mainly with administrative operations at the laboratory complex.
- These books contain material regarding the administration of experimental projects, pattern work done in connection with laboratory projects, assays of ore samples, orders of equipment for the laboratory, and inventory and supplies. Among the individuals whose work appears in these books are Edison, Robert A. Bachman, Alvin D. Caskey, George A. Meister, John F. Ott, and Ludwig F. Ott. Much of the material is by unidentified storekeepers and office personnel.
- These two letterbooks contain documents illustrating the progress of construction at the Edison Portland Cement Co., the design and construction of molds for Edison's poured concrete house, and the purchase and repair of automobiles used to test Edison's storage battery.
- These books contain records of experimental and operating costs, Edison's royalties and investments, and other personal and business accounts.
- EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
- The unbound correspondence, trade circulars, and other loose documents in this subseries relate to the purchase of equipment and supplies for the laboratory and other Edison interests. In most cases the information or materials were requested on Edison's behalf by members of his laboratory staff. A small group of items indicates his direct oversight of individual requests or purchases.
- OVERSIZE DRAWINGS
- These three blueprints by James W. Knoblock are ground plans for the Edison Phonograph Works and the laboratory complex in West Orange. Included on each plan is an index to the numbers and names of many of the buildings. The blueprints appear with the oversize material from the Notebook Series.
|PATENT SERIES (REELS 183-186)|
- CAVEAT FILES
- Although Edison filed numerous caveats (preliminary patent applications) during the 1870s and 1880s, there is only one extant caveat from the period 1899-1910. Executed on November 27, 1907, it is entitled "Cement Buildings and Process of Constructing the Same."
- PATENT APPLICATION FILES
- These files consist of formal patent applications, along with correspondence between Edison's attorneys and the U.S. Patent Office. Some of the folders also contain notes and drawings by Edison; draft specifications in Edison's hand and other specifications with Edison notations; memoranda from Edison to his patent attorneys; and related correspondence authored by or sent to Edison, his associates, and his companies. Included are applications pertaining to phonographs and phonograph records, motion pictures, storage batteries, ore milling, cement, and concrete buildings. There are also a few applications relating to electric lighting, telephones, telegraphs, and other subjects such as "flying machines." Another set of application files for Edison's U.S. patents can be found in the National Archives (Record Group 241, Records of the Patent Office) and is available on microfilm.
- PATENT APPLICATION BOOK
- This small looseleaf binder, which was compiled by or for Frank D. Lewis of the Legal Department, contains information about patent applications. The applicants include Edison, Jonas W. Aylsworth, Frank L. Dyer, Miller Reese Hutchison, Alexander N. Pierman, and other employees, as well as outside parties under obligation to Edison or to one of his companies. Each entry provides the name of the applicant, application date, serial and folio numbers, and a brief summary of the specification.
|DOCUMENT FILE SERIES (REELS 186-196)|
| 1899 1900
1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910
The Document File is primarily a collection of incoming letters addressed to Edison. The letters frequently contain notations by Edison or his secretaries indicating the nature of the reply. Drafts and copies of outgoing letters can also be found in this file, along with a variety of other documents, such as memoranda, reports, and agreements.
The Document File for 1899-1910 contains a substantially larger amount of non-Edison correspondence than for earlier years. For example, there are numerous letters addressed to William E. Gilmore, who served until 1908 as president of the National Phonograph Co. and the Bates Manufacturing Co., as vice president of the Edison Manufacturing Co., and as general manager of the Edison Phonograph Works. In addition, there are numerous interoffice communications and carbon copies of Gilmore's outgoing correspondence. Many of the folders for 1908-1910 contain items from the office files of Frank L. Dyer, general counsel of the Legal Department, who succeeded Gilmore as the head of Edison's enterprises in July 1908. There are also letters to and from Edison's secretaries John F. Randolph and his successor, Harry F. Miller and other company and laboratory employees.
Many of the letters relate to the technical and commercial development of phonographs, motion pictures, and storage batteries. There are also items concerning the legal and financial dealings of the Edison companies, particularly the Edison Manufacturing Co. and the Edison Phonograph Works. Among the phonograph-related items are descriptions of the Works, memoranda regarding experimentation and model changes, and correspondence involving protracted litigation over sales rights. The material on motion pictures includes references to production and marketing, copyright and censorship issues, and experimentation with colored film and talking pictures. The battery-related correspondence pertains to the technical development and the domestic and foreign exploitation of Edison's alkaline storage battery, which he introduced in 1901 and continued to improve throughout the decade. Included are items regarding possible applications of the cells, particularly in automobiles and other electric vehicles. In addition, there are letters and other documents concerning the New Jersey Patent Co., a patent-holding company organized in 1903; the increasing centralization of Edison's businesses under the administrative aegis of the Legal Department and the Manufacturing and Executive Committees; and the formation of business associations or pools with the Edison Portland Cement Co.'s competitors and with motion picture producers and distributors.
During the period 1899-1910 Edison received an increasing number of unsolicited letters from aspiring inventors, individuals seeking autographs or charitable contributions, and others writing in response to published accounts of Edison's inventions, opinions, or experiences. Edison responded to some of these letters with marginal notations, in which he expresses his views on topics such as religion and spiritualism, hearing impairment, aviation and aerial navigation, and wireless telegraphy. Other marginal responses indicate his plans for a poured concrete house and his recollections of the details of his early years. In addition, there are items from clubs and societies to which Edison belonged or which tried to interest him in their activities, along with letters from journalists, entrepreneurs, and organizers of expositions and trade shows. Edison also received a substantial amount of correspondence from the general public as a result of his solicitations for information about the location of gold dry placer mines (1901-1904) and inexpensive supplies of cobalt ore (1906-1907).
There are also some letters relating to Edison's personal finances and family affairs. The "Edison, T.A.Family" folders contain numerous letters about the personal and financial difficulties of Edison's sons Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and William Leslie Edison, as well as the interests and activities of his second wife, Mina Miller Edison, and other members of his immediate and extended family. The "Glenmont" and "Fort Myers" folders contain items pertaining to Edison's home in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, and his winter home in Florida.
The items in the Document File are arranged by year and are subdivided within each year according to broad subject categories. Many of those categories relate to technologies such as phonographs, storage batteries, and motion pictures. Documents that deal with more than one subject or that do not fall under any of the technology categories are filed in "Edison, T.A.General." Researchers interested in a particular topic should always consult "Edison, T.A.General" and the various other "General" folders in addition to more specific subcategories relating to their interests.
Incoming correspondence and other unbound documents can also be found in other series in the microfilm and digital editions. See, particularly, the Company Records Series, Legal Series, and Special Collections Series.
|GENERAL LETTERBOOK SERIES (REELS 196-198)|
These letterbooks contain tissue copies of Edison's correspondence. Although there are occasional letters in Edison's hand, most of his manuscript correspondence is in the hand of John F. Randolph or Harry F. Miller, acting as his secretary. Retained copies of Edison's typewritten letters are frequently signed or initialed by one of his secretaries.
Many of the letters relate to ore mining and milling and to the erection and operation of Edison's cement plant in Stewartsville, New Jersey. Some letters pertain to iron ore concentration in the Dunderland region of Norway, in connection with the Edison Ore Milling Syndicate, Ltd., while others concern Edison's plans for gold ore concentration at the Ortiz mine in New Mexico. There are also letters regarding the business and financial requirements of the Edison Portland Cement Co., including correspondence pertaining to royalties collected by the Edison Crushing Roll Co. and to Edison's search for markets for his cement. In addition, there are numerous items relating to the planning, design, and production of molds and patterns for use in the construction of the Edison concrete house, which was intended as affordable housing for the working class.
Other letters deal with the development of Edison's alkaline storage battery and the financial and industrial arrangements for its manufacture and distribution in the United States and abroad. Included is correspondence discussing technical difficulties that led to the shutdown of the battery factory in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, in 1905. Additional documents describe ongoing progress on the improved storage battery and its proposed use in automobiles, trucks, submarines, and streetcars. Other documents deal with the domestic and foreign phonograph business, the motion picture business, Edison's experiments with x-rays, personnel matters, and legal concerns.
Among the many letters relating to Edison's personal and family affairs are items pertaining to his health, diet, and sleeping habits; his opinions and prejudices on a variety of social, religious, political, and economic issues; the activities of his children, particularly Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and William Leslie Edison; his membership in clubs and societies; his book and journal orders; his charitable donations; improvements at Glenmont; and the upkeep of his winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.
Other letterbooks can be found in many of the collections in the Company Records Series, including the records of the Edison Ore Milling Syndicate, Ltd.; the Edison Storage Battery Co.; and the National Phonograph Co. Unbound tissue copies of outgoing correspondence and interoffice memoranda can be found in the Document File Series and in most of the company record groups.
|COMPANY RECORDS SERIES (REELS 198-219)|
This series contains correspondence, interoffice memoranda, account books, minute books, letterbooks, and other records pertaining to the operations of Edison's companies. Among the companies incorporated during the period 1899-1910 were the Edison Manufacturing Co., Edison Portland Cement Co., and Edison Storage Battery Co. Edison companies conducting business abroad during these years included the foreign department, branches, and subsidiaries of the National Phonograph Co.; the Mining Exploration Co. of New Jersey; and the Edison Ore Milling Syndicate, Ltd. The records of many of these companies extend beyond 1910, and in most cases selections have been made from the entire record group and not merely from the records generated during the years 1899-1910. Edison company records can also be found in the Document File Series in folders such as "Edison Crushing Roll Company," "Edison Manufacturing Company," "Legal Department," and "PhonographEdison Business Phonograph Company." Printed promotional material generated by Edison's companies can be found in the Primary Printed Series
- COMPAGNIE FRANÇAISE DU PHONOGRAPHE EDISON
- These records consist of correspondence, minutes, and financial documents. Included are items pertaining to the organization of the company in 1904, its leadership and facilities, and its dissolution in 1924. Related correspondence can be found in the National Phonograph Company Records.
- EDISON MANUFACTURING COMPANY
- These records consist of account books and other financial documents pertaining to the production and sale of primary batteries, motion picture films and equipment, phonoplex circuits, and other items manufactured and marketed by the Edison Manufacturing Co. Correspondence relating to the business of the company can be found in the Document File Series and in the Motion Picture Patents Company Records.
- EDISON ORE MILLING SYNDICATE, LTD., AND RELATED COMPANIES
- Edison Ore Milling Syndicate, Ltd., Files
- These records consist of correspondence, reports, agreements, financial statements, ore analyses, and legal opinions pertaining to the planning, organization, capitalization, operations, and failure of the Syndicate. Included are items relating to mining surveys, magnetic separation, and briquetting, as well as the cost, design, and operations of the Syndicate's iron concentration plant in the Dunderland region of Norway. Some of the letters concern the inspection of Edison's technologies at the New Jersey Zinc Co. and the Edison Portland Cement Co. Also included is material regarding the development of Edison's cement patents in Europe; the marketing of his storage battery abroad; and the promotion of his ore separation process in an Australian gold enterprise.
- Dunderland Iron Ore Company, Ltd., Files
- These records consist of correspondence, reports, proceedings, promotional material, and other documents relating to the development, operation, liquidation, and revival of the ore milling project at Dunderland. There are also documents concerning Edison's briquetting experiments, interviews with Edison at the West Orange laboratory, and inspections of his cement works at Stewartsville, New Jersey.
- Standard Construction Corporation, Ltd., Files
- These records consist of correspondence, articles of association, proceedings from shareholders' meetings, and other documents relating to the role of the Standard Construction Corporation, Ltd., as the engineering contractor for the iron concentration plant at Dunderland. There is also material concerning operations at the Edison Portland Cement Co.
- Bound Volumes
- These records consist of letterbooks, experimental notebooks, and other bound items relating primarily to the design and construction of the iron concentration plant at Dunderland. There is also material pertaining to ore experiments, storage batteries, and operations at the cement works in Stewartsville.
- EDISON PHONOGRAPH WORKS
- These records consist of account books and other financial documents relating to the manufacture of phonographs, phonograph records, projecting kinetoscopes, Bates numbering machines, and other Edison products.
- EDISON PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY
- Corporate Files
- These records consist of correspondence and other documents dealing with the organization, operations, and finances of the company. Included are items pertaining to cement production, sales, chemical analyses, quarrying, and product quality. Some of the documents relate to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works and the Edison Crushing Roll Co.
- These minute books contain entries relating to the election and resignation of officers; the appointment of managers and sales representatives; corporate reorganizations; company finances; and the construction, operations, and capacity of the cement works at Stewartsville, New Jersey. Also included are copies of reports by senior officers and managers.
- Legal Records
- These records consist of correspondence, agreements, meeting announcements, and other documents relating to incorporation and financial matters. Included are copies of the company's certificate of incorporation and bylaws.
- Plant Operations
- These records consist of unbound notes, lists, drawings, calculations, correspondence, reports, notebooks, and pocket notebooks. They relate primarily to the design and operations of the Stewartsville works. Included are documents dealing with work assignments, output, and costs. A few items concern the employment of Edison's crushing technologies by other enterprises.
- Financial Records
- These records consist of five general ledger books summarizing transactions relating to the cement works at Stewartsville; company offices in Philadelphia and in Camden, New Jersey; and the model of Edison's concrete house at the West Orange laboratory.
- EDISON-SAUNDERS COMPRESSED AIR COMPANY
- These records consist of minutes from the first stockholders meeting, held on April 24, 1899. Included are copies of letters from Edison, William L. Saunders, and the Ingersoll-Sergeant Drill Co. The correspondence pertains to the assignment of Edison's patent for reheating compressed air and Saunders's patented method for improving the efficiency of motor fluids.
- EDISON STORAGE BATTERY COMPANY
- Administrative Records
- These records consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence, memoranda, agreements, and other material pertaining to the administration of the company. Included are items relating to corporate finance; the construction of the chemical manufacturing plant at Silver Lake, New Jersey; the supply and performance of "E" cells; domestic and foreign sales; relations with manufacturers of electric vehicles; and Edison's search for an inexpensive supply of cobalt ore.
- Financial Records
- These records consist of ledgers, journals, and unbound statements. Included are accounts with individuals and suppliers, as well as payroll, experimental, real estate, sales, and departmental accounts.
- Plant Operations and Research Records
- These records consist of unbound and bound material relating to operations at the company's factories and to research and development done on behalf of the company by its own Research Department and by Edison's West Orange laboratory.
- Sales Records
- These records consist of reports, correspondence, and printed material pertaining to the sales organization of the Edison Storage Battery Co. and to relations with the Edison Storage Battery Supply Co. and Miller Reese Hutchison, Inc.
- MINING EXPLORATION COMPANY OF NEW JERSEY AND RELATED RECORDS
- Corporate Documentation
- These records consist of articles of incorporation, bylaws, resolutions and minutes, agreements, licenses, correspondence, notes, and trial balances. Also included is a statement of Edison's assets and liabilities at the time of his death and other items relating to Edison's estate.
- Thomas A. Edison Files
- These records consist of notes and drawings in Edison's hand, correspondence addressed to him, and prospecting reports. The documents relate primarily to Edison's interest in securing sources of nickel and cobalt for use in storage batteries. Much of the correspondence pertains to the administration of Edison's mining properties in the Sudbury and Nipissing districts of Ontario. There are also letters concerning property in Oregon, Connecticut, and elsewhere.
- John V. Miller Files
- These records consist of correspondence, reports, legal documents, equipment inventories, and other items relating primarily to Miller's role as agent of the Mining Exploration Company. Included are documents pertaining to drilling operations, mining rights, and land leases, along with others dealing with expenses, equipment, and taxes. The material from the period after 1904 relates mainly to efforts to sell or option the Darby Mine, a cobalt-bearing property in Ontario, and other Edison properties.
- These letterbooks contain tissue copies of outgoing correspondence, mostly written by John V. Miller. There are also letters by other company officials, including Edison, Walter S. Mallory, and John F. Randolph. Most of the correspondence relates to leases, prospecting, equipment, and expenses. Also included are items pertaining to company finances.
- Field Operations Records
- These records consist of notebooks relating to mining surveys and drilling operations in Ontario, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and other locations.
- Financial Records
- These records consist of a ledger and a journal. Included are entries pertaining to the accounts of Edison, John V. Miller, and investors James Gaunt and Charles M. Schwab.
- MOTION PICTURE PATENTS COMPANY
- Administrative Records
- These records consist of correspondence and other documents, including agreements, minutes, announcements, and financial statements. Many of the documents relate to license agreements involving the Edison Manufacturing Co. and other motion picture manufacturers and exhibitors. Also included are items pertaining to the federal government's antitrust suit against the Motion Picture Patents Co. and other litigation involving the company.
- These records consist of correspondence, clippings, and other documents. Many of the documents relate to competition between the licensed and independent film exchanges.
- General Film Company
- These records consist of correspondence and other documents, including financial statements, circulars, agreements, minutes, and clippings. The material pertains to the administration and dissolution of the General Film Co. and to the related interests of the Edison Manufacturing Co. and Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Included are items dealing with censorship and film criticism.
- Licensed Manufacturers
- These records consist of correspondence, agreements, and other documents. The letters are primarily to and from officials and representatives of the manufacturers licensed by the Motion Picture Patents Co. The documents concern contract negotiations, litigation, royalties, and censorship. There are also items pertaining to nonflammable film and waterproofed film.
- NATIONAL PHONOGRAPH COMPANY
- These records consist of correspondence and other unbound documents. The "domestic" folders contain items relating to the manufacture, distribution, and sale of phonographs and sound recordings in the United States. Also included are documents dealing with litigation, patents, and other legal matters. The "foreign" folders contain items pertaining to the London-based National Phonograph Co., Ltd., and to French, German, and other European-based sales and manufacturing companies loosely controlled from London. Also included are letters regarding the Foreign Department, a New York-based department established in 1900 to deal with non-European markets for phonographs and other Edison products.
- Foreign Department Letterbooks
- These letterbooks contain tissue copies of outgoing correspondence generated by Walter Stevens, manager of the Foreign Department, and his assistant manager, Louis Reichert. The letters in the first three books pertain to the foreign sale of phonographs, recordings, motion pictures, numbering machines, storage batteries, and other Edison products. Most of the correspondence in the fourth book concerns storage batteries.
- Financial Records
- These records consist of bound ledgers and journals and unbound statements. Some of the entries pertain to accounts with the Edison Manufacturing Co., Edison Phonograph Co., Edison Phonograph Works, New Jersey Patent Co., and Ott Manufacturing Co. Also included are accounts with the National Phonograph Co., Ltd., in London; the Compagnie Française du Phonographe Edison in Paris; and the Edison Gesellschaft in Berlin.
|PRIMARY PRINTED SERIES (REELS 219-220)|
This series contains printed documents issued by Edison and non-Edison companies. Included are promotional brochures, official reports, instruction manuals, catalogs, lists of equipment and devices, and reprints of scholarly papers. Also included are serial publications issued during the period 1899-1910 by the Edison Business Phonograph Co., Edison Manufacturing Co., Edison Portland Cement Co., and National Phonograph Co. Sample issues of each serial publication have been filmed with the exception of Tips and the Edison Phonograph Monthly, for which longer runs have been selected. Additional printed material can be found in the National Phonograph Company Records, Edison Storage Battery Company Records, and other record groups in the Company Records Series.
|SCRAPBOOK SERIES (REEL 221)|
This scrapbook contains articles about Edison's alkaline storage battery by former associate Arthur E. Kennelly and by electrochemist Eugene F. Roeber, along with other battery-related material from the Electrical Review, Electrical World and Engineer, Western Electrician, and New York Tribune.
|UNBOUND CLIPPINGS SERIES (REEL 221)|
These clippings, most of which were sent to Edison by clippings services, are primarily from newspapers and popular magazines, although some are from trade publications, technical journals, and other printed sources. Included are items relating to the personnel, activities, and legal affairs of Edison's various companies, as well as articles about phonographs, phonograph records, motion pictures, and storage batteries. There are also clippings concerning Edison's cement plant at Stewartsville, New Jersey; his plans for a poured concrete house; and his efforts to develop a combined phonograph and motion picture machine and a process for the exploitation of dry placer gold claims. Also included are items relating to the suicide of Edison's secretary John F. Randolph; a kidnaping threat against his daughter Madeleine; the marriages of his sons Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and William Leslie Edison; and the travel, property holdings, and recreational activities of Edison and his family. Some of the articles bearing an Edison by-line were probably prepared for him by his associates, and some are the result of interviews with journalists at the West Orange laboratory.
|FAMILY RECORDS SERIES (REEL 221)|
This series contains correspondence, financial records, and other documents relating to the members of the Edison and Miller families. Most of the items pertain to the activities and interests of Edison's second wife, Mina Miller Edison, and to the maintenance of Glenmont, the Edison home in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey.
|LEGAL SERIES (REELS 222-226)|
This series consists of correspondence, printed litigation records, case files, agreements, and other legal documents. Documents of a legal or quasi-legal nature also appear in other series on the microfilm. The Document File Series includes numerous agreements between Edison and other parties, along with memoranda by Edison regarding proposed contracts; correspondence between Edison and his attorneys; and material relating to the formation and activities of the Legal Department. Corporate documentation and other material of a legal nature, including correspondence and other items pertaining to the progress of litigation, can also be found in the Company Records Series.
- HARRY F. MILLER FILE
- This file consists primarily of contracts and agreements, assignments and licenses, and other legal documents. There is also a letterbook covering the years 1907-1916, along with unbound memoranda, correspondence, and financial documents. The material relates primarily to phonographs, ore milling, and batteries, as well as to Edison's personal and corporate finances. Included are agreements and other items pertaining to the Edison Manufacturing Co., Edison Phonograph Works, Edison Portland Cement Co., National Phonograph Co., and other Edison companies. Also included are agreements and other documents concerning the commercial use of Edison's name by Thomas A. Edison, Jr., and others.
- RICHARD W. KELLOW FILE
- This file consists primarily of agreements and correspondence. Included are items pertaining to the corporate identity and the finances of the Edison Portland Cement Co. and the Edison-Saunders Compressed Air Co. There are also documents relating to real estate, insurance, and royalty agreements and to the sale and promotion of storage batteries and electric vehicles.
- LEGAL DEPARTMENT RECORDS
- These records consist of correspondence, patent interference files, litigation case files, agreements, and other documents relating to the activities of the Legal Department, a centralized office for the consideration of legal matters involving Edison and his companies.
- These records consist of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating primarily to the protection of Edison's patents against those of competitors. Included are selections from two case files: one involving a Patent Office hearing on storage battery patents, and the other dealing with infringement suits over primary battery patents.
- These records consist of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to the technical development and commercial exploitation of Edison's cement machinery. Included are documents pertaining to Edison's crushing rolls, which were used in iron ore processing and cement manufacture, and to his invention of a long rotary kiln for making cement.
- Motion Pictures
- These records consist of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to infringements of the patents of other inventors, copyright infringements, the use of trade names, color photography, and the development of a waterproof coating for motion picture films. Also included are items from five patent interference cases involving automatic shutters used in film projectors for fire safety. In addition, there are case files for several suits brought against the Motion Picture Patents Co., the General Film Co., and their licensees by independent motion picture exhibitors and by the federal government.
- These records consist of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to patent interference proceedings and infringement suits, contract disputes, and other legal actions involving Edison's phonograph. Included are items pertaining to the protracted litigation over phonograph sales rights. Also included are documents dealing with musical copyright, corporate organization, embezzlement, and the unlicensed use of Edison's name. Approximately half of the case files relate to litigation involving the National Phonograph Co. or other Edison interests and the American Graphophone Co. or its associated sales company, the Columbia Phonograph Co., General. Other cases deal with the disposition of litigation between Edison and the New York Phonograph Co.; the supply of Edison phonographs to Europe; patent infringement by Path Frres in France; and Mexican copyright law. In addition, there is a case file containing information concerning price maintenance litigation pursued by the National Phonograph Co. and its affiliates.
- Edison's Name
- These records consist of correspondence, court documents, and other items relating to the unlicenced use of Edison's name in the promotion of companies and commercial products. Included are two case files pertaining to the unauthorized use of Edison's name by his son Thomas A. Edison, Jr.
|SPECIAL COLLECTIONS SERIES (REELS 226-227)|
There are a variety of special collections in the archives of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, ranging from single items to substantial groups of personal papers. This series consists of selections from the following three collections: (1) Miller Reese Hutchison Diary; (2) William H. Meadowcroft Papers; and (3) Muckers of the Edison Laboratory.
- MILLER REESE HUTCHISON DIARY
- This collection consists of loose pages of handwritten, transcribed excerpts from the diary of Edison associate Miller Reese Hutchison. The selected items discuss activities at the West Orange laboratory, where Hutchison served briefly as chief engineer, and provide details regarding work with Edison.
- WILLIAM H. MEADOWCROFT PAPERS
- These papers consist primarily of material collected or generated by William H. Meadowcroft during the preparation of the two-volume official biography, Edison: His Life and Inventions, which was published by Harper & Brothers in 1910. Included are reminiscences by Edison and his associates; incoming and outgoing correspondence pertaining to other publications about Edison and to Meadowcroft's personal life and business endeavors; and items concerning electricity and x-rays.
- MUCKERS OF THE EDISON LABORATORY
- These records consist of a minute book and a small amount of unbound material pertaining to the Muckers of the Edison Laboratory, a select, dues-collecting fraternity of employees at the West Orange laboratory.
|SUPPLEMENT TO PARTS I, II, AND III (REELS 227)|
These documents consist of correspondence, notebooks, and loose notes by Edison; technical drawings by unidentified draftsmen; agreements; scrapbooks; unbound clippings; and other items. Some of the documents were misfiled in later years of the Document File and subsequently identified during the editing of Part IV. Other items were uncovered during ongoing archival processing at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park (ENHP). Also included is a letter that was stolen from the ENHP during the 1970s and later recovered. The documents were filmed on the last reel of the Part IV microfilm edition except for oversize notes and drawings, which were filmed with other oversize material at the end of reel 179. They have been integrated into their appropriate places in the digital edition. A more complete description of the contents of the Supplement can be found by clicking on the link above.