History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


405701

Thomas A. Edison

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Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931.  Typed Letter Signed in pencil, Edison, one page, 8½” x 11”, on stationery of the Laboratory of Thomas A. Edison, Orange, New Jersey, September 15, 1924.

In this letter, Edison sends his correspondent a batch of reports, “which I trust will be found instructive and interesting.”

Edison is a giant in American history.  The “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he was a prolific inventor who insisted that “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”  He obtained an astounding 1,093 patents. Among them were some of the greatest inventions of the 19th and 20th Centuries:  the incandescent light, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera.

This letter evidences another of Edison’s inventions, the Ediphone.  Above the typist’s initials in the lower left, the letter bears the notation “Ediphoned.”  The Ediphone, which was Edison’s answer to Columbia Graphophones Dictaphone, allowed a speaker to record dictation so that a secretary could type it later without having to take the dictation by hand.  The speaker spoke into a tube, and the voice vibrations were recorded on a wax cylinder. A secretary would then put the cylinder into her machine, type the dictation, and then shave the used layer off of the cylinder so that the cylinder could be used again.

Edison has boldly signed the letter in pencil.  This letter has three horizontal folds and one vertical fold.  It has pencil notations, one of which affects the text but not the signature, and an ink stamp at the upper right, slight paper loss at the right and top, and cellophane tape mounting traces, none of which affects the text or signature.  The letter is in good condition.  It is richly double matted in Bordeaux suede with an inlaid silver wood fillet, a portrait of Edison, and an engraved identification plate, and it is framed in a silver and black period-looking wood frame.

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