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Thomas A. Edison

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Edisons personal certificate of stock in his Edison Portland Cement Company—signed twice

Thomas Alva Edison, 1847-1931.  Edison's own certificate for stock in the Edison Portland Cement Company, bearing a handsome engraved portrait of Edison and signed twice, with Thos A Edison on the front and a much scarcer full signature, Thomas A Edison, on the back, August / September 1899.

This certificate, No. 18, was issued to Edison on August 19, 1899, to evidence the issuance of 2,000 shares of stock to him.  Edison signed the stub from the certificate book, Thos A Edison, and the stub has been tipped back onto the certificate itself.  Less than three weeks later, on September 7, 1899, Edison transferred the stock to his longtime friend, Walter S. Mallory, who signed this certificate as vice president of the company, and who later became president. Edison has filled out the transfer in his own hand and signed with a much scarcer form of his signature, Thomas A Edison.

Edison, of course, 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.

Mallory (1860-1944) first met Edison at Chautauqua, New York, in the summer of 1885.  A few months later, in February 1886, he was an usher at the wedding of Edison, then a young widower, to his second wife, Mina Miller. Mallory began working for Edison in 1888 or 1889. He was an officer and stockholder in the Edison ore milling companies, served as vice-president of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works from 1895 to 1908, and later became president of the Edison Portland Cement Company.

Portland cement is named for its similarity to Portland stone, a type of building stone quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England.  It is a hydraulic cement made by heating a limestone and clay mixture in a kiln and pulverizing the resulting material

Edison was a newcomer to the cement business but was a quick study, reading all of the available literature on Portland cement.  He assigned Mallory to help secure financial backing for his new company, which was organized on April 15, 1899.  When Mallory announced that he had the requisite financial backing, he concluded by saying that it was time to engage engineers to lay out the cement plant—to which Edison replied that he intended to do that himself.  Edison took Mallory upstairs in his laboratory, where, on a large drafting table, he drew the plans for the plant in 24 hours.  The plan was built according to Edison's drawings, and it operated in substantially that layout for decades.

The plant began operating in 1901 and within two years was producing 3,000 barrels of Portland cement daily. Through Edisons inventive genius and mechanical ingenuity, new machines were invented and old ones were improved, particularly the kiln, which Edison expanded from the traditional 60 feet to some 150 feet long.

Edison has boldly signed Thos A Edison with a 3 brown ink signature on the front of the ledger receipt attached to this certificate and has signed Thomas A Edison with a 4 green ink signature on the back.  His handwriting and signature on the transfer to Mallory are very light but nevertheless readable. 

The stock certificate itself is in fine condition.  The companys blind embossed seal is crisp and sharp.  Cancellation holes affect other signatures on the front of the certificate, including Mallorys, but do not affect either of Edisons signatures.  One vertical fold passes through Edisons bold signature on the front.



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