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Thomas E. Jeffrey Senior Editor

Brian C. Shipley Theresa M. Collins Linda E. Endersby Editors

David A. Ranzan Indexing Editor

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Paul B. Israel

Director and General Editor


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fidison signature used with permission of MeGraw-Edison Company

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Copyright ©2007 by Rutgers, The State University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication including any portion of the guide and index or of the microfilm may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means— graphic, electronic, mechanical, or chemical, including photocopying, recording or taping, or information storage and retrieval systems— without written permission of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The original documents in this edition are from the archives at the Edison National Historic Site at West Orange, New Jersey.

ISBN 978-0-88692-887-2


Director and General Editor Paul Israel

Senior Editor Thomas Jeffrey

Associate Editors Louis Carlat Theresa Collins

Assistant Editor David Hochfeldcr

Indexing Editor David Ranzan

Consulting Editor Linda Endersby

Visiting Editor Amy Flanders

Editorial Assistants

Alexandra Rimer Kelly Enright Eric Barry

Outreach and Development (Edison Across the Curriculum)

Theresa Collins

Business Manager Rachel Weisscnburger


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey National Park Service

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Wc thankfully acknowledge the vision and support of Rutgers University and the Thomas A. Edison Papers Board of Sponsors.

This edition was made possible by grant funds provided from the New Jersey Historical Commission, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and The National Endowment for the Humanities. Major underwriting has been provided by the Barkley Fund, through the National Trust for the Humanities, and by The Charles Edison Foundation.

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Edison General File Series 1912. Phonograph - General (E-12-64)

This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the commercial and technical development of Edison's phonograph. Included is material pertaining to the Diamond Disc Phonograph, which was demonstrated at the Boston Electric Show in October 1912 and marketed throughout the United States by the end of the year. Also included are items dealing with the development of Blue Amberol cylinder records, the Edison home recording outfit ("shaving machine"), and the Edison School Phonograph. Among the subjects discussed in the documents are the manufacture of phonographs, cabinets, and records; the evaluation of singers and trial records; contracts with artists; trademarks; and patent interferences. There is also correspondence with Marshall C. Lefferts of the Celluloid Co., along with letters from phonograph enthusiasts and requests or suggestions concerning the improvement and promotion of the phonograph.

In addition to the correspondence, there are drafts of promotional material, technical notes and drawings by Edison, and instructions to members of his technical and administrative staff, including Jonas W. Aylsworth Frank K. Dolbeer, Miller Reese Hutchison, Walter H. Miller, Alexander N. Pierman, and Carl H. Wilson. Also included are Edison s copies of interoffice communications, demonstration reports, and minutes from committee meetings of Thomas A. Edison, Inc.

The committee minutes appear at the end of the folder in the following order: Executive Committee, Amusement Phonograph Department Committee, Dictating Machine Committee, Manufacturing Committee, and Phonograph Sales and Advertising Committee. Also included are minutes from a meeting of salesmen on December 30, 1912, to discuss the marketing of Diamond Disc phonographs and records. Among the topics discussed in the Executive Committee minutes are the possibility of making voice recordings of presidential contenders Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Champ Clark and the status of the phonograph business in Mexico and Latin America.

Approximately 50 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected material includes unsolicited correspondence with no substantive reply from Edison, letters of transmittal and acknowledgment, memoranda concerning billing procedures, circular letters, and weekly summaries of agreements with disc dealers.

J take this opportunity to also inform you that the first ten Busi-noea Phonographs with the oollapsible mandrel are being shipped out of the shop this week. You probably ’nor- that wo aro paying 250 a machine royalty, when wo use the cylindor ejector and this collapsible mandrel ir intended to. replace that flovioo , ro thet the royalty can bo cancelled for overy nnchine rihippod vitfc u oollapclble rnsnSrol*

If I can add anything further, I will bo pleased to do bo.

Please confirm this momorand-.ua with mo, no that thoro will bo no n i nuride ratondi r,g that I have not notified tho correct party.-

Yours truly,

«, “fe” Cn*u- <=r~^L<-«. -v fi

tCCLcy /-tr-tc-^v <

hoar Mr. Edison:

I pro 3Umaaf3urTIne _whilo in (Siicaojo Will be very much occupied. If, however, you can spare au hour I should take ploasuro in showing you and any of the rest of your party who are interested how we sell Edison Phonographs I boliove you will find our systems very interesting. If^you find that you can spare the time will gladly call for 'you at your hotel at any time you. suggest, .and. see that' ‘you get back at your appointed time.<

tnCe i

X oanNbe reached at any time through my operator at Lawndale 240]. \


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830 Livingston Hall.

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Deo. 8, 1911.

V6* flf*'

Ur. H. ?. Miller,

Thomas Edison Laboratory ,

Orange, Hew Jersey.

Dear Mr. Miller

Some time ago you wrote me in behalf of M Edison for whom I was to make some demonstrations in regard to the "Human Voice". Of course, I wanted to for him the extreme things. It is two years since I have tried singing higher or lower than any music ex


tent requires - not since I had made some tests before scientific persons interested in such investigations.

Upon receipt of your letter opening the way to Mr.

Edison I was therefore out of training for doing things at the extreme limit. I now, however, am getting back into best training and I soon shall demonstrate to him a scale of forty-nine or fifty semitones, without strain. Meanwhile would you approve of my writing to him some of my ideas concerning "The Hew Basis of Voice". To you, in this there is a most practical bearing; for better methods than those now used can be devised for talking!?) phonographs. Better results can be achieved, here at Columbia quietly and almost secretly. Dr. Forbes and I


Columbia TStaftawilp



have been getting at this subject. Just now Dr* Forbes is ill and I doubt that he can do anything more this year. I hope to find some other practical worker, especially in the making of machines, to assist me; for I have no handi¬ ness in making machines. I know what should be done, how¬ ever.

Again trusting to your kindness, I am,

Yours truly

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Messrs. Philpot: Anderson:

kJAN 1 5 1!'

Please note that all ran (Shinary, gas fittings, An nnaoFmarv for the Blue Rooord plant, as laid out by 12r. Philpot, are’ to hi ordered through the laboratory, either fr°|B °^^ide parties, the laboratory or the faotory, depending on who oan furnish thorn host and mrlokoat. This will leave nothing but the oarponter work, to- rotho-^with tho installation of machinery, to be looked °itor_and taken o^ro of by our faotory help, and this wo should bo amply ablo to take oare of in time for requirements.

l/l5/l2. / °* H* wilaon*

Copies to Messrs. Edi^fen and Weber.

Tm mn,1o Issue a manufaoturins order for 25 We Shaving Machines to ?a5d fof. do?oastration purposes , j*st as soon as drawings are received from the Engineering Sept. Also for 26 four-minnta^

wlth 25 shaTiDS machines. Those outfits should he pushed through as rapidly as possible. 6

the ^ same time issue a manufacturing order for 3.000 Ho5be Shaving 4 3'°°° four-minute recorders, to he manufactured for stock06 3v,s°°n as tools can he completed. The drawings for the four- iS Popt? a°r haVe alr°ady 130611 furnished tho factory hy the Engineer-

1/3.0/13. y o.ifo.

Copies to Messrs. Edison: Dyer: Weber: Wetzel: Dolheer: MoChesnoy: Goodwin: Maxwell: Bliss.


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Jenuary 26, 1912.'

Mr. Wilson:

The Committee listened to fifteen Blue Amberol Records at the Meeting held last night. The surfaces generally, aside from crackles and knocks were found to he excellent. It was noted however that ten out of the fifteen Records given to the Committee "ran out" more than we allow for commercial product.

The selections were as follows:




2 Samples oommeroial.

1 " had knocks ana >- oraokles - runs out - not commercial.


8 Samples commercial.

1 " knooks and

oraokles - runs out - not commercial - had moulding.


1 Sample. Bad knooks and oraokle s - runs out - not oommeroial.

2 Samples. light knocks and crackles. Doubtful as to whether aoceptahle as oommeroial.


- 2 -


FisK dhtversiey


10520 1(a) SHOP! All OVER GOD’S



2 Samples. Eight Enochs, hut considered commercial. 1 Sample. Bad EnoohB - not commercial.'




5 Samples - all oommer- oial.


U.U i'VU

January 30, 1912.'

Mr. WilBon:

The Record Committee have gone over enough. Blue Amberol Records to establish the following faots :

All of the Records run out badly, an objectionable feature' that must be overcome.'

“*■ St£t— (.) Praotioally all of the Reoords are full of small

oraoM.es Bnd light knocks, whioh are not in the moulds. These cracMes may be due to dirt or impurities in the material used. ~g. ^ The general surface of all the Reoords, which the

Committee have heard is considered good enough for commercial product.

The Committee heard 18 Reoords this afternoon, 6 of which were found to be commercial.

Oat. Bo. Title Talent


Mould Ho. 29

Sample Ho. 1 runs out - kaooks and oraoM.es - not commercial.

2 runs out - knocks

and ora Okies - not commercial.

" 3 runs out - knocks

and crackles - not commercial t on account of poor moulding. The majority of these knocks are not in the mould.





Mould no. 30

Semple Ho. 1 runs out - knocks and oraoklos - not commercial.

2 runs out - knocks and crackles - not commercial.

3 runs out ~ knooks and crackles - not commercial , on account of poor moulding. Bad rough spot in the mould.

Mould Ho. 36

Sample Ho. 1 runs out - knooks

and crackles - one sided" - rough surface not commercial.

2 runs out - crackles - surface rough on first part - commercial.

3 runs out - had rough spot in center - not commercial.

Mould Ho. 27

Sample Ho. 1 only slight run out- light knooks - com¬ mercial .

2 bad run out - good surface - not com¬ mercial.

3 runs out - loud knocks - not commercial.

Mould Ho. 37

Sample Ho. 1 runs out - knockB and o rookie s - not oommeroial.

2 runs out - light oraokles - oommeroial.

3 Blight run out - light oraokles - oommeroial.

Copy Hr. Dyer .

.. A-

PHC/W February 3rd 1912

Sear Mr. Edison, v

In accordance with instructions from Mr. Dyer indicating your wishes I have had tests made of the voioes of a number of singers and the samples are being sent to Orange for your examination.

Attached hereto is a memorandum showing name of singer class and selection sung for teBt purposes.

Enclosed you will find Borne presB notices and par¬ ticulars of the artists whose tests are being forwarded.

I understand from Mr. Dyer you are seeking voices of a certain quality having in mind their suitability for our work.

If you oare to go a little more in detail as to what particular characteristics you are seeking I may be able to give you more intelligent assistance.

I want to oo-operate with and be of Borne real help to you but feel as if we are groping over here and don't know whether what we are sending is what you are after.

Most of the singers who Be work we are forwarding have been secured through the Imperial Concert Agenoy. Some have voioes which are promising for our work. We have rejeoted many and are only sending those along whioh in our opinion might

Mr. Edison Contd. Page 2

possibly possess tbs quality you are seeking. Hone have known a phonographio oareer.

Among those sent I might particularly invite your attention to the following:

Mar# Holding Dramatio Soprano. Promising for our work.

Phyllis Lett Soprano. A bit nervouB. Sang slightly off, but might be developed.

Winifred Lewis Contralto. Very good indeed. Would probably make an excellent addition to our list of Edison Singers.

Alfred Heather. Sootoh Tenor. Very good for our work. Hubert Eisdell. Tenor. Excellent.

Horman Williams. Bass Baritone. Very good.

Louise Sims Contralto. Oood quality but very nervous during trial.

We will make additional shipments to you from time

to time and meanwhile if you oare to supplement original in¬ structions we will do all we oan to accomplish what you desire. Eaithfully yours,

Thomas A. Edison Esq. ,

Orange ,




Gertrude Reynolds

If do. Mary Conly.

Mr. Richard Ripley. Hr. Gwynna Davies Joseph Farrington Miss Winifred Lewis Mr. Fredk. Ranalow

Miss Phyllis Lott Kiss Kay Peters

Soprano "Oh Flowor of all the World”

Ss Seale.

Dramatic "The auld Hoose". & Scale.

Tonor "Mother o' mine". & Scale.

Tenor "Thy Learning eyes". & Scale. Bass Baritone. "Drake goes West".

Contralto "The Rosary" & Scale.

Bass Baritone. "Drink to me only"

& "The Crocodile".

Contralto "Lillies"

Contralto "One tho hankB of Allan water”

Miss Jennie Taggart Soprano "Bran hraw lads". Miss Mary Fielding Dramatic "Sunshine & Rain" Miss Caroline Hatchard Soprano Rohin Adair .

These have already "been . forwarded.




Mr. Alfred Heather Tonor , Bonnie Wee thing

Mr. Hubert Eindell 0 "I know of two bright eye a”

& Scale

Mr. Julian Henry Baritone "I'm wearing ara' Jena"

& Scale

Hies Ghrietine Bywator Soprano “If I built a World for you

& Scale .

Ur. Anderson Hiool Tenor "The fond kiss'1 & Scale

Ur. Alexander Webster Tenor "Bonnie Wee thing" & Scale.

Ur. Albert Beresford Counter Tenor "HeSt me to-night in Dreamland" & Scale.

Ur. Horman Williams Baas "The Wreck" & Scale.

Miss Louise Sims. Contralto "Host thee my dear one"

& Scale.

The above will bo forwarded with the next shipment.

Wo have not yet received pa ticulars and Press notices of the last three artistB. They will be forwarded when received.

Foh 8th, 1912

Mr. Walter Killer,

79 Fifth Ava.,

Mow vork City.

Dear Mr. Kill ear: -

As you are am re, Mr. Rdison has boon advertising for singers under tho name of "Crenshaw”. Fhese two answers that T enclose were from an advertisement in "Musical .America."

As you know, Mr. ’Wiser has hat most of the people come out here, hut he thinks that yon hail hotter write to these tv/o and ask them to come and make a test at tho Recording Rooms in 1,'ew vorfe. you can explain that Mr. Rdiaon is expecting to require some sight rending work done later, as to which he can comramicato with the parties after you have made the test records of tho vo:*ce trials.

1 reeoived the enclosed letter from you this morning, and would say that. I invariably tell the singers to take their own musio with them when they go to see you. I was particular, indeed, to toll Mr. Mud dell this, but, he must have forgotten it.

Fours very truly.



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Falrhaven Express Co.,


Feb. 20, 1912.

I was delighted to receive the other day from the Kdieon Works here a phonograph with all its various equipment, which they tell me you ordered them tosend me. I hive since recalled. that you spoke of the machine one day as useful to a literary worker, and at the some time promising when you wen o some to send one to me. X think it was extremely line of you to remember the promise ana me and it will he f

greatest pleasure in using it to know it is a souvenir of our last Summer's journey together. She machine has been too lately installed to allow me as yet to ' be particularly expert in talking into it, but I want the first effort to be a letter of thanks to you, and I shall accordingly send on this cylinder, hoping it will safely reach you.

I am sure I shall shortly become a phonograph enthusiast. At present I feel a bit self- conscious in talking into it. but it is "“ft”®**?® hear the sound of one’s own voice. I should think for an after dinner speaker or even a more ambitious it would be excellent in helping one to correct ones qneakinp- An friend who was in my room

when the machine arrived, tried it and saidit would help him a lot on the same line. I shall probably get i” the habit of using it for all kinds of literary and journalistic work, and I think it will be particularly helpful in the natural sounds of dialogue in story or

After I parted with you last Summer. I went to Constantinople with . and while there I sent several post cards

to your family. I hope they got them. I still -think of ou/tilp together in pleasant remembrance of yow*1 ktoftno SB and that of your family, especially on that unlucky day

stpL? s sssz ?wi

s to zax

frS£“ Solc'EeL He told touted loet'hle .Mt.ra M.di before. He seems to remember you all, and Bpeaks ox you with gratitude i Poor fellow, he is at present without work. He hopes now that Spring is coming on to find another regular



I am living in London now, at least for the time being and Simd it and my work here quite interesting, but the weather is of course abominable. Perhaps your family may be interested to hear the new novel of mine called "The Leverage of Life" which has just come out in London and in Hew York. I am now busy on another, and I expect to use the phonograph a good deal . I think that is about all the news I have on hand, and knowing too what a busy man you are, I shan't add more to this, letter, and with my renewed expression ■. of appreciation for your splendid gift. Please remember* me most kindly to Mrs. Edison and the other members of your family, ana believe me dear Mr. Edison,

Your ae voted admirer,

H. A. iJ. Valentine. \

Copy Mr. Dyer .

'/YU. |^wv







February 21st 1912

Mr. W.H. Miller , Manager,

Recording Department,

Thomas A. SdiBon Inc.

79-83, Fifth Avenue,


Dear Mr. Miller,

I suppose you have been wondering what, has happened to the Lyne and Harrold negotiations and for the purpose of keeping you advised, would state that HammerBtein continues to he at loggerheads with his Artists and although Bocchi has been behind him from day to day, he has not been able to close up to the present time. About ten days ago he insisted on having submitted to him a Contract on behalf of our .Company and the Columbia Company drawn by a solicitor. We forwarded our Contracts drawn in the usual Btyle , and on Saturday last he advised Bocchi that under no circumstances would he permit any of his Artists to sign such an Agreement although he would not indicate wherein the same was not satisfactory.

About an hour ago ho promised to make such altera¬ tions as he wanted in the Contracts to-day or to-morrow and to send them to us. I have no faith in his promises however,

Mr. W H. Miller Contd. Paso 2

and will not "bo surprised if he does not live up to them, or if he puts in clauses which will he impossible from our stand¬ point .

This is being forwarded in order to catoh to-day's

mail steamer that you may know how the matter stands- Very truly yours,

Managing Director.

Thomas A. Edison Jnc.

Orange ,N. J.,U. S. A.

Edison Phonographs and Records Edison Primary Batteries Edison Kinetoscopes andMotion Picture Edison Business Phonographs

April lBt, 1912.

Messrs. Berggren, Eckert, Deeming, Watsel, Henderson,

Thomas A. Edison, Incorporated, will supply,

{For Amusement Phonographs, Dictating Maohlnes and Shaving Machines)

Buhher Tuhing for Hearing lubes

Hard Rubber and other molded pieoes for Hearing Tubes

Mohair Covered Tubes for Speaking Tubes and Flexible Connections.

Mouth Pieoes and Ferrules for same.

Oil Cans, Screw Drivers, Sapphire Brushes, ChipBruBhes,

& Horn Connections.

Cabinets purchased complete « Transfers.

4 Post pedestal for Diot. Maohlnes Celluloid Memo. Strips for Diet. Machines Penoils and Pencil Holders " "

Burke Motors and parts thereof.

Shaving Machine Motors, and partB thereof.

Homs (including Finished and unfinished)

Horn Bells, ElbowB & Rings made outside " Transfers.

looks for Dictating & Shaving Machines.

Bottoms & Springs for System Boxes.

Paste Board Boxes for Hearing Tubes, Horns etc.



(For KlnetoBOQpoB. Professional Models, )

M. P. lenses and Condensing Lenses ana partB thereof Rheostats complete (made outBide) and parts thereof.

Sheet Metal Work (Magazines, Lamp Houses, Cones, Heels, Slide Carriers, Switoh Covers), eto. )

Soreens & BoothB


ClasB for Lamp Houses

Oxygen Generators, Saturators and supplies and parts therefor or used in oonneotion therewith Buoh as Oxone, Ether & Limes

Knife Switches

Transformers, Eoonomy Aros, Compens-aros ana parts thereof.

(For KiwatoHoones. Home Model )

M. P. lenses to Condensing Lenses and parts thereof.

Rheostats ana parts thereof.

Transformers to " "

Sheet Metal Work (lamp Houses, Carrying Cases)

Glasses for Lamp Houb6b.

HernBt Lamps, supplies for and parts thereof.

Aoetylene Generators, Burners, supplies for and partB thereof. Stage Connectors.

Attaching Plugs, lamp Sockets.



(For Rectifiers.)




For use in oonneotion with Cylindrical Reoords (Amherol & B Min.)


and BlankB. all materials except those entering into the "Wax"


For use in connection with the following:

Thomas A. Edison, Ino, will supply all materials Master Moulds Diso EeoordB Primary Batteries Film (Professional & Home, ) lantern Slides

exoept materials for parts originating in Edison Phonograph Works,

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I.ir . Bolboer:

She following prices and discount a have boon for Kouo Recording outfits:

Outfit complete consisting of Shaving liachme , i/hrec four-rainute recorder :

hist .6.00; dealer S0(J gG.GO net; joobor

! only:

,3.50 net; jobber Z

04.00 net.

•l/ 3/j (J 3.00 not.

hist 20 cents; dealer 14 cents; jobbor 12 cents.

;.a the recorder which we will supply will be of the sisc to fit mach- inos enuioned with sneaker arms to hold models "C", "‘I1' and ' . J repro¬ ducers' it* will be necessary to supply an adapter ring to cnaolc the same recorder to be used with machines equipped with speaker arms to hold the models "0" and "IT" reproducers. Shis adapter ring will r1' supplied as an extra at a list price of 50 c jobber SO cents net.

s; dealer ! is of machines 1 listed at the :

Tor the Opera, Arnberola and any other type build, with stationary reproducer arms, it will a special recorder, arm and horn, which will be ing prices:

hist 01.25; dealor SO cents not; jobber 75 cents net.

Outfits comnleto, shaving- machinos only and horns, will be ^packed its of 5 or multiples thereof. If ordered packet!, m lots or losi

Out id

than°5,' a'*’ charge' for packing vd.il have to bo made.

i'his memo, will enable you and hr. kcCliesney to go ahead with such price list or catalogue as you want to got olit covoring the homo P.ooording apparatus.

4/24/12. 0.H.Y/.

Oopios to kessrs. hdi^n: Dyer: UoChesnoy: Stevens: Hind: Bcrggron: Eckert : Brown: Iiasrwell: P.edfearn: Bile .

n: Maxwell :Sfoi

Messris. Dolbeer: McChesney: Goodwin: Maxwell t^Youmans: Hird: Eedfearn: Iretron: Brown: Eckert: Deeming: Wetzel: Stevens.

Up to the present time the three types of disc machines coming through have been known as models 1, 2 and 3. It has Been decided, however, to change these designations and designate the different models hy the price of the machine, and hereafter the mach¬ ine and cabinet known as model 1, will he known as model A 250, the letter indicating the design of mechanism and the number indicating the style of cabinet and price of complete machine and cabinet; Likewise the model 2, will be known as model A 200, and the model 3, as model A 150. This designation of the different machines will appear in the blank space on the name-plate following the words "model number" .

To distinguish the type of motor used in the different machines, that is, whether spring motor or electric, the letters "S M" will be used to designate the spring motor type, and the letter "E" to designate the electric type— these letters to be placed in the blank space following serial number and immediately preceding the serial number itself. Example:- A name-plate on the $250.00 mach¬ ine might read

"Edison Disc Phonograph Model Mo. A 250

Serial No. S M. or E, as the case might be, 179."

In case we should build alternating, direct and universal electric machihes, the letter E will be followed by the letter A, D or U, as the case might be.

f/Zb/lZ. C.H.W.

Copies to Messrs. Edij4n: Dyer: Weber:

Mr. Bliss:

Mr. Edison advised mo yesterday that you were waiting for certain ports from factory machine shop for rectifiers controllers and -business phonograph motors and thatonaocountofthis^worlcon^ho completed machines was being delayed. Up to this time I have ^

stood from you as well as others, that these parts were oojjdng through as fast and quietly as could be expected after drawings had been received and finished parts approved of by yourself or Mr. Bangley; therefore, in o?der ?o alce^tain the cause of delay on such parts as you°laimyouare waiting for, I wish you would send mo regularly 0ao^ week until things got running smoothly a list of such parts as are being turned out by the machine shop that you require and that on account of ^

furnished are holding up the completed product in the Electrical Dept.

Several months ago it was docidod that yon would fix ovor tho old mould making plant or a portion thereof, at least, for work on diamond points, hut so far as I can soo no particular progress has boon made in thi3 vdixootion. Have you decided not to utilise Bpaco in this building for that purpose , and if so why? If you still intend to utilise it, I think the work should bo proooeded with immediately, for if we aro going to use diamond points for both cylinder and disc reproducers, wo will want to bo in a position to turn them out much more rapidly and in much largor quantities than wo aro at present. Because of our not requiring those points just at this timo, this may seem an unimportant matter, but it is not, and if loft until too late wo will find ourselves unable to turn tho points out fast enough.

Please let mo hoar from you concerning this.

5/10/12. C.H.T7.

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