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    Description

    Thomas Edison Archive containing fifteen letters, two sketches, and one list of trucking operations. Spanning the years 1921 through 1925, the majority of the archive is composed of notes written by Edison to Jaffrey Buchanan and are of a professional nature.

    Buchanan began working at the Edison Chemical Factory in 1910. Within a few days he was introduced to Edison and made a good impression. Edison remained involved in all details of the day-to-day operations of the factory, relying on men like Buchanan to execute his instructions and keep him informed of all necessary details. Edison kept long hours, and often preferred to work through the night; and these letters and notes were the preferred method of communication. According to Buchanan, Edison was a firm adherent to the empirical method in his work. All employees in positions of responsibility were required to carry a notebook in which to write down all observations. Buchanan would have kept all of Edison's notes and letters as a way of documenting any changes or implementations in production at the factory. Edison was a keen observer, and was always looking for methods to improve production quality and reduce costs. Some of the letters included in the collection are:

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed "Edison." Two pages, 5" x 8", circa 1925, to Jaffery Buchanan: "We are having a rotten time with drying our powder its scandalous. I want you to fix this up. The dying time with constant steam heat is a function of the vacuum. The time diminishes much faster than directly as vac goes up. With a perfect vacuum no steam is needed at all water boils at ordinary temperature. I heard of water laying in bottom of Dryer of variation of vacuum from 21 to 13 This is rotten this is the most important job you can do, Answer."

    Edison Autograph Letter Unsigned. Three pages, 5" x 8", 1923, to Jaffery Buchanan: "I learn that our woodflour bought from Germany is being mixed in with American woodflour & since that we have several hundred discards from pull outs. They have found wheat & other things mixed with it. Years ago we screened our wood flour but somebody removed this preliminary screening. We had a lot of screens cannot we put in a screen somewhere to screen the wood flour before putting it in the mixed with a screen that wood [sic] remove wheat & things ½ that size see me about this."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", 1923, to Jaffery Buchanan: "We are falling behind fast on filling Disc orders. Folsom tells me you have difficulty in getting men. You better go down to Personel [sic] & see what can be done its important. E "

    There is also a group of letters between Edison, Buchanan, and Joseph P. Devine concerning the dryers being used at the factory for the reclamation of fluid used. Edison's comments are often humorous without intending to be:

    Autograph Note Signed by Thomas Edison on the edge of a Jaffery Buchanan autograph letter. One page, 8.5" x 11", April 4, 1921. Buchanan writes that J. P. Devine has come to inspect the dryers and that he "made a lot of note & will write a full statement tomorrow." He goes on to report that "the water...lying in the bottom, is 70% alcohol &...it is expected in winter or when starting on cold dryers." Further "we must get a real sample of wood floor and powder coming from dryers. The present practice of picking about two ozs from one tray does not give any real idea of the total." Edison, not a fan of Mr. Devine, retorts on the edge: "Devine himself don't know anything about a Vac Dryer. Alcohol couldnt exist in a Dryer with a 20" Vac & steam at 20 lbs. he cant do it in a Laboratory. Edison." Moderate toning along the margins. [and:] Autograph Note Signed by Thomas Edison on the bottom of an autograph letter to him. One page, 8.25" x 10.5", April 5, 1921. The author writes that "Devine was here today...He approved of the overloading of the pans and driers and said that it should make no difference in the drying. He thought that a higher vacuum would shorten on time for us and improve the drying. A new pump would be needed for this." Edison has underlined this sentence and writes on the bottom: "Buchanan what is meant by new pump E." The original letter continues with an explanation of condensation consisting of water and alcohol and reworking would result in "65% to 70% alcohol. I am not sure whether this is worth re-working or not." Edison has circled "65% to 70%" and has written "It certainly is worth it." [and:] Joseph P. Devine Typed Letter Signed. Three pages, 8.5" x 11", Buffalo, April 6, 1921, to J. P. Buchanan and Thomas A. Edison, Inc. regarding his plan for the use of the dryers and the recovery of solvent used. Paper clip indentation and rust staining. [and:] Thomas Edison Autograph Note Signed. Two pages, 8.5" x 11", Buffalo, April 7, 1921, to "Mr. Meadowcroft" concerning the sending of an engineer to Edison's plant for a week. Edison has written at the top: "Buchanan see me about this." Toned along the margins with paper clip indentation at top left with slight rust staining. [and:] Autograph Note Signed by Thomas Edison on the top of a Jaffery Buchanan autograph letter. One page, 8.25" x 10.5", April 8, 1921, regarding the use of dryers as proposed by J. P. Devine. Buchanan makes a separate proposal to "operate 4 dryers on 2 condensers & 2 pumps and the other 2 dryers on 1 condenser & 1 pump. This makes 6 dryers operating & 1 off the circuit, and the speed of vapors exactly the same as Devines scheme, but without buying the pump & condenser." Edison writes a short note at the top saying: "Buchanan - ok will depend on you. I have no faith in Devine. E" Toned edges; chipped right corner.

    Also, two sketches by Edison: the first, 8.25" x 11". Edison has written a short note next to the sketch. Jaffrey Buchanan has identified the sketch in a short note along one edge: "Note This sketch was made 2 am in press room, and this was really the last spell Edison had of working day & night. For 2 weeks he worked every other night & till about 8 or 9 pm on the intervening nights." The second sketch is similar to the first, with no writing and measures 5" x 8". The edges of both drawings are moderately toned and chipped.


    More Information:

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", 1921, to Jaffery Buchanan: "I note Kwitze Racks holding Varnish Records are bent. Back saw teeth out in one - Judging from the 4 at Lab they must be in bad shape. Things should not be allowed to deteriorate this way Many blanks must be lost I wrote Kwitze that they should be repaired & to get busy - E."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", October 2, 1922, to Jaffrey Buchanan: "Here is list of Trucking Keep this in front of you with a view of using conveyors or other means to cut cost of trucking down. Edison" With two pages, 8.5" x 11.5", a list of "Trucking Operations In Building #24."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed "Edison." One page, 5" x 8", October, 1925, to Jaffery Buchanan: "Come & see me on this. I have another more detailed cost sheet."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed "Edison." One page, 5" x 8", circa 1921, to Jaffery Buchanan: "Read this and help Wilcoxson try the Experiment. Consult with him."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", July 28, 1924, to Jaffery Buchanan: "Dope not being put on even with dope record should show no wear at 750 times."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", November, 1923, to Jaffery Buchanan: "NG Fisher now with Neill you may have as your inspector - Edison."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", 1921, to Jaffery Buchanan: "Moore answers me that as the blank on prints & final label are connected that it would be a mistake not to Have Press Dept have Labeling - Please see Moore & see if you  agree sounds possible Edn"

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", November 26, 1923, to Jaffery Buchanan: "Cant a ¼ screen put somewhere even if you have to automatically shake it that will catch strings Edison." He adds a postscript: "You have not answered this Why not a screen."

    Edison Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 5" x 8", 1921, to Jaffery Buchanan: "I find 44 men on your payroll. Cant you do a little Better than this - Edison"



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