Thomas Edison Autograph Letter Draft Signed "E". Two pages, 5.35" x 8.75", n.p.; [March 24, 1917]. An unsigned draft of letter, in pencil, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels concerning Edison's research on underwater searchlights for use by submarines.

    "J Daniels - Report 20
    I have made further preliminary experiments on under-water searchlights for submarines, & have reached a point where no further advance can be made in laboratory experimenting. Any further experimenting should be done at sea. The green line of Barium in the arc penetrates salt water further than any other ray so far observed. I think that in blue water it may be possible to see an object 200 feet ahead, with rather powerful apparatus. My tube here is 60 ft. long, at the end of which the light was sufficient to read print. If anything further is to be done, please let me know. His initial "E" appears in the first two lines of the last paragraph of the letter. He likely signed the letter and added the last paragraph as an afterthought. The E is over the word "here" (on the first line) and between the words "the end" on the second line.

    During World War I, Edison conducted research in several areas for the United States' Navy and War departments, including experiments on under water searchlights for use of submarines. Edison carried on an extensive correspondence with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. A fascinating document highlighting Edison's research for the United States government in World War I.

    Condition: The letter has light horizontal and vertical folds and pin holes at the top left hand corner where a pin attached the two sheets. Otherwise, the letter is in near mint condition.

    More Information:

    Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), considered by many as America's greatest inventor, held over one thousand patents, including ones for the phonograph, movie camera, and the incandescent light bulb. In addition to the phonograph, the movie camera, and the incandescent light bulb, his many inventions included the stock ticker, and the mechanical vote recorder.  His inventions impacted the movie industry, recorded music, and the field of electricity.  Edison was a pioneer in apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention. He is often credited with establishing the first industrial research laboratory.


    Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) was a progressive Democrat, newspaper editor and publisher from North Carolina. He served as Secretary of the Navy under President Woodrow Wilson from 1913 to 1921. 


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