Description

    Thomas Edison Typed Letter Signed "Thos. A. Edison." One page, 8.5" x 11", on his personal letterhead, Orange [New York], June 9, 1927, to Goode C. Blanks. Blanks (1890-1963) was a farmer living near Notasulga, Alabama, when he became acquainted with George Washington Carver, a professor at the Tuskegee Institute, who was beginning a new venture producing paint dyes using local clays sometime around 1923. The two became fast friends and, over the years, Blanks learned about geology and botany accompanying his friend on journeys around the area scouting out clay deposits.

    In his twilight years, Edison, at the urging of his friends, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, began to look for alternate sources of rubber for the production of automobile tires. Here he writes to Blanks, at the recommendation of Carver, regarding a job offer as a field agent, in part: "I am engaged in an investigation looking toward the production of rubber in the United States from plants, bushes, shrubs, etc. which can be planted by acreage and harvested with reapers...I desire to collect and examine as completely as possible the various species...which contain a rubber-bearing latex, and to accomplish this result I intend to engage several field me who have specialized in botany. The compensation would be one hundred dollars a month and expenses, and the field to be covered would be in Southern States up to as far north as New Jersey...Mr. G. W. Carver...has suggested you as a person qualified to engage in this work, and therefore, I am writing to ask whether the prospect of such an undertaking is sufficiently alluring to you to induce you to take it up during the summer months." Whether Blanks took him up on his offer is unknown, but Edison did find a rubber substitute in the Goldenrod weed. Edison died four years later, still working on his rubber experiments.

    With the original transmittal envelope. Edison's signature is bold. Folds are lightly toned, else fine.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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