0/ 6dU>oru


PART IV (1899-1910)

Thomas E. Jeffrey Lisa Gitelman Gregory Jankunis David W. Hutchings Leslie Fields


Theresa M. Collins Gregory Field Aldo E. Salerno Karen A. Detig Lorie Stock

Robert Rosenberg Director and Editor


Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey National Park Service, Edison National Historic Site New Jersey Historical Commission Smithsonian Institution

University Publications of America Bethesda, MD 1999

Edison signature used with permission of McGraw-Edlson Company

Thomas A. Edison Papers at

Rutgers, The State University endorsed by

National Historical Publications and Records Commission 18 June 1981

Copyright © 1999 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 nmy be reproduced, stored hi a retrieval system, or transmitted hi any form by any means graphic, electronic, mechanical, or chemical, hicludhigphotocopyhig, recordingor taping, or information storage and retrieval systems— without written permission of Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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

ISBN 0-89093-703-6


Robert A. Rosenberg Director and Editor

Thomas E. Jeffrey Associate Director and Coeditor

Paul B. Israel

Managing Editor, Book Edition Helen Endick

Assistant Director for Administration

Associate Editors Theresa M. Collins Lisa Gitelman Keith A. Nler

Research Associates

Gregory Jankunis Lorie Stock

Assistant Editors Louis Carlat Aldo E. Salerno

Secretary Grace Kurkowski

Student Assistants

Amy Cohen Bethany Jankunis Laura Konrad Vishal Nayak

Jessica Rosenberg Stacey Saelg Wojtek Szymkowiak Matthew Wosniak


Rutgers, The State University of New National Park Service Jersey John Maounis

Francis L. Lawrence Maryanne Gerbauckos

Joseph J. Seneca Roger Durham

Richard F. Foley George Tselos

David M. Oshinsky Smithsonian Institution

New Jersey Historical Commission Bernard Finn

Howard L. Green Arthur P. Molella


James Brittain, Georgia Institute of Technology R. Frank Colson, University of Southampton Louis Galambos, Johns Hopkins University Susan Hockey, University of Alberta Thomas Parke Hughes, University of Pennsylvania Peter Robinson, Oxford University

Philip Scranton, Georgia Institute of Technology/Hagley Museum and Library Merritt Roe Smith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Charles Edison Fund The Hyde and Watson Foundation National Trust for the Humanities Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

PUBLIC FOUNDATIONS National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities

National Historical Publications and Records Commission


Alabama Power Company



Atlantic Electric

Association of Edison illuminating Companies

Battelie Memorial Institute The Boston Edison Foundation Cabot Corporation Foundation, Inc. Carolina Power & Light Company Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.

Consumers Power Company Cooper Industries Corning Incorporated Duke Power Company Entergy Corporation (Middle South Electric System)

Exxon Corporation

Florida Power & Light Company

General Electric Foundation

Gould Inc. Foundation

Gulf States Utilities Company

David and Nina Heitz

Hess Foundation, Inc.

Idaho Power Company

IMO Industries

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley H. Katz Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. Midwest Resources, Inc.

Minnesota Power New Jersey Bell New York State Electric & Gas Corporation

North American Philips Corporation Philadelphia Electric Company Philips Lighting B.V.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company

RCA Corporation

Robert Bosch GmbH

Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation

Son Diego Gas and Electric

Savannah Electric and Power Company

Schering-Plough Foundation

Texas Utilities Company

Thomas & Betts Corporation

Thomson Grand Public

Transamerica Deiaval Inc.

Westinghouse Foundation Wisconsin Public Service Corporation

A Note on the Sources

The pages which have been filmed are the best copies available. Every technical effort possible has been made to ensure legibility.


Reel duplication of the whole or of any part of this film is prohibited In lieu of transcripts, however, enlarged photocopies of selected items contained on these reels may be made in order to facilitate ' research.

William H. Meadowcroft Papers Reminiscences by Edison G. Mr. Edison's Notes

This document is a photocopy of an Edison notebook from October 1 908. It contains a narrative of incidents from his boyhood, young adulthood, and years in Menlo Park. The notes are all in Edison's hand. A label on the front cover bears the following typewritten notation: "Book No. 2, Mr. Edison’s notes re. Biography. October, 1 908." The pages are unnumbered. Approximately 60 pages have been used. The original manuscript is at the Edison Winter Home in Fort Myers, Florida. The archives of the Edison National Historic Site holds a typescript prepared by Meadowcroft from Edison's notes.

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i * *

William H. Meadowcroft Papers Reminiscences by Edison H. Mr. Edison's Impressions of Europe

This document is a combination of original typescript pages and carbon copies. At the top of the first page is an inscription in William H. Meadowcroft's hand: "Mr. Edison's Impressions of Europe." The document consists of fifteen pages of observations about Europe and Europeans, which were made by Edison after his return to the United States in October 1911. Meadowcroft gathered these impressions for publication, and the scattered corrections and additions to the text are in his hand. Neither a complete original typescript nor an original Edison manuscript has been located.

For the first time in twenty-two years Thomas A. Edison has taken a real vacation. Starting on August 2nd by the Mauretania with his son Charles, he went to England to join Mrs. Edison and their daughter Madeline and son Theodore for an automobile trip in Europe, returning to Mew York on October 7th. Believing that the readers of Popular Electricity Magazine would be interested in Mr. Edison's impressions of his foreign trip, a correspondent called upon him at his laboratory in Orange;, Hew Jersey, and found the great inventor looking rugged and well, and although extremely busy, willing to grant an interview.

V/hen asked to mention the most interesting experiences of his European trip, Mr. Edison smiled and said, "That's a large order, and I don't know that X oan fill it, but let us begin at the beginning.

"One of the first things I did on arriving in England was to visit the House of Commons where they were holding an all night session and where I Baw two votes taken on the Bill relating to the House of Lords. A seat was given me in the Strangers' gallery. I oould see, but, of course, oould not hear the speeches* X* was all very interest¬ ing but there was no excitement. After the House adjourned everyone went out on the Terrace, were I was introduced to a great number of the statesmen. They presented me with a copy of the Lords' Veto Bill signed by Prime Minister Asquith, Lloyd George, John Redmond, John Burns, T. P. O'Connor and others. I was invited to visit the House of Lords the next day but oould not spare the time as I had arranged to meet my wife in Franco.

"Hext to Amerioans the English have the best practical brains. I like the English and admire their institutions and statesmen, and the way the country is run. They are Btrong on ancient traditions, but they are fast realizing that mere hereditary, institutions must go.


V/hen I was in England a great railroad strike began, but the Government realized that it had a duty to perform to 8top disorder, and it aoted firmly. Governments are merely huge business concerns, and no allowance for sentiment should be made in their practical dealings with the affairs of the world. In this case England took energetic measures to unsure the right of the individual to work for whatever wageB he pleased, despite the tyranny of labor societies, and I think it is a healthy sign of her basic common sense.


"Motoring through Pranoe is a souroo of unbounded pleasure. I have seen no superior roads anywhere. I travel¬ led over more than 2000 miles of roddB there and less than three miles were had. There was not a rut more than two inches deep. We are far behind the Prenoh in this respeot, and our Amerioan road engineers oan get some valuable pointers from Eranoe.

"I was disappointed, however, in Paris as the so- oalled'City of bight.' It bears no oomparison to Hew yorfc in

that respeot. The Champs Elysees, whioh is the most brilliantly illuminated street in the oity, looks like twilight oompared with Manhattan's 'Great White Way.' Paris is ever a wonderful oity.

There is muoh to interest the visitor, and I took no small pleasure in revisting the familiar sopnes of years ago, but my stay in the oity of magnificent prospeots was very short.

I did not visit any of the great soientifio Institution^, the purpose of my trip being to see the .country.

The historical momimentB of Paris do not impress me.

I see them resting on the bones of oountless Viotims of Hapoleonjs personal glory. Conquest costs; it never pays. The Germans have paid more than a thousand dollars an acre for Alsace and Lorraine^ and they thought they had gained it free. Their little march around the Arch of Triumph was in the end the oostliest promenade ever made. The glory of the war lord, wherever he may be, is

fading away. There is too muoh independent thought, too many.

newspapers and sohools In our present day of civilisation to permit of the antiquated methods of these overambitious men who, hiding behind their selfish arms, cry loudly for the glory of their, oountry and force ruin on their people . The terrible prioe of . war would be clear to coming.. generations if, every monument haa inscribed upon it the details of its cost to the people. The war game has received a solar plexus blow, anyhow, in the coming of the areoplane. A thousand aeroplanes would oost less than one Dreadnought, but think of the. frightful elfeoft of a fleet of a thousand airmen dropping nitro-g^yoorin bombs. Another great international war in Eurppe seems impossible now so far as I can see. In other words invention has got beyond the thirst of blood; the power of soienoe, that has been let looee must overwhelm aggressive diplomacy. Although Europe has learned her eoonomio lesson, the sxibjeot of war seems to be ever in our mindi <yj

"But returning to more pleasing subjeota than war, let me say that I enjoyed my tour through Prance . itB beautiful soenery is restful, and its agricultural riohness is very im¬ pressive. I was amaaed at the beautiful oropB ..of wheat , barley and other small grain. There were no suoh extensive fields of one kind of grain as we see in our western states, but cultiva¬ tion is done in' small aoreages. A few aores of wheat, with a similar patoh of oats adjoining it, and so on, .but all in the' highest state of perfection. The farmers are suaoessful and' well to do, and„it was not diffioult to disoem one reason?,* of. the; wealth of Pranoe. The vast vineyards ware particularly ^Interest¬ ing. Unfortunately it did not happen to be the time . foregather-

ing t stand



he grape orop. I would like to have seen it, for I under- they make a great holiday of the occasion.

'Jffrtmoo iu a- mil 10h-Tfir?TropiTr^^ flXdflr....n.t^-nirel-l-i-eeiw»r-h^t-Vhgy--ftre~4ahrawd^and^hri--i-tj


by. Kvetry-

we went on our motor tour we found the people apparently happy and

^contented.- They have savings in plenty, hut they put the money out »\\ ffOVSvv* t'V'ivb'i .

^aifc-^ewfcgn^wterrwst. Land investments with them are practically nil.

I was struok with the lack of new buildings going up. The peasants are oertainly geniuses in making the raoBt of a tiny strip of land. In one small farm I counted no less than Beven different kind of crops.

The apple orchards of Uorraandy astonished me by their wonderful orops - of ruddy apples ae^4«e^as™the»»he»t»we»-have.

"The French bread struok me as particularly good. It was palatable and nutritious and I ate a great deal of it while in the country. The French are wiser than we in not seeking to make their bread dazzlingly white by sacrificing the nutritive parts of the wheat. Their skill in cooking is apparent everywhere, for even in the smallest villages everything that was served had the magic of their art.

"Switzerland is a oountry of magnificent scenery and praotioally unlimited power going to waste. In motoring it is quite a change to leave the beautiful Frenoh roadB where one oan speed and get into Switz¬ erland where sixteen miles an hour is the limit. The people are pro¬ gressive but lack the daring in business that is characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon. They are hampered by over-prudence. In some respootB they remind me of the Japanese, for their genius shows itself In minute sortB of labor. They are a little people in a little land. Ab far as I oan Judge, they are more intricate in invention than in mind. Their watches, clocks, music boxes, wooden toys, and what not, everything 1b little. We showed them how to make Geneva watohes by machinery, and now they are imitating us in their own oountry. But occasionally a groat engineer will arise among them. One is my friend Turitini, who constructed the great power works on the Rhone.


"Cheap electricity 1b waking up Switzerland, and there are some signs of growth. You will find new buildings going up, which oannot he aaid of all the countries in Europe. It iB to he hoped that the Swiss will soon he so thoroughly awakened that the dread¬ ful spootaole of women harnessed to the plows, yoke-mates with cattle will he a thing of the past.

"Bohemia was a surprise to me. X had not expected to find much progress there hut was agreeably disappointed. New construction was -in evidence not only in the larger towns, hut even the smaller towns are extending somewhat. Most of the old houses are built up to the sidewalks and there are no gardens or lawnB in front, hut the modern liouseB are different, and one sees flowers in the front yards. Perhaps this may he due to the influence of Bohemians who have returned to their country with a competence made in America, and have taken American ideas with them. There is a general tendency in Bohemia toward commercial and manufactur¬ ing developement on a larger Beale than ever before. Many factories are in course of construction. But the country is at present handicapped by ill-feeling between thelaity and the Church, whioh must work itself out before any great progress can he made. . I was struck with the faot, here, as elsewhere, that the European farmer makes more out of lesB promising land than ours by intensive farming. Over there they Bpend their time and energy in oarefully cultivating small areas instead of crudely cultivating

large areas as many of our formers do. nothing in the way of land goes to waste in Europe. Even the roadside is lined with fruit trees, principally apples, then come pars, thon cherries, llinety-nine per

oent of such land goes to waste with us. The Bohemians grow great A r*p

crops of apples. S-eB3re«late*HflTSt there muBt he at least 250 square miles of the country devoted to apple growing. Their fruit is not aB good as our b, however, being smaller and mostly used for the manufact¬ ure of champagne, vinegar, eto.

"In travelling through France I found myself looking always for the nation's factories but generally in vain. Of course, she has 'her factories and plenty of them, but her manufactures, generally speaking, are artistic in nature, high in value and small in bulk. Hence, they do not require large machinery to produce them. On coming into Germany one immediately sees evidence of its being a great inr dustrial nation. I saw more faotory chimneys in the town of Chemnitz alone than in the whole of Franoo.

"It seems like a humiliating thing to Bay, but it is the fact that Germany’s manufacturing industries are pushing ahead much faster than outb are. The growth of her manufactures is constant and tremendous.

? .

''Thousands of factories are in course of construction.

I saw many factories in Worth Germany, and whether they were 'built or in building, the oonstruotion generally speaking was better than thev'donstruotion of the beBt of ours. Their building methods are extremely sensible, economical and effeotive. They use oement more freely and more wisely than we do. One sees everywhere build¬ ings of loose stones faced with oement whioh fills in the inter¬ stices.

"Every detail of faotory construction over there is hedged about by oarefully restrictive laws whioh are rigidly enforced. The consequence is well built buildings, safe, sanitary admirable. There is very little danger of fire in suoh build¬ ings. I was told in Prague that the oity's fire loss in one year was only 926.000. The fire horrors which are continually occurring in America are impossible. The oonstruotion of the buildings is such, that the workmen's health is carefully protected; they have fine light and air, and. in the. arrangement and management of the machinery they are carefully proteoted against aooident. We have many things to learn from Germany in these details of faotory equipment, oonstruotion and manage¬ ment.

"When our American people realise that the average depreciation on an average building


1b 3 per oent aB against one-half of one per cent In Germany, they will wake up ana throw aside tradition ana take a lesson from our German friends who make liberal use of cement as a building material. We are apt to think of them, an being slow and conservative. They are oertainly conservative, but in that respect they have forged ahead and made haste economically.

"Germany is up to date in all branches of mechan¬ ical and scientific advance. She is not behind us in these lines, generally speaking, although her shops are full of American ma¬ chinery or imitations of it. I went through two great electri¬ cal ehopB in which 86 per oent of their machinery was Ainerioan. This illustrates the good sense of the Germans. While Germany is the most scientific of all the nations, she does not approaoh us in applied science. She is pre-eminent, however , in some lines. In mhemioal industries she stands alone. Byfeyftggei cgs4»r^3i-ujhemio«*l‘~laborwbo»ie8^an(U£ao4oB-ieawa®e»-f»?»3?“of Asw^iam., machinery, in automatic labor-Baving devices of all kinds and in their application we excel her.

"The Germans are the world's most persistent people. They usually get what they are after, and they have started now to capture our meohanioal prestige. If the United States is to prevent them from outstripping us in the race, we Bhallhave to get down to hard, intelligent work.

"The German domestic trade is enormous, but from indications in the packing rooms of several large German factor¬ ies which I visited, I should say their foreign trade is still larger. They are organizers of great ability and extraordinary

( 10-1/2 )

patience and are wonderfully energetic and Intelligent. Not only are they fighting ue for the world's trade, but they are also fighting ISngiand wherever she has business that they want, and they have engoged in a persistent campaign for the world's business. This campaign is not sensational, but there is no slackening up of it. If we are going to hold our own or win out, we Bhould watch them closely, for there is much in their methods that we


could learn with profit.

"They have gone so far as to establish hanks with German capital