Thomas Edison Document Signed From The Edison Electric Light Company
Item Number: 12929
Famed American inventor. 1 page Document Signed measuring 8" x 13", dated January 1, 1895. An extract from the annual report of the Edison Electric Light Company of Europe, reporting the value of capital stock at two million dollars and outstanding debts totaling less than $22,000. In 1878, Edison formed the Edison Electric Light Company (later known as General Electric or GE) in New York City with several financiers, including J. P. Morgan and the members of the Vanderbilt family. Edison made the first public demonstration of his incandescent light bulb on December 31, 1879, in Menlo Park. It was during this time that he said, "We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles." Just a year after this letter was written, General Electric became one of the original 12 companies listed on the newly-formed Dow Jones Industrial Average and still remains after 111 years.
Backed by financiers, including J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family, Edison established the Edison Electric Light Company to own and license his patents in the electric light field. After more than a year of experiments, Edison finally developed a carbon filament that would burn in a vacuum in a glass bulb for forty hours [See lot 346 for this patent]. They demonstrated the light bulb to their backers, and by the end of the month were exhibiting the invention to the public.
Edison then concentrated on developing a complete system of electric generation and distribution that would turn his light bulb into a commercially efficient and economical business. The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York was incorporated on December 17, 1880, to develop and install a central generating station. Edison's system would consist of the large central power plant with its generators (called dynamos); voltage regulating devices; copper wires connecting the plant to other buildings; the wiring, switches, and fixtures in the interiors of those buildings; and the light bulbs themselves. The method of supplying electricity from a central station to illuminate buildings in a surrounding district had already been demonstrated by Edison, and self-contained plants were in place in some of Edison's buildings and in a few private residences in New York, like that of J. P. Morgan
At the Pearl Street station in lower Manhattan, Edison's team installed the largest dynamos ever built. Each "Jumbo" dynamo (named after a popular circus elephant) weighed about 27 tons and had an output of 100 kilowatts - enough to power more than 1,100 lights. Each of the six dynamos was driven by a steam engine, which received steam from boilers located in another part of the plant. With the opening of Pearl Street, it was now possible for homes and businesses to purchase electric light at a price that could compete with gas. By 1883, Edison Electric boasted 513 customers. Pearl Street became the model that led the way for electrification in cities and towns across the United States. The plant remained in operation until 1895.
Documents signed by Edison relating to his Electric light company are very sought after by collectors.Signed "Thos. A. Edison," In very good condition, with mild toning and wrinkling, pinholes, and separations at folds, repaired from the reverse with archival tape; not affecting signature. Clean and attractive appearance with a strong signature.