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Lot #185
Thomas Edison Autograph Letter Signed on Filiments

Six years after patenting the electric light, Edison sends "fibres, filiments and carbons" to a Milwaukee man

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Estimate: $5000+
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Six years after patenting the electric light, Edison sends "fibres, filiments and carbons" to a Milwaukee man

Early ALS signed “Edison,” one page on an 8 x 10 sheet of E. T. Gilliland's personal letterhead, September 21, 1885. Handwritten letter to "Francis R. Upton, Edison Lamp Co., East Newark, N. Jersey," in full: "Please make up small sample box of fibres, filiments and carbons and forward to C. H. Haskins, Milwaukee, Wis., and obligeā€¦P.S. Put in a 1/2 c.p. lamp." In fine condition, with a short repaired tear to the top edge. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Edison's own hand. The recipient, Francis R. Upton (1852-1921), was hired by Thomas Edison in 1878 and worked alongside Edison in the development of incandescent light bulbs, electric generators, and electric power distribution. He later became the first president of the Edison Pioneers. Edison writes using the letterhead of Ezra Torrance Gilliland (1845-1903), an inventor who designed the telephone switchboard and the magneto bell. He had a laboratory in his home and 'kept seven expert electricians employed' as he worked on his ideas. He built the first telephone exchange in Indianapolis in the 1870s under the name Gilliland Telephone Manufacturing Company and later worked for the Bell Telephone Company. Gilliland was a friend and colleague of Edison and the two worked together on many projects. They met as young men and called each other 'Damon and Pythias' because of their close friendship. Edison met his second wife at Gilliland's home, and Gilliland wrote frequently in trade journals promoting Edison's inventions. The two were business partners, even occupying adjacent vacation homes in Fort Myers, Florida, until 1889 when they had a falling out over business dealings.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Presidents
  • Dates: #658 - Ended February 08, 2023

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