PART III (1887-1898)

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Gregory Field Theresa M. Collins David W. Hutchings Lisa Gitclman Leonard DeGraaf Dennis D. Madden

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Mary Ann Hellrigel Paul B. Israel Robert A. Rosenberg Karen A. Detig Gregory Janku nls Douglas G. Tan-


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, Maryland 1993


Reese V. Jenkins Director and Editor

Thomas E. Jeffrey Associate Director and Microfilm Editor

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Helen Endick

Assistant Director for Administration

Associate Editor

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Research Associates

Theresa M. Collins David W. Hutchings Karen A. Detig

Assistant Editors

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Grace Kurkowski

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Student Assistant

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New Jersey Historical Commission Howard L. Green

National Park Service John Maounls Maryanne Gerbauckas Nancy Waters George Tseios Smithsonian Institution Bernard Finn Arthur P. Molelia


James Brittain, Georgia Institute of Technology Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., Harvard University Neil Harris, University of Chicago Thomas Parke Hughes, University of Pennsylvania Arthur Link, Princeton University Nathan Reingold, Smithsonian Institution Robert E. Schofield, Iowa State University


William C. Hittinger (Chairman), RCA Corporation Edward J. Bloustein, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey * Cees Bruynes, North American Philips Corporation Paul J. Christiansen, Charles Edison Fund Philip F. Dietz, Westinghouse Electric Corporation Roland W. Schmitt, General Electric Corporation Harold W. Sonn, Public Service Electric and Gas Company



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

Consumers Power Company Coming Glass Works Foundation Duke Power Company Entergy Corporation (Middle South Electric Systems)

Exxon Corporation Florida Power & Light Company General Electric Foundation Gould Inc. Foundation Gulf States Utilities Company Idaho Power Company International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Iowa Power and Light Company

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley H. Katz Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. McGraw-Edison Company Minnesota Power New Jersey Bell New York State Electric & Gas Corporation

North American Philips Corporation

Philips International B.V.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company RCA Corporation Robert Bosch GmbH Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation

San Diego Gas & Electric Savannah Electric and Power Company Schering-Plough Foundation Texas Utilities Company Thomas & Betts Corporation Thomson Grand Public Transamerica Delaval Inc. Westinghouse Educational 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.


R66l 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.

1890. Electric Light - Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York (D-90-29)

This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to the business of the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York. Many of the letters pertain to canvassing plans and construction work on new central stations for Manhattan. Also included is a report by Eaton & Lewis, the company’s lawyers, regarding vibration and noise at central stations. Most of the letters are by Richard R. Bowker, first vice-president, and J. B. Skehan treasurer. Many of them are addressed to Arthur E. Kennelly, Edison’s chief electrician. Some of the documents may be partially illegible due to faded ink and water damage.

Approximately 90 percent of the documents have been filmed. The following categories of documents have not been filmed: letters of acknowledgement and transmittal; meeting announcements; other routine business correspondence; galley proofs of the company’s annual report to its stockholders for 1889.


. -V . . ;;Y . ; *5.

H»»mra. Thomas A. Edison,

S. b. Baton,

0. Goddard.

Gentleman :

I bog to advise you that the tn«>a|0M* of the Mutual Mf. Insurance Go*,.* ,f **, for g|^

dated November 19th, 1881, i. oano.llsd this <V<

loan of $3o, 000* whieh it oovored having boss pat* «* disc-harped of record.

Tours vsry tn

Cm . L+

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,


General Office, 4 32 Fifth Avenue,



New York ,

ThO Jai3 i. ttisOU is;j,

Llmls* Park. Creui*e, J.

In response to your inquiry ad bo the amount ana oust

oi' oopjwr figured. for proposed new Oeneral ioaiiou to ?s*el 80. disi- rioo, i find that .Pr. Van Vliok, the lleotriciau at toe uptown Offioe, reOaoned o:i 4eOO 1 jib of i-t aders, bo supply a 8 wire ays'; *01, toe neutral o-sioo about a third ( c<TLoer oenb. ) op Positive ana nag* t tv*, which figured out in i*ound iiurn'oers 360,000 pounds cupper,- which at 19 seats Ooaas to 8 65,400.

This is 011 the oasis oP tile present lamp, 15 to the horse power, oP 255 resistance.

I ini sending to Prof. Kenually a memorandum of our conversation with you 011 Thursday, whi'oh I verify before vour denar tore,; time to verify it, so that vie

Thanking you oil my own ing you on Thursday, I am


hope you will have time to look over and if not, I hope Prof. Kennelly oan find may have your important word in definite

ora*// yours.

(0. O. (3(rw^hcA,

First VI oe President"1.

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,

'C°TsS'l°S‘ General Office , 432 Fifth Avenue,

DISTRICT. .17.40-B! WEST 80th ST..



. . . . New York, f3'o. a, 1590 .

Prof. a. iiv Xennelly.

“Idi3on’s Laboratory. Orange, fl. J.

My dear Sir .

Ill the first plaoe let me thank you heartily for the- 1 oourtesy shorn a naw.ooaar, at the Laboratory, 011 Thursday laat. '

I fear that I left behind me the rough memoranda whioh I took of your figuring as to the copper. I should he greatly obliged if you- oould give as that in detail, for my 01m information— or eduoaiiouj I send you here.nith a memorandum of our conversation with Mr. idison, as I understood it. Kill you kindly, look over it, and verify it, noth as to the eleotrioal terms and as to the aoouraoy of the oon -

a. 'Y^a. cXxa. w****** c*i*ooo

versas ion so far as you heard it; and if it is praotioable to get. Mr . - iidison, in the little time he has at his disposal before starting, also to look over it for verification, I hope you will see that it fsi,vdone.

I look forward with pleasure to haying oooasion to ooae to the laboratory now and then, in the oourse of the solution of the important problems wnioh we are now facing in Hew York, i should' be glad' tb’ know, e.t », what is the. most convenient hour for you people at the Laboratory, .-Bhouddr,.

I have oooasion to make any inquiries without making previ dud -appoint meut, and I beg to assure you that I should take no unnecessary time in any suoh conversation. -Vihen people are .working^as Kr/idison and his o&afi are, for the good of. the world at large and posterity in general,-

small fraction

io is not fair that their time should be monopolized t of present humanity.

, Very trul/j yours, i;i

(0. (Oi. 63 trwvfog/v

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,

central stations. General- Office., 4.32 Fifth Avenue,

RICT> I 604I9LIb1rTY ST.,

0 DISTRICT, 47.40.S1 WEST SSth ST..



Aidta. Bk. 3. New York, pah. 14, 1890 .

Prof. 2.. Kennelly.

Edison’s Laboratory '

Ora ago, X J.

My dear 3ir-/t

1 have delayed thanking you for your oour teams replies to iny uorts, and for the returu of the Report -from Mr,. Edison, until after a meeting of our. Board -of Directors, - so- that .1 oould give you «or» definite word as to- the canvass; let me now thank you for your prompt oourfcssy in tha wiole matter, and repeat that it sill give me great pleasure to- ooue Into.- relation with you oaraouaUy -again when :33 have ooaaai:ou to- visit the- Laboratory. .35 understood of cour3a that Mr, Edison £3 ao/t t<r be dis¬ turbed when ha Is engaged la speoial work, and ay query was as to- the hour when I oould moat conveniently see you or other mem'oecsof the Staff, should I have oooaiJlou to come out without previous appointment.

L enclose herewith «h* average load diagram of our First Disbriot main Station, for a fair 24 hours, as oalled for in your favor to- Mr. Baggs, of February 10th, and trust it will sarve the pucpoe? required.

In regard to the eleotrioal canvass of the oortion of Sew York below Eighth Street, we find that a oanvass on the soale of that furnished to. Mr. Edison: from. Milwaukee would consume acf.au months at a very large cost, and ■would not even then be fully satisfactory as tfct percentage of the light sup¬ ply which m should be able to obtain tor till-., Ooupauy is so indeterminate in itself I have directed however, that one of Mr. Sargent's men, who- I understand Mr. Edison prefers should, be put. in charge of, any oanvass here.

Prof. A. E. Kennelly.

p. 2.

Feb. -14, 1390

should --be asked to- meet me . tu-aorrcvr morning, and am authorized by the Board .of. Directors tavstairt aroauva-as which jrauld give as an approximate - notion of the distribution of .load, and I will report te you further after my oouvaraa- tlon. with hiiiu,.

I laid the Report of the oonyaraatlon -with Mr. Edison, and your; ao - : ooinpaiiying.. letter, before the Board of Dlreotona in full,, and have tor, thank you on their behalf, •:$ shall have some further, question's to' ask' from the Laboratory in this. matter, .and shall hope during next weak- to- make a-oall on you with that purpose in view.

Again thanking you for your courteous attention, I am Very truly .yours i,

O. O. O

First Vice Pna slide at .

-(Snolosure. )

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,

General Office, 4 32 Fifth Avenue ,

SECOND OISTRICT, 47 40-51 WEST 20th ST.,

THIRD OISTRICT, 117-110 V/EST 30tm ST.,


New York ,

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,

General Office , 432 Fifth Avenue ,

. . . . c.e^~. NcivYork, . March S, I860.

■Dear Professor .Kennel ly:-

Iir vDe.w of thereoent determination of our Board of .Directors to : supply theso-oalled:53rdSt. District from the S9ttt St. Station, requiring the readjustment of the existing -feeders and the determination and laying of new connecting feeders from the 'SjJtttiStatlan, and also: of the faot that the Department of Publiic Horks proposes tooompeljus to do this work before they gat at the repaving - of- tbe streets, ;it is most important that we should have an.eariy de¬ termination -of the^aizes of feeders and mains required uptown and in our other new work and should have the beat eleotrloal advice on the subject that we oould get; Mr. Johneon has therefore proposed that we should ask you, Mr. Field, and others, a* well as those of this Company who- are informed on this part of our work, to oome together early next week @’wheil^ should have the data in shape for you to:oonf irm or modl- !fy ~ or “PWI if you please,— the general plans that will be submitted. Could .you make it convenient to bB in New York say Tuesday afternoon 93* evening, next week, and would you prefer to oome sb«- for luncheon or dtnnor, or betwixt add between ? if not Tuesday, what other day noxt week would suit you ? We oan then have everything in shape for Mr. Edison’s final word if he returns, as I hear is expaoted, the latter past of next week.

The Immediate reason for haste is the neoessity of placing •Tders at once with the Machine Works, which orders oa'n soafceely wait r Mr. Boggs’ return, as was originally planned. Mr. Kruesi is urging us

KaToh 3^. tl890..

to- give him the earliest possible word as to this season^ orderB. Truly yours,

O .Q.Qo^sWok

Pro i. A. E. Kennelly.

Edison's Laboratory.

Orange, N. J.

- ‘•-'••V- t.-i U; . r.T t -;9S is tna .i.

OT USticd if ViiU - \ it " - - f tr:.. “■ ? >».S- *. Si$$ it |*t; J ; Jjj;,

Could you »fk» It ’.vil i:- ■■ Si; i a?!*****

or ewsnlra, ».»*t p#»a, -^-r^ d~ **** ?** i*.

or dinner, #t «uf .-j-W v, *s-i. ,.3,.

next aesk W HU *■» * % ««-• t*#« **•,- *••••»?•;*?*»* **. *,»*# «**•

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i-iJiitl; .iits u*%. %r. An-sh t.: *ra*;.£ <*s*

The Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of New York,

Pro*. 'A. ’S.. Kenneliy.

Bdiaenfs Laboratory.

orange, •».. Js.

My dear Sir**-'

I thank youfor your favor of Makoh 7th returning ny report to the Dlreotors, of whloh I sbaSlbe glad to furnish a oopy to Mr. Mlson on his return as you suggest. 1 note the oorreotlons aM suggestions whloh you have kindly node and shall- be gag. pleased tobring then to- theattentionofour -Direotora^ although may their opinion is so definitely in if avor of two Stations rather than one for the dlstrlet south of Eighth street that it seems improbable the deci¬ sion in favor of two Stations will, be ohahged. Xhls opinion isoon- ****•*'^■••10* theoazperta who- harve .baon loonaolted in the natter an a nunber of questions ^ aawall as tbs aasotrioal ons^artioulariy the possibility that sone kiad of a breakdown in a single central. Station; for: that dlstrlet would loanee Inf ini to datoage.

m- trust thatyouwil&besble to ba wl tb aa at *-.16 . Broad St. on visdnssdafr at eleven oeleek when this question nay inoldentally oona up, although the :neln subftsot iter dlsoussion is one of the nop, size aM ahaTaetar of feeders >f or the uptown dlstrlot.

(ToElTY C2 c




16 tL 18 BROAD 8TREET.

New York, March ioth, 1890.

To the Stockholders of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York;

In pursuance of action taken by the stockholders, the capital stock of this Company has been increased from $2,600,000 to «4,Soo,ooo; and $2,000,000 of 5 per cent, convertible first mortgage gold bonds (interest payable semi-annually, on the first days of September and March) have been issued upon the present and future property of the Company in this City below Seventieth Street. Said bonds are part of a series of $5, 000, 000 bonds (the remainder being reserved for future extensions, and not to be issued until authorized by the stockholders), and are convertible into stock at par, at the option of their holders severally, on the 21st days of January or July in any year between 1892 and 1895 inclusive, upon ninety days notice. Should the Company be unable or fail to make such conversion, the principal of all the bonds may at once be declared due and payable with twenty per centum premium added, in addition to any interest accrued, according to the terms of the mortgage, but instead of accepting such payment the holder may insist upon such conversion if the Company be legally competent to make it.

Whenever seventy-five per centum of the bonds shall have been converted, the Com¬ pany may require the holders of the remaining bonds either to convert the same or to accept payment thereof at one hundred and ten per centum of their face value, and accrued interest, at the option of such holders severally, and at any time after 1900, whether seventy-five per centum shall have been converted or not, the Company may require the holders of the out¬ standing bonds to accept payment thereof at one hundred and ten percentum of their face value, and accrued interest.

The stock and bonds and their proceeds are intended to be used to provide for the outlays of the Company already made for the enlargement of the second and third districts uptown, and also for the fourth district, representing in all about $600,000, (partly represented by exisisting bonds which will be retired) and to make further important extensions of and additions to the system in the territory south of Seventieth Street, as may be deemed desirable by your Board of Directors.

There is urgent need for all the work now contemplated, and your Directors are of the opinion that it will add so largely to the Company’s revenue as fully to justify the estimated outlay involved.

Under arrangements made with the Edison Electric Light Company, from which this Company derives its license, the Board of Directors are enabled to offer to the stockholders of this Company the right to participate in the purchase of new bonds and stock, on the basis of $1,000 bond )

, f for $i,25o cash.

$400 stock )

The said stock is to be entitled to participate in dividends declared after January, 1891.

The said cash payment of s i .25o is to be made as follows:

#125 on application, when bonds (or scrip) for si25 will be delivered.

S25o on May ist, 1890, when bonds (or scrip) for $25o will be delivered.

#300 when called for on ten days notice by mail, but not earlier than July ist, 1890, and when such call is paid, #300 bonds (or scrip) will be delivered.

<325 when called for on ten days notice by mail, but not earlier than September ist, 1890, and when such call is paid, $325 bonds (or scrip) will be delivered.

#25o when called for on ten days notice by mail, but not earlier than December ist, 1890, and when such call is paid, $400 stock will be delivered.

Interest on bonds and payments therefor (i. e., on the first, second, third and fourth payments above set forth) will be adjusted at five per centum per annum on each delivery.

Ronds are in coupon form and for s 1 ,000 each and can be registered as to principal.

No application will be received for less than one bond and four shares of stock, and all applications must be for these amounts, or some multiple thereof.

A receipt will be issued when the first payment is made, and further payments and deliveries of securities, when and as made, will be endorsed thereon.

The instructions from the Edison Electric Light Company are that this Company shall offer the stock and bonds to its stockholders to an amount equivalent to the amount of their present holdings, as nearly as practicable, and you are accordingly notified that you are entitled to purchase on the foregoing basis, S / 0 0 0 bonds, and i jts stock, for $ /-£ S~2> In case you desire to avail of this right, you must sign and return the enclosed application to the undersigned, at the address given below, on or before April 10th, 1890, with a cheque for the first payment of #125 on each bond subscribed for, say S

plus one month and nine days interest accrued to April 10th, 1890, on # bonds, at S5.40 per bond, for which a certificate exchangeable into

bonds bearing interest from March ist, 1890, will be delivered to you at once _

In all S

Any stockholders desiring to assign their rights, may do so on the enclosed blank. Arrangements have been made to dispose elsewhere of any bonds and stock, as above, not purchased by the stockholders or their assigns.

By order of the Board of Directors,


10th, 1890. Treasurer.

New York, March


W-O . - Vcdch^

Epril 5, 1890.

<p\ L A L


My deaf Mr, Tate ;

Mr, Peabody has received your valued favor of the 3rd iat,, and asks me to write you to eay that he krill be at the Station on Tuesday evening, and if Mr, Edison ean make it eon. venient, he should be very glad to have him dine with him, as before stated.

He also wishes te say that he would like to have one or two gentlemen meet Mr. Edison, and desires to ask if there is anyone he would be pleased te meet; if yeu will name the party, Mr. Peabody will invite thasu

If you ean telephone* Monday definitely ns te Mr.

Edison* a plan#, it will be * great faver. { /uV

Mr. A. o. Tate,





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tortl MU, IM»

Thomas A. JMleon, t«Q. ,

Orange, M. J.

Mjr dear Mr. Edison i

t have to thank you for th» hour | while you sera under eu»h pressure of work, and to g delight to find that, contrary to the usual eaperieaaw with tha inventive temperament, the * Wisard of Invent iaft wswalao ft business man Of far-seeing views', and she s*wM %

business point*.


I confess that* with war aloes frpiMt M> -f

got your idea of a canvas* as I had sot grasped it to Um gSMMl conversation of sous weeks ego, X now nndTSl— wfcatpsa want

9T9 two maifi fifcjt* r

first t The msgisHm lighting at early dark, «f the shortest

days, say at M#K 1, December lBth, so as tw gisw thssaseat sf copper rsfuiwsd for the magi mm lead, whish esppor egg to wtosoM «s« for a 35 par e*«t, drop at that tins, since ooly t wwVper sent, drop would Ms involved at other seasons of tW fWSCW

8soond 1 The number or lamp hours, to- girs you the prwhaMw fast* of the money income.

X understand that eueh a canvass can bo Mtdo by ffrtrt-

Tfcoaae A* Wen* %

mation at any tine of the year Ay Dlltiu f*r (Mm« Ida »Mg> WwtCd an mr or ttto earlier in the gag* .$£■£** ':h ? fr

1 Have tHie nerving Man Mr, Naetinga *Wl«A« mm T the mj>s for tHe previous oanraea «f whiah yon apiMl, Aa* g* having bine prints aaie from the eioth oepieei Mr, neatft^fg Ham titm directed * teireh to be mde far the original ••araeeiag hneke, eMeh he *uppas*» to m in a eault in the tredaee Baanataga, f w intending also to give order* this nf tornado In fat ataw£geed tm ▼aasers m import mi atnteta, Ota year pSaa, to gee Hao fAf ttaay gira different reaaUA groat tin mm oflya aM He* far i«*Aey «* eaeadeers to martui tha territory*. ,

* **•«*'** te Aina Heaoyart that yea aggnmgiediao paeniiawtitH vtaldH oak# a scientific deterttnaaaoa l*felfe%#tor* leea available tftaa In neat Villa*, in |Ha aaaat laamian of a station* As yon ***, property n often htM VMM* •«* !*£ *»a* OHJ1 Hettaaae it la not ttw Ugi ^l«M «T-— -gr «n M, aa Ml

Uoioa ym gamier any «~*nl%t Mgttta* i*r#erta*«gnevtat n* ***** at «iH Bae&Ada ^ Mf>« e* Hi^gaa.oaoar to tea aa* development ef *aaa <jfd*r par* a of tea -pity, *htl» go «da ottaor hand, there eta certain dietnete, ata«h go the mmHmi Henf* quarter*, «k*re there la no “fttftnr of « OMMM'/aH« 4m«i ******** t9* Xightiag* Again there ia «a**a» ee*emie» la Ago Ter*, end while f held ft»U* n«H yea that the Motion gyeteo Hefre the winning ward in the long fta « else t ahonld aet kna

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•OM into it - 1 do sot think m ooa #** *** •***ot«l» diatasoo «r oom potitor* to tho «itnt «f getting all *«- HjMlM lb m

hkhda. Homomr thorn tho *}«n( of Brookiyn, for iMtiMt, tho pooplo Old not

oxpeotod th*jr would, so that tho tatlMM It lVt|Hfcir || motlwr direction from that whloh waa oapootad* and Mm or tfc tM |)Mon are taking the groatar part of tho huoisodt, loOVlaf SOWS* Or eight Othortf 'working aw eh below tholr mi toots.

m viww of au thio, wit hr wool or *M« t asdovstswl goo t# «*r*o, *no in Yiww of tho ftjrtnor ra«t thotss tihmi,u till* •rcngtotf altr, hnf roal owtato just Whom on want i% tat aaat taka What nan got, and that vo ham to go Into aortal* ofwSstOriefct •wag hofor* tawing coanonooo, I ham boas ooat *uiatt»*t^gof

*ppr»*i**tv Wn»armi6«t i«no Whiwh mooli tmitf tho aiMAM Mn> faapodly nwfO In Ineeting tho uptown otstigaa am m ostihlfc so to fig on •*• downtown ktation loa&tlsa ah* got how a«M( Aoso is mm of the st foots Y*tho*t 40lk|« A. eh duty mold prowast «sr gottisg dfcopo rail to Asm sow, oo our m* oapitrt, «i>t ao is had poaiuoo in the safkot. -u

if we wot^isJ sstss $w soot or thd stvwot*, ao Aw bass planned, thorn will « Vi don tig bo Ssoogh ooppor #*r alSOSt Mf *•*"* of taaimas, otpoeisil, with tho domlopmst or t*a u*

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thing* wall «l<ma far ov* Spring and tutor «*■«• ** •• to tt**? ’- tb* eoopoo t ia good bttMttftr «at*g», «ti«, f »U**f M

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April aath, 1030.

Thomas A, Edison, Raq.,

Orange, N„ d.

My dear Sir :

I thank y <m tor your rarer tad note yon* word to confer With Mr, Henderson on thd remits of oaWaee ha fore they done to you,

you kindly )et oh- knqd whether you hays tried the experiment* in the laboratory stash Tith the electrified vires for eatohing the solid product* or Coobuetiqn, TW may be Interested to khow that we tried * wire gauze et the top Of the k taek in the Sftth Street station with fair audosse until the «et vest her same, vhen the water accumulated about the Wires of the netting to eneh an extant as to interfere with the tr*ft tery ns rl on sly, and to rsquire the immediate removal of the netting to glee sufficient steam for the engine*. W* are now propoeing to try a wire netting at tha bottom of the steak, boV should be glad to base earliest word from you autborlzlng us to go forward with your auggsatioa if the plaa works successfully.

We are replacing the leather belting with cotton faced belting to decided ad rant age, and ar# also about tOitry placing a layer of hair felt under ths dynamos to remedy any possible com-

'fhftmas A, Bdieon, Sscj* 2,

municatioti of vibrations from than to the walls of ths Wilding* tfc* Wow sahanot hood on th* Qbth Street Station, of *hl*!h t ehowad you th» vl«^r has mitigated ttw hdise considerably but not ourod it, ad yon indicated, pbtf are proposing to go forward with the plane tq* throwing thh into a tank of some

afort additional to that already in oks at the station, either in tha shape or a oietorn in-tfts yard, or a not typo of heater, or a tank of ordinary Oflirtstruotioft.

^ mention thaws poihid so that you may posted jnat as to whftt srp <tp*ftg In the In^ftotion oO*e.

th»ly you re,


Jfcn- A' '/,

New York City, May 7, 1890.

Dear Mr. Edison:

ti inmf. +• Please find enclosed our opinion rendered to t

Illuminating Co. regarding nuisance caused by vibration or nois You may be interested to see what the established rules of law are as regards nuisances from these causes.

Very t




MESS. 'EATON '& LEWIS, upon Nuisances by Vibration and Noise. prepared for the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York.

Dated, May 5th, 1890.



This opinion is prepared for the general information of the Officers of the Company, and not as an exhaustive treatise upon the sub-’ jeot of nuisances, or upon the special kind of nuisanoes produced by vi¬ bration and noise. We have not, therefore, attempted to review all the cases upon the subject, even within this jurisdiction. The authorities cited are such only as express what seem to us to be settled ’legal con¬ clusions, and to have a practical bearing upon what the officers of the Company may have occasion to practically consider. ,v: i",


The general nature of an actionable nuisance.

For the purpose of the kind of nuisance which alone we nefjd

practically consider, a nuisance may be defined as such unlawful use of real property by the owner or occupier thereof as will unreasonably in-' jure or annoy the owner or oocupier of other real property in the vicineige. It will be noticed that this definition speaks of an unreasonable an-‘ noyance. It is not every use of property., resulting in a certain amount of annoyance to others that will constitute an actionable nuisance. Every dweller in a great city is, to some extent, annoyed by certain of the vibrations and sounds Incident to city life. Almost every occupation is productive of a certain amount of 'discomfort for those around. Thus even the retail shop with the crowds that commonly resort to it and with : the transportation of goods from and to it, would be productive of somV "V annoyance to the dwellers of a quiet residential neighborhood. Probably, however, such a shop has never been held to be a nuisance. On the other hand, an ordinary stable would undoubtedly be considered a nuisance under the same condition, provided it were a public stable, conducted as such stables commonly are. This distinction illustrates the view which the Courts now uniformly take-that the whole thing is a matter of common, sense to be determined by the surroundings and conditions. Exaotly where the line is to be drawn is a thing in part to be determined by previous



decisions, and in part by the special circumstances of the case as it arises.

We shall not speak either of public nuisances that is, nuisances affecting a great number of people in a similar way -or of- things which are nuisances per se, except to distinguish, the. cases which we have to consider., from the latter class of nuisances.

I I.

The question of neighborhood as affecting the law of nuisance,

[al Neighborhood.

As to what is a reasonable use of one's property must necessari¬ ly depend upon the oiroumstanoes of each case, for a use for a particular purpose and in a particular way, in one locality., that would be lawful and reasonable, might be unlawful and a nuisance in another."

Wood on Nuisance, 2nd Ed. Sec. 2.

Nor is this question to be entirely determined by the nature of the neighborhood when the structure is erected. Thus where a slaughter house had been erected without the confines of the city and the oity had grown around it, it was held to have beoome a' private nuisance.

. Brady vs. Weeks, 3 Barb. 158. .

A corresponding rule holds where the case is reversed. Thus in Doellner vs. Tynan, 58 How. .Prao. 178. the action was for an injunction.

The plaintiff dwelt upon the portion of the block between Stuyvesant Street and 2nd Avenue, on 9th Street, New York City. He purchased his property in 1885. Defendant purchased premises adjoining in 1867 and erected an extensive horse-shoeing place. The .proof was ample to show that by the noise, soot, the presence of horses &c.., the place was an¬ noying, to adjoining residents. At the time of action brought [1889,1 there was but one house used as a dwelling house exclusively., on the south side of that portion of the1 block, and none on the north side. The place was partly occupied by stables, and partly by carpenter shops &c. In some cases there were people dwelling over the shops. It did not ap- *

pea'r that the market value for plaintiff's place had been depreciated.



but it did conclusively appear that defendant's place was more or less annoying, in a substantial degree. It seemed that the block had been of a more residential character when plaintiff's purchased. The Court held that the business was not a nuisance per se. Whether or not it was a nuisance under existing condition was a question of evidence, and the Court held that the evidence did not show it to be such. The Court said, after citing cases; "These cases illustrate and sustain the pro-1 "position that an action will not lie, if a lawful trade, which may be "offensive to persons living in the vicinity, is carried on at a proper "and suitable place. As there cannot be any legalization of a nuisance "by prescription, and as all offensive trades which have been carried on "without complaint in parts of the city., remote at the time, must yield "to the advance of improvement; and although unobjectionable when begun, "have since become detrimental to the full enjoyment of other property., "must nevertheless be removed to other parts; so, I think, that where a "street in a city ceases to be used or occupied as a place of residence, "and is changed into a place of business, no one or two persons, who may "for any reason, desire to continue a resident therein, or shall persist “in continuing to reside therein, should be allowed to prevent the carry-i "ing on of a lawful and useful trade, merely because they are or may be. “subject to annoyance, or even loss thereby. Better that they Should go elsewhere, than that the public should be inconvenienced by arrest¬ ing a necessary and useful business, and the trade of an artisan broken "up."

Finishing steam boilers so 'that a considerable noise was created, and adjoining tenants annoyed, the work being conducted in a compact part of the City of Albany, was held to be a nuisance.

Fish vs. Dodge, 4 Denial 311.

So with Smelting Works, properly conducted but annoying.

•Tipping vs. StHelens Smelting Co. 4 B. & S. 116.

A marble factory on Bleeker Street, New York City., operated by Steam and causing a vibration, was enjoined, although the neighborhood was, apparently, not one very much used for residential purposes.

-The number of cases bearing upon this point is enormous. In


fact, every case of nuisance, where the nuisance is not one of a nuisance per se. illustrates the point.

[bl Change of neighborhood, and question of first occupancy.

It does not seem to make any essential difference whether the person complaining of the nuisance came to the neighborhood before the nuisance, or rather the business creating the nuisance, was started.

Some of the oases cited above illustrate this point. Thus in Doellner v. Tynan, Supra, the plaintiff came to the neighborhood to reside, before the defendant set up his blacksmith shop.

On the other hand, in Elliotson v. Feetham, 2 Bing. W. C. 154, the defendant's manufacturing establishment had been under way for ten years before plaintiff came to the neighborhood to dwell. The neighbor¬ hood had meanwhile become, to some extent, a residential one. The defendant was enjoined.

In Campbell, vs. Seaman, 65 N. Y. 538 the action was for damages and an injunction. The plaintiffs had owned their land at a place on

the Hudson about six miles below Albany, from 1845, It was then waste land. A few years afterward the defendants erected a brick kiln upon his adjoining land. In burning the bricks he used a great quantity of anthracite coal., that