THOMAS A. EDISON, CHARLES EDISON, HARRY F. MILLER, STEPHEN B. MAMBERT and J.W. ROBINSON Minutes of a 1920 Board of Directors meeting, largely relating to Edison's phonograph, signed by Edison, his son and several Board members.

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Condition: lightly creased, slightly soiled, otherwise fine condition
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Minutes of a 1920 Board of Directors meeting, largely relating to Edison's phonograph, signed by Edison, his son and several Board members.
Typed Document Signed: "Charles Edison" as Chairman of the Board, "Thos A Edison", "Stephen B. Mambert" and "H.F. Miller" as Directors and "J W. Robinson" as Secretary of Thomas A. Edison, Inc. on page stamped 53, 2½p, 8x11, front and verso. West Orange, New Jersey, 1920 September 7. Pages 51-53 of a Corporate Minutes book. Headed: "MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE BOARD OF THOMAS A. EDISON, INC." This document relates to a number of areas: Power Service Division, Export Division, Disc Re-Creation Division, Wax Division and Musical Phonograph Division, most of which relate to Edison's favorite invention, the phonograph. The Power Service Division relates to an amendment of a contract with the Imperial Coal Corporation. The Export division relates to "the cancellation of Schedules covering deliveries of Bates Numbering Machines during November, December, 1920 and January 1921". The Disc Re-Creation Division discusses the "purchase of 17,000 pounds of Phenol Resin from the Wax Division of Thomas A. Edison, Inc." The Wax Division discusses the "execution of a contract for our requirements of Formaldehyde Solution for August, September, October, November and December 1920". The Musical Phonograph Division discusses "Purchase of National Disc Advertising in General Magazines", "Purchase of Disc Farm Paper Advertising", "Purchase of 892 reams White High Machine Finish, White-stone Enamel" and "Purchase of 300,000 Amberol Record Catalogs from Essex Press". Thomas A. Edison, Inc. had been incorporated in 1911 as an "umbrella" organization for Edison's many companies. In 1926, inventor THOMAS A. EDISON would step down as President of Thomas A. Edison, Inc. to become Chairman of the Board. His second son, CHARLES EDISON, who had served as Chairman of the Board for a number of Edison companies, took over the presidency. Charles would later serve as FDR's Secretary of the Navy and Governor of New Jersey. The invention of the phonograph is attributed to Edison in 1877. Although Edison would later say the phonograph was one of his favorite inventions, he paid little attention to it for ten years, but then organized the Edison Phonograph Company (1887) and The Edison Phonograph Works (1888). In the decade of 1910-1920, the phonograph became a mass medium for popular music, and many companies, including Edison's, worked on improving the quality of the recording, making recordings on discs rather than the wax cylinders that Edison had first used (Edison had grudgingly began manufacturing disc records in 1912 after finally realizing that was what the public wanted). Edison also became involved in the aesthetics of his machine, purchasing the Wisconsin Cabinet and Panel Company to produce wooden cabinets for his phonograph in 1917. However, the presence of radio in the mid-1920s (which provided free music), combined with the economic depression, caused phonograph sales to decline, despite the increase in sales mentioned in this document. In the fall of 1920, less than two years after his company was able to offer a dividend, Edison, in the wake of the post-war economic downturn, initiated an "economy campaign" that led to the dismissal or resignation of several top managers and a drastic reduction in his manufacturing labor force. Edison then essentially disbanded his phonograph business, consolidating it into Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1924. HARRY F. MILLER (1860-1950) began his association with the Edison laboratory in 1888, becoming Edison's private secretary (1908-1910). He was also assistant treasurer for the Edison Phonograph Works, the National Phonograph Company, the Edison Manufacturing Company and the Bates Manufacturing Company and became Treasurer of Thomas A Edison Inc. in 1916, serving until his retirement in 1937. STEPHEN B. MAMBERT, who had been named efficiency engineer of Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1915, served as a financial executive for Edison. Lightly creased. Slightly rippled at blank left margins, where a strip of paper is affixed. Slightly soiled. Fine condition.

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