Letter signed, with autograph postscript, to Latimer Clark. Elisha Gray.

Letter signed, with autograph postscript, to Latimer Clark

Publisher Information: New York: 1875.

Gray, Elisha (1835-1901). L.s., with autograph postscript, to Latimer Clark. New York, September 29, 1875. 1 page. 255 x 205 mm. Traces of mounting on verso, some spotting, small tears in left margin (not affecting text). Provenance: Latimer Clark.

Elisha Gray, a prolific inventor of telegraph and other electrical devices, was a founder of the firm Barton and Gray, an ancestor of the Western Electric Company. In July 1875 Gray obtained two patents for a system of "electro-harmonic telegraphy" for transmitting musical tones as a means of increasing the number of messages that could be sent over a single wire. This led him to consider the possibility of a device that could transmit speech by wire, and on February 14, 1876, he filed a caveat (a confidential report of an invention not yet fully perfected) for such a device with the United States Patent Office, just hours after the filing of Alexander Graham Bell's patent application for a speaking telephone. Gray's and Bell's patents were later the subject of a bitter infringement battle, which ended with the court's determination that the Bell telephone patents were valid. Although deeply disappointed by this outcome, Gray continued to invent electrical devices, including the "telautograph," an ancestor of the facsimile machine.

Gray's letter to Clark reads as follows:

I have made an arrangement with Mr. Cyrus Field, by which he purchases one third of all our Patents except that in Great Britain, and of that I propose to transfer to him one third of my own half. We intend taking immediate steps forward pushing forward the sale of rights and instruments, and we are confident that he can render valuable assistance in these efforts.

I hope you will at once signify your approval of the sale to him of the share in the English patents.

Have you any news to give me or any plans to propose?

I remain, Dear Sir, Yours truly, Elisha Gray

PS: Please answer care Cyrus W. Field 145 Broadway, New York

It appears from both this letter and from Field's letter to Clark of December 9, 1875, that Clark had an interest in some of Gray's patents. Origins of Cyberspace 147.

Very Good. Book Id: 40726

Price: $1,250.00

See all items by