National Historical Park New Jersey
June 10, 2014
Leonard and Alice Puffer worked for Edison for a combined 48 years from 1920 when Leonard started as a simple time clerk to the time Alice retired in 1967. Oral history testimony was gathered from Leonard Puffer in 1979, though it unfortunately did not include much from Alice. Nonetheless, the breadth of work completed by this couple puts them in strong contention for Employees of the Month.
After his beginnings as a time clerk and a short stint in the rolling mill, Puffer was put in charge of shipping miscellaneous orders in the storage battery division. In 1921, due to what Puffer called a "big depression," he was laid off. Though technically no longer employed for Edison, Puffer came in to work anyway to finish back orders. That got him a meeting with Charles Edison who quickly rehired Puffer and put him in charge of publishing a small internal newsletter entitled The Daily Flash.
Not long after, Edison pulled him off his duties with The Daily Flash and tasked him with implementing a new distribution system for phonograph dealers. Puffer travelled extensively out west meeting with Edison dealers, including in Indianapolis, Des Moines, San Francisco, Texas, Montana, and New Orleans.
Alice Puffer began working in 1924, married Leonard, and had two children. According to Alice, "When the children start[ed] their school I went back again and I was there until I retired [in 1967]. Alice later served on the Historical Research Department, which sought to prepare the laboratory as a museum. Alice organized and re-filed the papers and correspondence of Edison's secretary, William H. Meadowcroft.
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