Talking Doll FAQ - Business, Corporate, and Legal Matters

What was the business relationship among Thomas Edison, W. W. Jacques, and the Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Company (EPTMCo)?

In exchange for royalties, Thomas Edison licensed Lowell C. Briggs and W. W. Jacques "to make and sell phonograph dolls & figures & not phonographs," as an authorized application under Edison's basic phonograph patent.

Agreement re Phonograph for Dolls and Toy Figures, Thomas A. Edison with Lowell C. Briggs and William W. Jacques. "Original Domestic" contract. Signed October 1, 1887.

A similar "Original Foreign" contract was signed by the same parties on November 25, 1887.

Briggs and Jacques assigned their personal rights to EPTMCo, on April 4, 1888.

As of November 1, 1889, Edison was the leading EPTMCo shareholder, owning 14,000 shares.

Who founded EPTMCo?

Lowell C. Briggs and William W. Jacques. Their Certificate of Organization for EPTMCo was filed on October 27, 1887, in the State of Maine.

Ray Wile in ARSC Journal 19:2-3 (1987) 30

EPTMCo had ties to three cities: Boston, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and New York, New York. How?

Boston, MA

Briggs and Jacques resided in Boston, as did most of the people who invested in EPTMCo.

The company's Boston office was located at 95 Milk Street (Room 73). It is noteworthy that The American Bell Telephone Company also had offices at 95 Milk Street. Jacques was directly employed by the Telephone Company, in Boston, between 1880 and 1886.

Portland, ME

EPTMCo was incorporated in the state of Maine and held their Annual Meetings of the Stockholders at the office of Clarence Hale (Clerk of EPTMCo): 39 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine.

New York, NY

The "Office of The Edison Phonograph Toy Mfg. Co." was established at 138 Fifth Avenue, New York City, by December 1889—after Edgar S. Allien was named General Manager for the United States. (Allien resided in New York.)

Who funded EPTMCo?

Affluent Bostonians, for the most part. "The comparatively small list of stockholders shows that the stock is held in large blocks and by prominent Boston bankers and business men as an investment and not for speculation." (Boston Advertiser, March 16, 1889.)

Last updated: April 25, 2015

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