From Lars Magnus to Hilda, August 8 1885
New York, August 8, 1885
My little beloved Hilda
I sent a few words to you from Chicago on the 26th … and I am sorry that I have not written a word since then, which you will be kind enough to forgive.
Wikström came to Chicago and was host at yet another farewell dinner, so that we did not leave until the 27th for Cleveland, where, in addition to the telephone company, we also inspected the impressive Bruch Company workshops for electrical lighting. All went well. A quick visit to Buffalo followed where we only studied the telephone exchange. On the 29th we were once again here visiting the Edison Company workshops, the lighting station and as much more as time allowed, leaving on Saturday evening the 1st … to Boston where we in but a short time saw much, even having the honour of visiting with Edison, Gilleland and other important folks, as well as Thomson Houston’s factories for lighting. Best of all was the fact that we were able to sneak into the telephone exchange where after so many sacrifices and exertions were finally able to see, though briefly, the newest Multiple Tables (the so-called double-deck tables) which have so far have only come into use in America. The 4th and 5th we were in Philadelphia, the 6th in Haresburg [sic] and the 7nth – or late in the evening once again here. Positively enough our health has so far been rather good, though we have taken turns at not feeling quite right.
When we travelled to Boston, Meurling was rather weak enough that we were quite worried. In Philadelphia it was my turn and I was really concerned as to where this could lead. Even Cedergren felt poorly the night we spent in Haresburg. But Thanks to God, we are now all hale and hearty. For those not used to it, the climate is hard – it has been 37 degrees warm and at other times so cool that we have needed coats.
We have had the opportunity of seeing many great things that only this country can offer, but little is seen that can be useful.
It is true that we have seen as much as we have managed in the light area, but as I am not involved in this industry, it has not interested me greatly. However, the telephone area is not what we at home so eagerly expect, but mostly rather poorly, probably due to the fact that the patent conditions have made all competition impossible.
Everything with the name Bell branches off the same tree and therefore all with common interests and purpose to control the telephone systems worldwide. Should something new appear, they are as one at holding it secret so that it will not belong to some other group and have been careful to enter a notice in the technical journal Electrical Review that their Swedish competition Cedergren & Ericsson are in the US to pick up telephone news. Though the notice was published somewhat too late to have a general effect, it has still ensured that we have not got access to many exchanges if we use the official channels. So we must be satisfied with what we have seen in this area and spend the coming days studying the Weston manufacture of light-related material, as well as whatever else we can find on the electrical area.
Thank you dear You for both letters I have so enjoyed receiving. The accident affected me deeply and I sympathise strongly with the Nilssons. I hope the boy will not have permanent effects from it. And it makes me even gladder that my little Hilda and the little ones are well; I so long to return to You and look forward with joy that the day is so close when we turn our travels towards our homeland - the days do pass if the weather is good, but even so the long ocean journey is still very tedious for me. Today the body of General Grant has been attended to his burial by an incalculable number – it has been a general holiday and much pomp.
Many kisses to you, my little Wife, and to our little ones, as well as hearty greetings to the Anderssons and everyone from your affectionate Husband.
Author: Lars Magnus Ericsson, original manuscript