W2589 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from William Dunn
Oct 31 1883
To: Hamilton, Ont
From: New York
I.B. McQuesten Esq
In my long letters of yesterday I did not perhaps go as much into the question of the Sett in the subject demanded. And I write more particularly because I think you may have misapprehended my object in starting to make those new machines. This thought has arisen from the recurring to my recollection a question or rather a remark made by you on Saturday. As to the object being merely to pay expense and considering an ample explanation being due you in the excuse for further taking out your time in reaching this.1
As stated at other times I found by experience that to canvas successfully and without embarrassment the canvasser must know where the traveling expenses are to come from. Now a person would not expect direct realization from the sale of the Setts because in the first place he could not take a quantity with him to deliver at once. And if he could perchance as a rule would want to try them (And the longer they are tried are better liked) From experience I saw the difficulty respecting the meeting of these expenses. And the next question was how to overcome it. With this object in view I got out the machine & was not to "cater" to a fondness for getting out new devices. But to meet a requirement The machines or tools are directly connected with the same line of business as the "Sett." And when the interests of the Sett calls the Agent an opportunity is afforded to introduce them without loss of time, money as determined of any kind. And are articles that can be shown at once and decided on. And the Bulk and weight as such it would make the Agent to take them with him without inconvenience. And the sake of one Forge a day would over and about the actual cost of it more than pay the [adding??] expenses of the Agent. Thus enabling him to sell the "Sett" at a much less commission and instead of interfering with its sale would be a decided assistance in furthering the matter. These conclusions are the result of experience.
By admitting that I put them out to pay expenses I did not mean by that I expected them to do no more. I meant it was the direct motive that induced me to do it without delay. But I see no reason why much more than merely paying expenses should not come out then. As I am in hopes that they can be sold to the trade. If so the result would be satisfactory. The Forge is a decided necessity, By a coincidence, I received yesterday a Magazine ([Progress??] & Wood-Worker) and it had an extract confined from an English Paper in Brazing2 Saws and the difficulties Showing why Gas was objectionable and the necessity of something With respect to the cost of their Tools The Trimmer has about recouped itself already. Of course I have a quantity of material for more. That having on hand I do not charge against them. I mean that what I have sold have more then paid for themselves and the expenses incidental to making the first lot. Of the Forge I have now more orders than will cover the entire outlay. By this I mean cost of making Patterns &c. completing the machines. It is not necessary to say that in the first lot of any kind of machinery. The Patterns is a very important item [sic]. You may wonder how I expect to realize on them with so little expense as cutting at the start. The reason is obvious The machines are small requiring no special machinery to make and there is an abundant of parties here always ready to take small jobs at reasonable figures, another reason is I am in the center of a market for all articles. I have thus as candidly as possible given you the plain facts of the case. Before choosing this subject, I might add, I have no intention of Patenting these articles before they amply pay for themselves even if I do them. I am about through in that line. I am not a monomaniac on the subject as many so-called inventors are.
With regard to the Setts whether my coming here will result in alternate beneficial results or not, time will tell. I have learned a considerable that may possibly be of use to me hereafter. As to-the cost of the trial, that can be replaced by by [sic] the means. I explained in my letter of Saturday evening, Should you find a competent person to handle the Setts which I eventually hope will be done. The better way for you add all parties would be to have them done by the price or contract. There has been a large outlay for getting the proper appliances ready for making the machines successfully. And not to use them would be to sacrifice a great deal of valuable property. The cost in money and labor being considerable but necessary to the business Of the merits of the machine it is not necessary to speak having explained that fully. I might say, however, that not any of the machines that were sold outside of New York, subject to approval but what gave satisfaction. The difficulties here were explained since there is no risk in manufacturing the machine. The only thing is to have it right. The machines can be sold to Dealers but they want a larger discount. The question is whether it would be better to give that and sell more machines or not. There are many of the parts that could be made much cheaper here than they cost me. This I also spoke of before. If you deemed it advisable I will get these parts made and furnish the machines complete at so much each and it is needless to say That I would be interested enough in the matter to have each machines as perfect as possible. The machines on hand can be easily disposed of. Why I did not pursue the setting and go on than places where there would be a demand. I have also explained at present length and I think when considering the matter once you will see that under the circumstances I could not do otherwise than was done. I might say here Had I been merely an apart selling those machines here with no further interest than to get the commission. My course would have been altogether different but I wanted to establish the reputation of it by putting the endorsement of the leading firms as to its merits. The result has been told whether it will be the means of furthering sales in other funds or not. I cannot possibly say But endorsements so assist other classes of manufacture and I do not see why this should be an exception.
My reason for referring to subsequent manufacture is this; An agent, supplied with a sufficiency of funds for traveling expenses would not be long in disposing of the machines on hand. And then there would have to be a wait for a replenishing whereas by getting these small parts ready, the putting them together would not take long to make out a supply as there is every thing on hand for doing the work. And in fixing a price for supplying the machines completed I would be guided exactly by the actual cost and what I deserved a fair or rather low recompense for my labor. This you will see would be nothing but what I would have a right to expects. And this course would avoid all dissatisfaction and matters would be on a business basis. Should you consent to this proposition I should at once commence to get estimates for the parts of the work So as to enable me to give a fixed price. The machines on hand ought to and will furnish the wherewithal to replace 100 machines. Thus putting the business [??] a more satisfactory footing for all concerned. I received a number of machines yesterday by Express which are somewhat soiled in transit. But are good machines if you wish. I will clean one out and send as I was instructed to do some time ago. In furthering the sales the first thing required is new circulars of this I also wrote sometime ago, I do not know that there is anything else to explain having exhausted the subject pretty. With regard to the Forge I have not as yet decided what course to pursue, preferring to wait until I had explained the matter fully to you and await your opinion respecting the subject. As for the manufacture that can be accomplished but being somewhat interested in both there might be a "clash" when they should properly be handled together. For the sake of economy And I truly think for little outlay and quick returns the hope is of some consideration. It is conceded here that small articles involving little labor pay the best.
1 Dunn is frequently explaining himself to Isaac and it is clear that by this time, Isaac was becoming quite impatient with and even suspicious of Dunn, who never seemed to make any significant profits from the sale of his patents. See W2554a for more details.
2 Brazing, a method of joining metal parts using nonferrous filler metals with high melting points such as copper, silver, and aluminum alloys. Brazing differs from soldering by using a higher temperature and unlike welding, the parts are not melted. Brazing is best for dissimilar or thinner metal parts and for parts difficult to weld or solder.