W2671 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from William Dunn
[Written at top of letter:]
Jan 23 1885
From: New York
I wrote you the other day relative to the "Coupler" question. Since then I have decided, influenced by advice, to bring the Coupler to the notice of all the leading Car Mfrs [Manufacturers] apart from Master Car Builders of R. Roads. More especially those establishments that supply any Cars for either the States of Conn[ecticut] or Mass[achussetts] or other states that are making Safety Couplers compulsary. All cars made by or for any railroad in Mass. after March will have to be equipped with some "Accepted" Safety-Coupler. Of course it can be seen now as the time to [move??]. Because after a manufacturer has selected an endorsed any device it will be more difficult to interest him in another, than when at liberty to distinguish and select before committing himself. The value of the Device is going to depend on the popularity that can be created for it, within the immediate few months.1 This is the opinion formed from conversations with those who are versed on the subject, and also favor reading the many articles on the subject. I should if possible go to Boston at once and see the Commissioners and stop at the Mason Car Works Brightwood near Springfield, to which I can get a letter of introduction. And I propose corresponding with all the Car Mfrs. Companies and endeavour to bring the subject to their notice. The reducing the number to those of which I forwarded copies out of the large number of competitors that were at Boston is I consider a decided advantage because it will have a tendency to wipe out the worthless, and permit more attention to those that are practical.
Having in view the importance of prompt action I have had work done on the Models so as to show the principle of the device to the best advantage and ought to have a full sized Coupler. This however would not cost much because I should have everything "cast." There being a Steel Foundry near here, I have been prompted to trouble you with this. Knowing the importance of the subject and having devoted a great deal of study &c tothe subject. As stated before to carry this thing out with any prospect of success, delay should be avoided. But to be able to prosecute the [??] requires funds that I have not got at present owing to circumstances before explained. I have thus explained as briefly the true position of affairs. Apart from the necessity of acting without delay with the Coupler [sic]. [Open??] arrangements entered into with other parties & I cannot devote my time after a couple ofweeks so exclusively to the business are as much as it would demand for economy or success, as I can at the present, you will confer a favor by giving as early an answer as possible as to which course to pursue.
Wm [William] Dunn
[Written vertically across text on last page--likely a post-script:]
I have spent [over??] a month of almost continuous labor perfecting the plans counteracting every possible defect so as to overcome every possible objection as to length of [Link??] Cost, Number of pieces etc. For this I have been aided by studying the objections that have been raised against the others and from extended views gained by comparison. The Drawings have not been retrieved yet. So I am preparing others [so?] I push forward the application for a Patent.
1 Dunn had already had a patent on a train car coupler and was now trying to patent an improvement on it so that he could sell it to railroad companies before they chose another type of coupler (W1707, W1711, W1712, W2656, W2667, W1532, W2675, W1714, W1716, W1721, W1741). It is not certain how much success he had, he had been unable to make much money on the original couplers or other devices he had patents for and Isaac, who had been investing money into Dunn's endeavours, was losing money and patience. By April of 1885, Calvin Brooks and his brother Isaac were considering suing Dunn for his failure to repay money owed to Isaac (W1734, W1745) but it is not clear whether or not they actually did this. For more on Dunn, see W2554a.