“By this time Edison was nearly starved. With such limited resources he gave solemn thought to what he should select that would be most satisfying. He decided to buy apple dumplings and coffee, and in telling afterward of his first real ‘eats’ in New York, Mr. Edison said he never had anything that tasted so good.
“Just as young Ben Franklin, on arriving in New York City from Boston, looked for a job in a printing office, the youthful modern inventor applied for work in a telegraph office there. As there was no vacancy and he needed the rest of his borrowed dollar for meals, Edison found lodging in the battery room of the Gold Indicator Company.
“It was four years after the Civil War and, besides there being much unemployment, the fluctuations in the value of gold, as compared with the paper currency of that day, made it necessary to have gold ‘indicators’ something like the tickers from the Stock Exchange to-day. Dr. Laws, presiding officer of the Gold Exchange, had recently invented a system of gold indicators, which were placed in brokers’ offices and operated from the Gold Exchange.
“When Edison got permission to spend the night in the battery room of this company, there were about three hundred of these instruments operating in offices in all directions in lower New York City.
“On the third day after his arrival, while sitting in this office, the complicated instrument sending quotations out on all the lines made a very loud noise, and came to a sudden stop with a crash. Within two minutes over three hundred boys—–one from every broker’s office in the street—rushed upstairs and crowded the long aisle and office where there was hardly room for one-third that number, each yelling that a certain broker’s wire was out of order, and that it must be fixed at once.
“It was pandemonium, and the manager got so wild that he lost all control of himself. Edison went to the indicator, and as he had already studied it thoroughly, he knew right where the trouble was. He went right out to see the man in charge, and found Dr. Laws there also—the most excited man of all!
“The Doctor demanded to know what caused all the trouble, but his man stood there, staring and dumb. As soon as Edison could get Laws’ attention he told him he knew what the matter was.
“‘Fix it! Fix it! and be quick about it!’ Dr. Laws shouted.
“Edison went right to work and in two hours had everything in running order. Dr. Laws came in to ask the inventor’s name and what he was doing. When told, he asked the young man to call on him in his office the next day. Edison did so and Laws said he had decided to place Edison in charge of the entire plant at a salary of three hundred dollars a month!
“This was such a big jump from any wages he had ever received that it quite paralyzed the youthful inventor. He felt that it was too much to last long, but he made up his mind he would do his best to earn that salary if he had to work twenty hours a day. He kept that job, making improvements and devising other stock tickers, until the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company consolidated with the Gold Indicator Company.”