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He is a quiet old man, more given to work than talk. He never speaks in public, not even at such occasions as the dedication of a boulder bearing his name upon the site of his great beginnings (at Menlo Park, N. J.) ( TIME, May 25). So the guests at the annual dinner of the Old Time Telegraphers, held last week in Manhattan on the docked S. S. Olympic, were astonished and delighted to learn that he had consented to break his rule this once.

A radio microphone was brought before him, for the speech was to be very public indeed. The saloon hushed. Putting his lips close to the instrument, Thomas Alva Edison delivered himself of one of the briefest addresses in history; an address known by heart by all kinds and conditions of men, the wide world over; an address which Mr. Edison helped to compose half a century ago out of a rough draft from the brain of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. With blue eye a-twinkle, said Mr. Edison: “Hello.”

There was at the dinner, one Richard Hutchinson. Him Mr. Edison shook warmly by the hand, joined in reminiscent laughter. It was years ago, when Edison was a verdant cub on the telegraph desk of a Boston newspaper, that he was set by his overlord to receive a despatch from Hutchinson’s rapid key in New York. Hutchinson was “the fastest man in the business,” Edison’s assignment a (supposedly) cruel one. Dots and dashes ripped in at a dizzy pace for several thousand words when the key paused and Hutchinson clicked, with mock solicitude: “Are you getting this?” Back clicked Cub Edison: “Send with your other foot.”

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