The locals in the town helped the man who sprained his ankles up to his feet after the accident and Poul paid the other man dollar who was willing to remove the debris of the wagons off the rail.
While all of that was happening, Poul glanced over his shoulder and saw the greatest financier, Mister Morgan, and the railroad company owners scanned the wheelset of the locomotive, probably wondering about the mechanism of the air brake. Though he already explained it to them in detail, there will be some people who would want to see it in action.
Unfortunately, they don't have the luxury to repeat it again as the locomotives are scheduled to run at a specific time. They couldn't afford any more delays and so Poul walked over to them.
"Uhm, everyone! Please return to your respective cabin as we will depart at a moment's notice," Poul announced loudly, placing his hands on someone's back, and pushing them gently towards the cabin.
It took all of them five minutes to board the cabin. And once everyone was inside, the train driver rotated the reverser, causing the steam locomotive to move forward.
In the first cabin, Poul winced slightly at the rowdiness of the railroad companies who wished to inquire about the product.
"I'm interested in your air brake system, Mister Poul! I would like to have it retrofitted on my passenger trains!" the representative of the Union Pacific Railroad, Huntington, raised his hand, trying to get Poul's attention.
"We would be delighted to have one of those air brakes in our trains too!" the representative of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Jefferson, said.
"We are interested too!" the representative of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Vaughan also joined in the hype.
Poul grinned goofily as the giants of the railroad industries were wanting to buy the air brakes. But only air brakes? How about the locomotive draft gear?
"I'm delighted to hear that you loved the air brake but I'm sure you'll also like the locomotive draft gear for the comfort of your passengers and to prevent unwanted damages on the goods you're carrying because of shocks," Poul smiled warmly. He was a little embarrassed by their enthusiasm.
But he's glad, very glad that they took a liking to it. It's all thanks to that unfortunate accident that made it the best marketing strategy for their company. Without it, they might get bored from riding the train to the point of wasting their time and leaving as soon as the train arrives at the junction.
"We'll take that too," Jefferson accepted Poul's suggestion.
"Thank you, Mister Jefferson."
As Poul was having a chat with the giants of the railroad industry, Mister Morgan can't help but feel regretful for giving Paul and his partner fifty thousand dollars as a remuneration, not as an investment.
He was fascinated at the air brake system their company developed and the fact that he is seeing the giants wanting to get a piece of it means their company has the potential to be a million-dollar industry.
According to his knowledge, there are over thirteen thousand steam locomotives operating in Avalonia and twenty thousand more in Europe. 400 hundred steam locomotives were being built every month based on the latest statistics. If Poul & Nielsen Company were able to retrofit all those trains with his air brakes and locomotive draft gears. Their company valuation would be over twenty-five to forty million dollars!
This is a huge opportunity for Morgan to invest in their company, and they are going to accept his offer as they will need every penny that they can get to upgrade their companies, hire engineers and laborers, and purchase equipment, and land. There is no way they are going to decline it.
"All of this ruckus for a gadget, what are you all thinking?" Wandervilt finally spoke and everyone went silent. "Eighty dollars per car for a piece of gadget that will bring us no profit…it's a stupid investment."
Poul straightened his back, a bit offended by Wandervilt as he already explained to him the pros of having his systems.
"But don't you like your trains to be safer? Instead of paying hundreds of brakemen to stop your train, why not invest the money in our system?"
"It's an unnecessary expense for me," Wanderbilt simply said. "I'm not interested in your technology, and for that reason, I'll have to back out."
Poul understood his reason and so he conceded. The man doesn't like his technology because he thought of it as a waste of money. He believed that the current braking system they had on their trains is fine and doesn't need replacing. If a brakeman were to fall off the train or die in an accident, there are times that they'll replace the brakeman with a new one. Not only that, most of the brakemen were immigrants, so they wouldn't really care much if one were to die.
"Fine, those are interested, once we come back to Columbus, we will go to our factory and discuss the contracts. Of course, it won't take a single day but I do know of an apartment befitting of your status," Poul smiled.
The railroad company owners who were interested in the product nodded agreeably. With that, Poul was finished. He heaved a sigh of relief before taking a seat next to Morgan.
"Mister Morgan, I appreciate you for gathering them here, and allowing me to show them the product that will revolutionize the railroad industry."
"Well, I'm glad that I bumped into you in the junction three months ago, albeit unpleasant."
"I have no qualms towards you, Mister Morgan. Whatever happened between us, it's all in the past now," Poul said. "It's time that we look forward and see what the future has to offer."
Morgan looked him in the face. "It seems to me that you are expecting something from me."
"I could say the same thing to you," Poul glanced back at him. "The way you were looking at me when I was making a pitch and then taking interest in the product, hmm…how should I put this? Tempted…you were tempted at the prospect of our company."
"Then why don't we stop beating around the bush and get on it," Morgan suggested. "How much money do you need?"
"I already expected that this would happen so I did the math," Poul paused, rapping his fingers on the table as he pondered. "Three hundred thousand dollars and you get five percent equity," Poul declared his offer.
"You need a huge capital to keep up with future orders, so I also expected that you would start at a high value. So let me counter your offer. Three hundred dollars for twenty percent equity."
"Ahh…" Poul stretched his arms as he was about to engage in a battle with Morgan. "Can you be flexible? How does ten percent sound to you?"
"Ridiculous," Morgan said without hesitation. "I will not go down any further. I'm the one taking a huge risk here. It's either twenty percent or don't take the offer at all."
"You see, Morgan. When I was pitching my product, I had my eyes on you, and do you know what I saw in your eyes? The future of the Axelsen & Nielsen Air Brake Company growing at a large scale. We are the only company offering air brake systems. We also have other revolutionary technologies staying there on the drafting table stored in the drawers waiting to be turned into reality. You are not the type of man who is afraid of risk, otherwise, how did you get your fortune? If you are hesitating now, you are losing the opportunity to earn millions of dollars from our company. Plus with you onboard, you can guarantee that the company is going to profit a copious amount of money. If you are still not interested, there are other ways for us to get working capital. So what will it be?"
Morgan sighed defeatedly. "Fine. three hundred thousand dollars for ten percent equity."
Poul smiled and offered a handshake. "We have a deal then."
Morgan shook his hand vigorously.
"I'll prepare the papers once we get back to Columbus," Poul said and they silently enjoyed the rest of the trip.
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