Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Weston, Edward

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WESTON, Edward, electrician, b. in England, 9 May, 1850. He showed as a boy a decided fondness for the physical sciences, especially electricity, but deferred to his parents' wishes and studied medicine. In 1870 he determined to follow his own special bent, and came to this country. He soon became chemist to the American nickel-plating company, and at once displayed his inventive genius by introducing improvements into the art of nickel-plating. Two years later he began to study dynamo-electric machinery, with the object of utilizing it in electro-metallurgy, and in 1873 he reached a very clear conception of the sectional armature, and in the same year prepared the first copper-coated carbons. In 1875 he removed to Newark, N. J., and there engaged in the manufacture of dynamo-electric machinery, establishing what is believed to be the first factory in this country that was devoted exclusively to that class of apparatus. His business increased so rapidly that in 1877 it was organized as the Weston dynamo-electric machine company, and in 1881 it was consolidated with the United States electric lighting company, of which he was electrician until 1888. In 1875 he began experimenting in arc and incandescent lighting, constructing several incandescent lamps in 1876, and since that time he has steadily developed his systems of both these varieties of electric lighting. In 1887 he built in Newark one of the largest private laboratories in the world, and he also possesses a fine technical library that contains many rare books on electricity. Mr. Weston has recently directed his attention to the production of new and original forms of electrical instruments such as voltmeters, ammeters, and electro-dynamometers for scientific and practical work. One of his most valuable inventions is that of tamidine, a modification of cellulose, which is extensively used in incandescent lamps. He was a charter member of the American institute of electrical engineers, and its president in 1888.