The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Morton, Henry

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MORTON, Henry, American scientist: b. New York, 11 Dec. 1836; d. there, 9 May 1902. He was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1857 and became professor of physics and chemistry at the Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia in 1860. His lectures in 1863 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia attracted attention throughout the United States and Europe by reason of his brilliant and unique experiments. He was one of the founders of the Philadelphia Dental College in 1863 and its first professor of chemistry, and in 1864-70 was resident secretary at Franklin Institute, where he continued his lectures. In 1867 he was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and in the same year became editor of the Franklin Institute Journal. He conducted the photographic branch of the United States eclipse expedition to Iowa in 1869, and in additon to securing several excellent photographs of the eclipse, proved that the bright line of the sun's disc adjacent to the moon is due to a chemical action in the process of developing the plate and not to diffraction as had hitherto been held by the best scientists. In 1870 he was chosen president of the newly-founded Stevens Institute of Technology, and under his direction the faculty was selected and the course of instruction formed. His management of the institute made it one of the leading technological schools of the country; he gave it the benefit not only of his great learning but also several munificent gifts in the establishment and endowment of various necessary departments. His reputation as a scientist became world-wide and his services as a chemical expert were eagerly sought in litigation. From 1878-85 he was a member of the United States Lighthouse Board and in 1876-81 he was president of the American Chemical Society. Besides writing numerous papers on electricity and fluorescence, he assisted in the preparation of ‘The Student's Practical Chemistry’ (1868).