Brush, Charles Francis

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b. 17 March 1849 Euclid, Michigan, USA
d. 15 June 1929 Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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American engineer, inventor of a multiple electric arc lighting system and founder of the Brush Electric Company.
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Brush graduated from the University of Michigan in 1869 and worked for several years as a chemist. Believing that electric arc lighting would be commercially successful if the equipment could be improved, he completed his first dynamo in 1875 and a simplified arc lamp. His original system operated a maximum of four lights, each on a separate circuit, from one dynamo. Brush envisaged a wider market for his product and by 1879 had available on arc lighting system principally intended for street and other outdoor illumination. He designed a dynamo that generated a high voltage and which, with a carbon-pile regulator, provided an almost constant current permitting the use of up to forty lamps on one circuit. He also improved arc lamps by incorporating a slipping-clutch regulating mechanism and automatic means of bringing into use a second set of carbons, thereby doubling the period between replacements.
Brush's multiple electric arc lighting system was first demonstrated in Cleveland and by 1880 had been adopted in a number of American cities, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia. It was also employed in many European towns until incandescent lamps, for which the Brush dynamo was unsuitable, came into use. To market his apparatus, Brush promoted local lighting companies and thereby secured local capital.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur 1881. American Academy of Arts and Sciences Rumford Medal 1899. American Institute of Electrical Engineers Edison Medal 1913.
Bibliography
18 May 1878, British patent no. 2,003 (Brush dynamo).
11 March 1879, British patent no. 947 (arc lamp).
26 February 1880, British patent no. 849 (current regulator).
Further Reading
J.W.Urquhart, 1891, Electric Light, London (for a detailed description of the Brush system).
H.C.Passer, 1953, The Electrical Manufacturers: 1875–1900, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 14– 21 (for the origins of the Brush Company).
S.Steward, 1980, in Electrical Review, 206:34–5 (a short account).
See also: Hammond, Robert
GW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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