Page, Charles Grafton

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b. 25 January 1812 Salem, Massachusetts, USA
d. 5 May 1868 Washington, DC, USA
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American scientist and inventor of electric motors.
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Page graduated from Harvard in 1832 and subsequently attended Boston Medical School. He began to practise in Salem and also engaged in experimental research in electricity, discovering the improvement effected by substituting bundles of iron wire for solid bars in induction coils. He also created a device which he termed a Dynamic Multiplier, the prototype of the auto-transformer. Following a period in medical practice in Virginia, in 1841 he became one of the first two principal examiners in the United States Patent Office. He also held the Chair of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Columbian College, later George Washington University, between 1844 and 1849.
A prolific inventor, Page completed several large electric motors in which reciprocating action was converted to rotary motion, and invested an extravagant sum of public money in a foredoomed effort to develop a 10-ton electric locomotive powered by primary batteries. This was unsuccessfully demonstrated in April 1851 on the Washington-Baltimore railway and seriously damaged his reputation. Page approached Thomas Davenport with an offer of partnership, but Davenport refused.
After leaving the Patent Office in 1852 he became a patentee himself and advocated the reform of the patent procedures. Page returned to the Patent Office in 1861, and later persuaded Congress to pass a special Act permitting him to patent the induction coil. This was the cause, after his death, of protracted and widely publicized litigation.
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Bibliography
A number of Page's papers were reprinted in Sturgeon's Annals of Electricity, London, 1837–9.
1867, History of Induction: The American Claim to the Induction Coil and its
Electrostatic Developments, Washington, DC.
Further Reading
R.C.Post, 1976, Physics, Patents and Politics, New York (a biography which treats Page as a focal point for studying the American patent system).
——1976, "Stray sparks from the induction coil: the Volta prize and the Page patent", Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical Engineers 64: 1,279–86 (a short account).
W.J.King, 1962, The Development of Electrical Technology in the 19th Century, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Paper 28.
GW

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

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