Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology

By Lance Day; Ian McNeil | Go to book overview

J

Jablochkoff, Paul

b. 14 September 1847 Serdobsk, Russia

d. April 1894 St Petersburg, Russia


Russian military engineer and inventor of an electric 'candle', the invention of which gave an immense impetus to electric lighting in the 1870s.

Jablochkoff studied at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg. Having a scientific bent, he was sent to the Military Galvano Technical School. At the end of his military service in 1871 he was appointed Director General of the Moscow-Kursk telegraph lines for the Midi Railway Company. At this time he began to develop an interest in electric lighting, and in 1875 he left the Imperial Telegraph Service to devote his time exclusively to scientific pursuits. He found employment at the workshop of M Bréguet in Paris, where Gramme dynamos and Serrin arc lamps were being constructed. After some experimentation he found a means of producing a carbon arc that regulated itself without any mechanism. This lamp, the Jablochkoff candle, with two carbon rods placed parallel to each other and so close that an arc formed at the ends, could continue to burn until the rods were consumed. Plaster of Paris was used to separate the two electrodes and crumbled away as the carbon burned, thus exposing fresh carbon. These lamps were used in May 1878 in Paris to illuminate the avenue de l'Opéra, and later in Rome and London, and in essence were the first practical electric street lighting. Since there was no regulating mechanism, several candles could be placed in a single circuit. Despite inherent defects, such as the inability to restart the lamps after they were extinguished by wind or interruption of supply, they remained in use for some purposes for several years on account of their simplicity and cheapness. In 1877 Jablochkoff obtained the earliest patent to employ transformers to distribute current in an alternating-current circuit.


Bibliography
11 September 1876, British patent no. 3,552 (Jablochkoff's candle).
22 May 1877, British patent no. 1,996 (transformer or induction coil distribution).

Further Reading
W.J. King, 1962, The Development of Electrical Technology in the 19th Century, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, Paper 30, pp. 393-407 (a detailed account).
W.E. Langdon, 1877, 'On a new form of electric light', Journal of the Society of Telegraph Engineers 6:303-19 (an early report on Jablochkoffs system).
Engineering (1878) 26:125-7.

GW


Jackson, John Hughlings

b. 4 April 1835 Providence Green, Yorkshire, England

d. 7 October 1911 London, England


English neurologist and neurophysiologist, discoverer of Jacksonian epilepsy and the neurological basis of speech defects; pioneer of the technique of the localization of the site of cerebral disease.

Jackson studied medicine at York and at St Bartholomew's Hospital, qualifying in 1856. For a while he practised in York and was dissuaded from abandoning medicine for philosophy by Jonathan Hutchinson. Upon his return to London, he was appointed Assistant Physician and later, in 1874, Physician to the London Hospital. He was also on the staff of Moorfields Eye Hospital and in 1874 was appointed to the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic in Queen's Square. It was particularly in connection with his association with cases at the latter that he was able to establish the association of designated areas of the brain with specific limbs and functions. He acknowledged that in the field of speech the work of Broca had shown the way.


Principal Honours and Distinctions

FRS 1878. Gulstonian Lecturer and Croonian Lecturer, College of Physicians.

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Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • How to Use the Dictionary xiii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 122
  • D 187
  • E 228
  • F 247
  • G 277
  • H 315
  • German Organic Chemist. 347
  • I 368
  • J 374
  • K 391
  • L 412
  • Bibliography 418
  • M 451
  • N 513
  • O 528
  • P 535
  • Q 582
  • R 583
  • S 619
  • T 689
  • U 721
  • V 722
  • W 734
  • X 778
  • Y 779
  • Z 785
  • Index by Subject Area 790
  • Index of Topics 808
  • Index of Names 823
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