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Eugene Griffin

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Eugene Griffin (1855-1907)

1907 Obituary [1]

EUGENE GRIFFIN was born at Ellsworth in the State of Maine, on the 13th October, 1855.

He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1875, with high honours, and was appointed second lieutenant of Engineers in the United States Army.

After being employed for several years on the United States Geographical Survey, he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1880, and was placed in charge of surveys of Governor’s, Ellis, and Bedloe’s Islands, in New York harbour.

From 1883 to 1885 he was Assistant Professor of Civil and Military Engineering and the Art of War at West Point, and subsequently he acted as Assistant Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia, having charge of all matters relating to electric lighting, telegraph and telephone services in the City of Washington. In 1887 he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Corps of Engineers.

A report which he made on the possibilities of electric railways and electric lighting in the City of Washington brought him into contact with the Thomson-Houston Company, and early in 1888 he accepted the invitation of the company to organize and take over the management of its Railway Department. The application of electricity to street railways in America was then in its infancy, but Captain Griffin had full confidence in its future development, the magnitude of which he clearly foresaw. The first electric railway equipped by the company was opened at Revere Beach, near Boston, in July, 1888, and a number of other installations followed in rapid succession.

Captain Griffin took a prominent part, and displayed great ability and business acumen, in the reorganization and amalgamation of the Thomson-Houston and Edison General Electric Companies, which took place in 1892, and on the formation of the new company, under the style of the General Electric Company, he was appointed Director and first Vice-President, and retained these offices until his death.

On the outbreak of war with Spain in 1898 he offered his services to his country, and was commissioned to organize the First Regiment of Volunteer Engineers, which he commanded until the close of hostilities. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General prior to his regiment being mustered out of service, when he resumed his duties with the General Electric Company.

Despite failing health in the closing years of his career, his zeal and interest in business never abated, and he was actively engaged up to the end. Both in public and private life General Griffin was the embodiment of honour and courtesy, whilst his versatile and manifold accomplishments contributed to a personality which attracted and impressed all who came under its influence. He maintained up to the last the liveliest interest in West Point, where he enjoyed a deserved popularity, and was a frequent visitor.

He died on the 11th April, 1907, and was buried at West Point with full military honours.

He was elected a Member of The Institution on the 14th April, 1896.

1907 Obituary [2]

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