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British Industrial History

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St. George Lane Fox Pitt

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St. George Lane Fox Pitt (1856-1932)

Pioneer of electric lighting, otherwise known as George Lane-Fox

1856 Born in Malta; second son of Lieut-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers and his wife Alice

1877 Invented an electrical device for lighting public gas lamps[1].

1878 Invented the Lane-Fox system of electric lighting (using small incandescent lamps in parallel) and took out a patent on it which was one of the first in that field.

1878 Wrote a detailed letter to The Times making a case for public electricity supply by comparison with the well-known gas supply[2]

1881 Demonstration of electric lighting using incandescent lamps which were "almost identical" to those Mr Edison, Mr Swan and Mr Maxim but the system of distribution was different and patented. The demonstration was staged by British Electric Light Co in Palace chambers, Westminster. Mr Lane Fox also demonstrated that electricity could be used to boil water[3] Read a paper at the Society of Telegraph Engineers about the use of electricity for lighting and heating for domestic purposes[4].

1882 Describing himself as consulting electrical engineer of Threadneedle St, he advertised to warn others that an electrical distribution system using accumulators, dynamos and incandescent lamps was covered by his patent on 1878[5].

1882 Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation placed its Lane-Fox Incandescent Lamp Department, Portpool Lane, in the charge of Mr St George Lane-Fox[6].

1884 Was briefly a director of the International Electric Company[7]

1892 Brought an action for infringement of his patent against Kensington and Knightsbridge Electric Lighting Co Ltd[8] but lost; appealed to the Supreme Court, presenting his case himself (presumably lost there too)[9].

1912 Mr Campbell-Swinton remarked at the Royal Institution that Fox Pitt was "the first to imagine, or at least patent, a public electricity supply to all and sundry."

1932 Died at home in London

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Dec 04, 1877
  2. The Times, Dec 26, 1878
  3. The Times, Feb 17, 1881
  4. The Times, Apr 16, 1881
  5. The Times, Oct 27, 1882
  6. The Morning Post, November 28, 1882
  7. The Times, Jan 02, 1884
  8. The Times, Mar 19, 1892
  9. The Times Jul 05, 1892