Updated 18-XI-2018

Henry Marison Byllesby

This article was written by fellow lamp engineer and collector Edward J. Covington, and originally appeared on his own website of biographical sketches of persons involved in the lamp industry. Following his passing in February 2017, and with kind permission of his family, Ed's words have been preserved here in the hope of maintaining access to his writings for the benefit of subsequent generations.

Henry Marison Byllesby

In the late 1880s the Westinghouse Electric Company advertised incandescent lamps and sockets that were designed for series burning2. One of the inventors of those lamps was Henry Marison Byllesby (16 Feb 1859 - 1 May 1924), who, in the year 1888, held the position of Vice-President and General Manager in that company4; he was, at that time, only twenty-nine years of age.

Henry Byllesby was the son of Reverand DeWitt Clinton and Sarah (Mathews) Byllesby, having been born in Pittsburgh, PA9. In his early years he resided in Mount Holly, NJ and later in Allentown, PA. He then entered the class of 1878 at Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, PA, but because he needed to accompany his father to Roselle, NJ, he did not graduate. Then, for a time, he was employed in Chester, PA as a draftsman and mechanical engineer. In 1882 he married Margaret Stearns Baldwin. Quoting now from the Western Electrician7:
"In 1882 he became connected with the Edison company, and maintained this connection until 1885, spending most of his time as manager of the Canadian department of that company. In 1885 he accepted an offer from Geo. Westinghouse, Jr., to become eastern sales agent of the Westinghouse Electric company. Soon after he was appointed general manager, and then elected first vice president, holding these positions until December, 1890, when his resignation was reluctantly accepted. In February, 1891, he became connected with the Thomson-Houston Electric company. In May, 1891, he was elected vice-president of the Northwest Thomson-Houston Electric company, with headquarters at St. Paul, and in June was promoted to the presidency of that company."
At the time of his death Byllesby was President of H. M. Byllesby & Co. of Chicago, Illinois and was an officer and director of a number of public utilities companies in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Colorado. During World War I he served, at age sixty, as General Purchasing Agent for the American Expeditionary Forces. He was stationed in London and after the war was awarded the Distinguished Service Order by the British Government. Later he received the American Distinguished Service Medal.

A more detailed write-up of Henry M. Byllesby, as well as a photograph taken later in life, can be found in Reference 10.

References & Bibliography
  1. "Key-Socket for Incandescent Electric Lights", Frank L. Pope, Henry M. Byllesby and Philip Lange, U.S. Patent No 366,606, 12 July 1887.
  2. "The Westinghouse Alternating System of Electric Lighting", F.L.Pope, The Electrician and Electrical Engineer, Vol.6, Sep 1887, pp.332-342.
  3. "Incandescent Lamp", H.M.Byllesby & P.Lange, U.S. Patent No 383,616, 29 May 1888.
  4. "H. M. Byllesby," The Electrical Engineer, Vol.7, Sep 1888, p.381.
  5. "Westinghouse Catalog 1888", in the collection of Jerry R. Westlick.
  6. "Incandescent Lamp Socket", Philip Lange, U.S. Patent No 434,153, 12 Aug 1890.
  7. "Henry M. Byllesby" Western Electrician, Vol.9, No.5, 1 Aug 1891, p.57.
  8. "H. M. Byllesby Dies in Dentist's Office", The New York Times, 2 May 1924, p.19 column 5.
  9. "Henry Marison Byllesby in Who Was Who in America Vol.1 1897-1924", A. N. Marquis Co., Chicago, p.179.
  10. "H. M. Byllesby & Co.", W.H.Hodge, The Story of Electricity, Vol.1, Edited by T. Commerford Martin and Stephen Leidy Coles, The Story of Electricity Company, M. M. Marcy, 711-731 Tribune Building, New York City, pp.135-139.