Updated 23-XII-2018

Elmer G. Fridrich

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.


Elmer G. Fridrich

Biography
Elmer G. Fridrich was born on April 11, 19205. He started out on the path to become a chemical engineer. However, in his second year he decided that perhaps that wasn't the right career route for him. Instead, he took some courses in explosives and got employment as an inspector of powder and explosives. As this was during the outbreak of World War II, and the draft was in effect, Elmer entered into Ordnance at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. His attention was directed toward neutralizing unexploded German bombs. Elmer attended a specialized Army training program at Pennsylvania State College. This led to service in the Chemical Warfare Service at Camp Sibert, Alabama. Toward the end of World War II Elmer taught machine shop as a therapy aid at Welch Convalescent Hospital.

Elmer Fridrich started his General Electric employment at the Cleveland Welds Works as a machinist. Because his talent in developing needed apparatuses was recognized, it was recommended that he be transferred to Nela Park. At Nela Park Elmer worked under Duryea E. "Red" Elmendorf. He worked on a less expensive inside coating for incandescent lamps as well as a zinc oxide coating. After a period of time Elmer was assigned to work under Alton Foote, the team leader of the group that was to develop a quartz heat lamp.

A great advantage of developing a product by a group of people is that a wide range of talent, education and experience comes into play. When the darkening of the new quartz heat lamps was recognized as a real problem it was decided in early 1954 to bring Ed Zubler, a physical chemist, into the picture. As time went on Fridrich and Wiley played reduced roles in the project.

Fridrich and Wiley applied for a patent on March 3, 1958 and U.S. Patent 2,883,571 was granted on April 21 1959. In that patent a modified lamp design also was presented by Fridrich. Later in time he proposed a lamp which he called "the Gemini". The lamp was designed to operate at one-half of line voltage; two such lamps were to be operated in series.

The expertise that Elmer Fridrich has with lathes and machine equipment was of great benefit in the development of many of the above inventions. In particular, the shape of the short-arc high-intensity discharge lamp pictured in his U.S. Patent 4,053,809 resulted from that skill. The lamp, marketed as the "Marc 300", is used in photographic projectors.

Fridrich also was granted Design Patent No. D0248501 (with John M. Davenport), which was issued Jul 11 1978. The design was for a fluorescent lamp with a resistor ballast, marketed as "Brightstik" (see U.S. 3,974,418).

The photograph of Elmer Fridrich, shown above, was taken in 1959.


Patents
  1. Nov 19 1957 - United States - 2,813,327 - Apparatus for and method of forming and mounting supports on coiled filaments
  2. Nov 19 1957 - United States - 2,813,993 - Electric lamp or similar device
  3. Apr 21 1959 - United States - 2,883,571 - Electric incandescent lamp
  4. Aug 25 1959 - United States - 2,901,652 - Electroluminescent lamp construction
  5. Sep 15 1959 - United States - 2,904,457 - Manufacture of conductive glass paper
  6. Dec 22 1959 - United States - 2,918,594 - Variable color electroluminescent lamp
  7. Jul 19 1960 - United States - 2,945,976 - Electroluminescent lamp and manufacture thereof
  8. Mar 28 1961 - United States - 2,976,893 - Lamp making machinery
  9. Mar 13 1962 - United States - 3,025,424 - Electric lamp
  10. Jul 31 1962 - United States - —3,047,052 - Apparatus for laminating an electroluminescent cell lay-up
  11. Dec 4 1962 - United States - 3,067,357 - —Electric discharge lamp electrode
  12. Sep 3 1963 - United States - 3,102,443 - Mechanism for forming ribbon leads (with Paul A. Dell)
  13. Apr 19 1966 - United States - 3,247,477 - Photoconductive electrical component
  14. Jul 5 1966 - United States - —3,259,777 - Metal halide vapor discharge lamp with near molten tip electrodes
  15. Jul 5 1966 - United States - 3,259,778 - Starting of high temperature electrode lamps
  16. Aug 2 1966 - United States - 3,263,852 - Method of glass bulb manufacture and glass bulb
  17. Feb 21 1967 - United States - 3,305,289 - Electric lamp manufacture
  18. Apr 18 1967 - United States - 3,315,111 - Flexible electroluminescent device & light transmissive electrically conductive electrode material therefor
  19. Aug 19 1969 - United States - 3,462,209 - Method of making vacuum type electric incandescent lamps
  20. Jun 1 1971 - United States - 3,582,704 - Manufacture of foil seals
  21. Sep 26 1972 - United States - 3,693,241 - Manufacture of foil seals
  22. Aug 10 1976 - United States - 3,974,418 - Fluorescent lamp unit with ballast resistor and cooling means therefor
  23. Dec 7 1976 - United States - 3,996,493 - Fluorescent lamp unit having ballast resistor (with John M. Davenport)
  24. Oct 11 1977 - United States - 4,053,809 - Short-arc discharge lamp with starting device (with Rolf S. Bergman)
  25. Nov 13 1979 - Canada - 1,066,248 - Fluorescent lamp unit having ballast resistor (with John M. Davenport)
  26. Jun 10 1980 - United States - 4207541 - Cooling jacket for laserflash lamps (with Arieh M. Karger)
  27. Sep 30 1980 - Canada - 1,086,813 - Short-arc discharge lamp with starting device (with Rolf S. Bergman)
  28. Feb 3 1981 - United States - 4,248,584 - Method and apparatus for dispensing salt powder as pellets in lamp making
  29. Jun 23 1981 - United States - 4275329 - Electrode with overwind for miniature metal vapor lamp
  30. Apr 6 1982 - Canada - 1121122 - Method and apparatus for dispensing salt powder as pellets in lamp making
  31. Jun 21 1983 - United States - 4,389,201 - Method of maufacturing a lamp
  32. Jul 26 1983 - Canada - 1,150,762 - Electrode with overwind for miniature metal vapor lamp
  33. Apr 10 1984 - Canada - 1,165,373 - Refractory helical overwound electrode for high pressure metal vapor lamp
  34. May 15 1984 - Canada - 1,167,513 - Method of manufacturing a lamp
  35. Jul 30 1984 - Hungary - 184,247 - Method for making lamp armature with two ends
  36. Oct 15 1985 - United States - 4,547,704 - Higher efficiency incandescent lighting units (with Walter K. Brinn, Ivan Berlec, John M. Davenport, Milan R. Vukcevich)
  37. Dec 13 1988 - Canada - 1,246,659 - Higher efficiency incandescent lighting units (with Walter K. Brinn, Ivan Berlec, John M. Davenport, Milan R. Vukcevich)
  38. May 19 1992 - Canada - 1,301,237 - Asymmetric arc chamber for a discharge lamp (with Richard P. Gilliard, Daniel M. Cap, John J. Karikas, Gilbert H. Reiling)
  39. Dec 25 2003 - United States Patent Application - 2003/0233847 - Manufacture of elongated fused quartz member