Updated 10-I-2018

Professor Edwin James Houston

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.

Edwin James Houston (1847-1914) was born in Alexandria, Virginia, but moved during his childhood to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated there as well as in Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany. He received the degree of Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1894; he worked there with Elihu Thomson.

He was Professor of Physics at the Franklin Institute and then professor in the Central School, Philadelphia.

He was one of the founders of the Thomson-Houston Company, a forerunner of the General Electric Company of USA. Dr. Houston was the author of several books, many of which were co-authored with Professor A.E. Kennelly.

  1. "Edwin James Houston", in The Electric Incandescent Lamp 1880-1925, E.J. Covington, GE Lighting NELA Press, Cleveland OH, 1998, p.137.