Updated 26-XII-2018

Mary S. Jaffe

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.

Mary Schuster Jaffe

Mary Jaffe hailed from Brooklyn, New York, having been born on 6 January 1917. Her primary and secondary education was obtained at the Friends Seminary in New York where she graduated in 1932. She earned an A.B. degree from Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York in 1937. Her subject was Chemistry and she gradauted with honors in General Studies. She became a member of two honorary fraternal societies: Kappa Kappa Gamma and Phi Kappa Phi. After visiting relatives in the Philippines in 1938 she spent the time interval 1939-1941 at the Art Students' League in New York.

Mary Jaffe worked as a microscopist at the Interchemical Company in New York from 1942 to 1947; from 1945 to 1947 she held the position of group leader. She was a charter member of the Electron Microscope Society of America. Mary Jaffe also attended New York University during the period 1943-1947. Her GE experience began in 1947, the same year in which she married Hans Jaffe, a crystal physicist.

Throughout her GE career Mary Jaffe's advice was constantly sought on various technical problems. Her knowledge was general and extensive and her advice was highly valued. As an indication of her broad knowledge Mrs. Jaffe earned fifteen U.S. patents while she was with Lighting. The subject matter of these patents include such diverse topics as inks, electroluminescent panels, adhesives, electrically conducting films, high dielectric constant fluids and plasticizers, solid state lamp and light director, switching device for a photoflash unit, and a reflector-lamp combination (the PRECISE lamp).

Mary and Hans Jaffe had two children - a daughter in 1949 and a son in 1954.

In 1978 Mary Jaffe was presented a Merit Award at the Second Annual YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon.

In retirement Mrs. Jaffe carried on various hobbies of life-long interest and she was, perhaps, a good example of one who followed the advice given by Marie Curie in the quotation at the beginning of this writing. She volunteered in the Administration Department of Youth Enrichment Services, Inc., which is a training center and workshop for adults with disabilitites. She was also a board member and secretary to the board of directors of the same organization. Mary Jaffe passed away in Ithaca, New York on 26 June 2009.

Mary Jaffe operating her Scanning Electron Microscope at GE's NELA Park laboratories

  1. US 2,774,004 - Flexible electroluminescent laminated panel - 08.04.1953
  2. US 2,791,521 - Electric resistance device provided with zinc oxide electroconductive coating - 02.04.1953
  3. US 2,849,339 - Indium basic trifluoracetate and method of coating vitreous bodies therewith - 08.04.1953
  4. US 2,951,865 - High dielectric constant fluids and plasticizers - 10.12.1957
  5. US 3,007,988 - Thermocouple system - 29.03.1960
  6. US 3,238,407 - Matrix for electroluminescent cells - .1957
  7. US 3,315,111 - Flexible electroluminescent device and light transmissive electrically conductive electrode material therefor - 09.06.1966
  10. US 3,969,066 - Switching devices for photoflash unit - 05.11.1974
  11. US 3,989,644 - Radiation curable inks - 27.09.1974
  12. US 3,990,832 - Switching devices for photoflash unit - 29.09.1975
  13. US 4,663,562 - Contrast enhancement structure for color cathode ray tube - 16.07.1984
  14. US 4,833,576 - Aluminum phosphate cement compositions and lamp assemblies containing same - 29.09.1987
  15. US 4,918,353 - Reflector and lamp combination - 13.06.1989

  1. "Women Scientists - Biographical Sketches and Their Contributions to the GE Lamp Business", Edward J. Covington, January 1992, 10 pages.
  2. "Five Feminine Researchers have Share in GE Lamp Development", The GE Lamp Maker, Vol.1 No.5, December 1948, pp.13-15.