Updated 30-XII-2018

Charles G. Perkins

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.

Charles G. Perkins

Charles Perkins was born in Weare, New Hampshire on March 23, 1849. His career in the lighting area started with employment at the United States Electric Lighting Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1879. It was there, in 1880, that he was in charge of the first public exhibition of an incandescent lighting system, which was installed in the vault area of a safe deposit company in New York City. While working at the United States company he became acquainted with Henry Goebel, who received much notoriety in 1893 during patent litigations with Edison. After leaving the United States company in 1881 he became associated with the Faure Electric Storage Company.

In 1889 the Perkins Electric Lamp Company, manufacturers of incandescent lamps and sockets, was organized, and in 1890 they moved their executive offices from Hartford to Manchester, Connecticut. In 1890 the Perkins Electric Switch Company was organized in Hartford, Connecticut. In October 1890 a snap switch, designed for a quick make-break of electric lamp circuits, was announced by the Switch Company.

No patents on incandescent lamps were ever issued to Richard H. Mather, whose business name essentially replaced that of Perkins, although two patents for arc lamps were. However, between 1875 and 1904 Mather had 34 patents issued to him.

  1. US 244,291 — Electric Lamp — Jul 12 1881
  2. US 244,481 — Electric Lamp — Jul 19 1881
  3. US 244,482 — Electric Lamp — Jul 19 1881
  4. US 247,103 — Circuit Breaker for Electric Lamps — Sep 13 1881
  5. US 247,104 — Spring Switch for Electric Lamps — Sep 13 1881
  6. US 290,467 — Incandescent Electric Lamp — Dec 18 1883
  7. US 290,469 — Electric Lamp and Switch — Dec 18 1883
  8. US 290,470 — Automatic Electric Circuit Maker and Breaker — Dec 18 1883
  9. US 326,584 — Incandescent Lamp — Sep 22 1885
  10. US 360,244 — Electric Lamp and Socket — Mar 29 1887
  11. US 626,927 — Incandescent Lamp Socket — Jun 13 1899

  1. "The Perkins Electric Lamp Company", The Electrical Engineer, Vol.10, Sep 3 1890, p.268.
  2. "The Perkins Snap Switch", The Electrical Engineer, Vol.10, Oct 22 1890, p.445.
  3. "The Perkins Switch in Litigation", The Electrical Engineer, Vol.12 No.169, Jul 29 1891, p.125.
  4. "The Incandescent Lamp Situation", The Electrical World, Vol.21, Jan 14 1893, pp.33-34.
  5. "Incandescent Lamp Litigation", The Electrical Engineer, Vol.15, No.249, Feb 8 1893, pp.149-151.
  6. The Electrical Engineer, Vol.15 No.249, Feb 8 1893, p.150.
  7. "Perkins Electric lamp Company", New England Notes, The Electrical Engineer, Vol.17 No.300, Jan 31 1894, p.104.
  8. "The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography", Vol.4, James T. White & Co., New York, 1897, p.290.