Updated 31-XII-2018

Philip J. Pritchard

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.

The General Electric Fluorescent Lamp Pioneers

Philip Pritchard (16 March 1872 - 05 March 1964) was a native of Birmingham, England. As early as 1901 he worked at the Standard Electric Manufacturing Company in Niles, OH1. He followed that experience with a stint at the Fostoria Lamp Works in Fostoria, OH and at the Canadian Sunbeam Incandescent Lamp Works in Toronto, Ontario. He started to work at Nela Park about 1913. He pioneered work in manufacturing as well as development, of incandescent, vacuum and radar tubes. He led the manufacturing effort on the fluorescent lamp.

During World War I Nela Park undertook the manufacture of pliotron transmitting tubes. About a year later it was also decided to manufacture Coolidge X-ray tubes at Nela, also under the supervision of Pritchard. Half-finished designs were handed to the Nela people and the final product was of better quality than any tubes made in the experimental laboratories in Schenectady. Such experience eminently qualified Pritchard for the work to come in the fluorescent era.

Pritchard married Florence Mackey and had a daughter. He was interred in Niles, Ohio.

  1. Book of the Incas, ca 1930.