Updated 31-XII-2018

Marmaduke M. M. Slattery

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.

Marmaduke M. M. Slattery

Biographical sketches of Marmaduke Marcelus Michael Slattery can be found in references below1,2. One such sketch is reproduced here.2
"Marmadule M. M. Slattery, whose portrait is herewith presented, died at his residence at Fort Wayne, Ind., Wednesday afternoon, December 15th. The deceased had been in poor health for two years, but had been able to attend to his business most of the time. He contracted a severe cold on Thanksgiving day and two days after was compelled to take to his bed. He failed rapidly, but on Wednesday he rallied and sat up for a time. During the afternoon he had a severe hemorrhage of the lungs and died in a few hours. On Saturday, December 17th, the funeral services were held at Fort Wayne and were attended by a large concourse of people. The employes of the Fort Wayne Electric company attended in a body, and several local organizations of which Mr. Slattery had been a member were represented. There were many floral offerings.

"There were few men in the electrical fraternity better known than "Duke' Slattery, as he was generally styled. He had a bright, engaging manner and was everywhere welcomed. He was an exceptionally entertaining after-dinner speaker and possessed considerable literary ability. In scientific circles Mr. Slattery held a prominent position as the inventor of a successful electric lighting system. Most of his work in this line was done in the West, but he was well known in electrical circles throughout the United States and in fact had gained some distinction before coming to this country.

"Mr. Slattery was born in the city of Limerick, Ireland, in 1851. He attended the schools of that city and prepared for college. He was graduated at Marlboro college, Marlboro Eng., in 1873, and received his B. A. degree. After leaving college he was associated with St. George Lane-Fox in experimental work and was thoroughly equipped as an electrical engineer when he came to this country in January, 1880. He entered the service of the United States Electric Lighting company at New York and did valuable work in the engineering department of that company. He was prominent in the organization of the Sun Electric company of Boston. In 1887 he moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where he developed his alternating current system of electric lighting, which was his most notable achievement. At the time of his death he was connected with the Fort Wayne Electric company, which manufactured his apparatus. During the last few years he devoted considerable attention to the development of the storage battery and made many valuable improvements in that line..."

Linkous said4:
"A full line of electrical products were marketed by FWELC under the banner of the 'Slattery System.' His greatest achievement was the development of a constant voltage, alternating current, incandescent lamp lighting system."

A magazine advertisement from about 1888, as scanned from the Linkous book

  1. "Obituary - Marmaduke M. M. Slattery", The Electrical Engineer, Vol.XIV No.242, Dec 21 1892, p.607.
  2. "M. M. M. Slattery", Western Electrician, Vol.11 No.26, Dec 24 1892, p.323.
  3. Photograph of M. M. M. Slattery: Electrical Review, Vol.22, Feb 25 1893, p.19.
  4. "General Electric at Fort Wayne, Indiana - A 110 year History", Clovis E. Linkous, Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, 1994.