Francis Robbins Upton! Happy Birthday, dude!
That guy is straight out of Deadwood!
Yes, I like to also recognize obscure yet related industry people on JimOnLight.com – they are the people behind the people. The people that were doing the thing that we all strive to do now – carve the path.
Francis Robbins Upton was a mathematician, physicist, and an employee of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory facility back in the 1870′s. Francis was the general manager and partner of an Edison project called Edison Lamp Works. The guy was an intelligent scientist, and worked on the watt-hour meter, the electric light, engineering dynamos, and apparently lots of interesting arguments/spats with Edison himself. From an article about Francis Upton at the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St. Andrews University:
Edison liked and respected Upton, for the latter had acquired a brilliantly profound store of knowledge. And under Edison’s guidance he soon gained the necessary experience to make theory and practice meet. It was always edifying to listen to their arguments, and often a group of us would gather round and drink in every word that was spoken. Reasoning and sparrings between Edison and Upton often led to new experiments …
A totally random bit of information on Francis Robbins Upton is that he was the guy who invented the electric fire alarm/detector. That’s a big deal, right? Well sure! However, this fact often goes overlooked because of some dumb ass at the US Patent Office in the late 1800′s who misspelled the title of Upton’s fire alarm. Officially, the patent for his device was called the “Portable Electric Tire Alarm.” Lame. Sorry that people suck, Francis!
Francis also developed something called “Nature’s Farter.” Yeah, you read that right. Upton invented a device that had something to vibrating a circular tube and producing a constant fart sound. I think this is hilarious – a guy with Upton’s mathematics prowess having a sense of humor! The United States Government, however, had no sense of humor. Francis Upton actually got arrested for his invention, because the government found it “rude.” Lame again.
Happy Birthday, Francis!