Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti

Ferranti was a British electrical engineer, born in Liverpool in 1864, who started his scientific investigations early. His first invention, at the age of 13, was an arc light for street lighting. At the age of 16 he built and patented an electrical generator called the "Ferranti dynamo" with the help of Lord Kelvin. He believed systems to distribute electricity to homes and businesses should use alternating current. The opposition, including Thomas Edison, believed direct current was safer. Alternating current won out and powers our society now.

As chief engineer with the London Electric Supply Company, Ferranti designed and oversaw construction of the Deptford Power Station, the first high-voltage generation station in the world. The power plant brought electricity to most of central London. In all, Ferranti was granted 176 patents for such things as the alternator, high-tension cables, circuit breakers, transformers and turbines. The group of companies that he built produced a variety of electrical and mechanical devices that included textile machinery.

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