(1848 - 1928)
Born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. As a young man, Lewis Latimer learned mechanical drawing while working for a Boston patent office. In 1880, he was hired by Hiram Maxim of the U.S. Electric Lighting Company to help develop a commercially viable electric
lamp. In 1882, Latimer invented a device for efficiently manufacturing
the carbon filaments used in electric lamps and shared a patent for the
"Maxim electric lamp". He also patented a threaded wooden
socket for light bulbs and supervised the installation of electric
street lights in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London.
In 1884, Latimer became an engineer at the Edison Electric Light Company
where he had the distinction of being the only African American member
of "Edison's Pioneers" - Thomas Edison's team of inventors.
While working for Edison, Latimer wrote Incandescent Electric
Lighting, the first engineering handbook on lighting systems.
Although today's incandescent light bulbs use filaments made of tungsten
rather than carbon, Latimer's work helped to make possible the
widespread use of electric lights.