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Edward Weston (chemist)

Edward Weston
BornMay 9, 1850
Oswestry, Shropshire, England
DiedAugust 20, 1936
Montclair, New Jersey
Known forWeston cell
OccupationChemist & Electrical engineer

Edward Weston (May 9, 1850 – August 20, 1936) was an English chemist noted for his achievements in electroplating and his development of the electrochemical cell, named the Weston cell, for the voltage standard. Edward Weston was a competitor of Thomas Edison in the early days of electricity generation and distribution.



Born in Oswestry, Shropshire, England (ed., near Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England), in 1850 to a merchant family, Weston originally studied medicine but soon became interested in chemistry. He emigrated to the United States after receiving his medical diploma in 1870, where he found a job in the electroplating industry. Realizing the need for a constant source of current, he developed an interest in power generation and invented several dynamos and generators, and eventually co-founded the Weston Electric Light Company, who won the contract to illuminate the Brooklyn Bridge.

He invented two alloys, Constantan and Manganin. Weston developed measurement instruments for electrical current--the modern foundation for the voltmeter, ammeter and watt meter. In 1888 he formed the Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, which would become famous for its volt meters, ammeters, watt meters, ohmmeters, frequency meters, transformers, and transducers. Weston developed a method for producing a "true" permanent magnet. Weston conceived of and built a magnetic speedometer. Weston also developed the dashboard ammeter for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

  Weston invented and patented the saturated cadmium cell in 1893. The cathode in the cell is an amalgam of cadmium with mercury, the anode is of pure mercury, and the electrolyte is a solution of cadmium sulphate. The Weston cell is a wet-chemical cell that produces a highly stable voltage suitable as a laboratory standard for calibration of voltmeters. The temperature coefficient was reduced by shifting to an unsaturated design, the predominant type today. When the Weston cell became the International Standard for EMF in 1911, Weston waived his patent rights.

Weston died in Montclair, New Jersey in 1936, having attained 309 United States patents during his life. [1]


  • U.S. Patent 381,304  (U.S. Patent RE10,944 )
  • U.S. Patent 381,305  (U.S. Patent RE10,945 )
  • U.S. Patent 389,124 
  • U.S. Patent 389,125 
  • U.S. Patent 497,482 
  • U.S. Patent 494,827 , "Voltaic cell"

See also

  • Timeline of solar cells


  1. ^ "Dr. Edward Weston Is 85.", New York Times, May 10, 1935, Friday. Retrieved on 2007-08-21. 

Further reading

  • Woodbury, David Oakes, "A measure for greatness; a short biography of Edward Weston". New York, McGraw-Hill, 1949. LCCN 49049451
  • Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, "Measuring invisibles; the fifty-year record of the world's largest manufacturer of electrical measuring instruments". Newark, N.J., Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, c1938. LCCN 40002525 (ed. Planned and written by F. Lawrence Babcock Associates, New York)
  • Hospitalier, Édouard, et al., "Principales applications de l'électricité" (Tr. Principal applications of electricity; Modern applications of electricity). London : Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1882.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Edward_Weston_(chemist)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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