Updated 24-VII-2022

Forée B. Bain

This article is based on a document of fellow lamp engineer and collector Edward J. Covington, which appeared on his 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 and subsequently expanded with new material by this author, to maintain continued access to the research he initiated.

F. B. Bain

A biographical sketch of Forée Bain appeared in 18913, at which time he was president of the Bain Manufacturing Company. A portion of that sketch is reproduced here:
"Mr. Bain was born in La Grange, Oldham county, Kentucky, in 1853. He is a direct descendant of the Scotch electrician of telegraph fame, Alexander Bain, whose logic and moral science are standard works. Mr. Bain has come honestly by his reputation as an electrical engineer. When 15 years of age he was in charge of a telegraph station. In 1878 he was appointed manager of the electrical work in an extensive electrical manufactory in Cincinnati. For several years he remained in that position, developing an electric lighting system.

"In 1881 Mr. Bain came to Chicago to exploit his electric lighting system. He formed a company with Captain E. A. Goodrich of the Goodrich Transportaion company, and the corporation organized a large manufacturing establishment. The death of Mr. Goodrich necessitated the close of the factory."

A Bain lamp design appeared in the technical literature1, and is shown below, but it is not known if it actually was produced. The limited description of the lamp follows:
"The incandescent lamp has not yet been put on the market. Its novelty consists in the manner of connecting the filament with the leading-in wires, and in the material of which the filament is composed. Mr. Bain has not patented either the manner of connection or the process of manufacture, preferring to keep them secret. The holder is made almost entirely of wood, and while presenting a handsome appearance, has the essential quality of cheapness."

The Lamp of F. B. Bain

Bain also designed an instrument for the U. S. Government which measured current, voltage and resistance2. By February of 1893 the Bain Electric Manufacturing Company consolidated with several other companies to form the Great Western Manufacturing Company6. Bain had charge of the electrical work at the factory.

Forée Bain died at the age of 75 in May 1928, at Crystal Beach, Florida8.

  1. The Electrical World, Vol.7, Feb 6 1886, p.56.
  2. "Combined Galvanometer, Ammeter and Voltmeter", Western Electrician, Vol.2, No.12, Mar 24 1888, p.145.
  3. "Forée Bain", Western Electrician, Vol.8, No.12, Mar 21 1891, p.157.
  4. "A Peculiarly Marked Incandescent Lamp", Western Electrician, Vol.11, No.5, Jul 30 1892, p.60.
  5. "Invention of the Incandescent Lamp", F.B.Bain, Western Electrician, Vol.12, No.5, Feb 4 1893, p.51.
  6. "Great Western Manufacturing Company", Western Electrician, Vol.12, No.6, Feb 11 1893, pp.63-65.
  7. "Letter to the Editor", F.B.Bain, Electrical Review, Vol.25, No.9, Aug 29 1894, p.100.
  8. Private Communication, Alex Magoun (Outreach Historian, IEEE History Center), 25th September 2020.