Updated 09-I-2018

Samuel Everett Doane

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.

Samuel Doane was born on 28 February 1870 in Swampscott MA, U.S.A., the son of Captain Edward E. and Helen M. (Nickerson) Doane. He graduated from Swampscott High School in 1886, and was made Honorary Electrical Engineer at Case School of Applied Science in 1927.2

He started to work at the Thomson-Houston Company in Lynn MA in 1886, and was tutored by the great Elihu Thomson himself for six years. In 1892 he transferred to the Edison Lamp Works at Harrison NJ and became Superintendent in 1893, until 1896. From 1896 to 1897 he served a brief interelude as acting engineer in the foreign department of the General Electric Company, at Schenectady. From 1897 to 1900 he was superintendent of the Bryan-Marsh Company in Marlboro MA. He became chief engineer of the National Electric Lamp Association (later General Electric Lamp Department) in 1901, a role he held until 1930. For the final five years of his career before retirement in 1935 he served as consultant.1,2

Starting in 1914, Doane was one of the moving forces to accomplish the standardisation of mains voltages in America, a process which was acieved in 1928 and brought a considerable simplification of the incandescent lamp business.1

A successful lamp invention of Doane's was that of the tipless Meridian lamp (US Patent 516,800), which was marketed from 1906 to 1911 to compete with the Nernst lamp. Another was the turn-down lamp (US Patent 800,933) which gave two levels of illumination.1

Samuel Doane was largely responsible for the idea of issuing technical bulletins within National which covered all lamp families. These were issued for many years and provided valuable information for users.1

  1. "Samuel E. Doane", in The Electric Incandescent Lamp 1880-1925, E.J. Covington, GE Lighting NELA Press, Cleveland OH, 1998.
  2. "Bigraphy of Samuel E. Doane", Prabook website.