Updated 24-XII-2018

Dr. Samuel G. Hibben

This article was written by fellow lamp engineer and collector Edward J. Covington, and originally appeared on his own 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 here in the hope of maintaining access to his writings for the benefit of subsequent generations.

Samuel G. Hibben

Samuel Galloway Hibben (6 June 1888 - 9 June 1972) was born in Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio to Joseph M. and Henriette (Martin) Hibben. While still a youth, he and his older brother, Frederick, wired their house for the installation of carbon filament lamps. In addition, the two youngsters installed the first telephone in their town, between their grandfather's house and store (S. E. Hibben & Son Dry Goods)10. Samuel G. Hibben was destined to become an expert in the application of light sources.

A biograhical sketch of Dr. Hibben is possible to write today because much information is available in genealogy studies posted on the internet10,11. However, the writer has chosen to present a write-up2 that appeared in the technical periodical Illuminating Engineering. It is presented below in its entirety, except the last paragraph of that sketch is excluded.

"Dr. Samuel G. Hibben, a Past President of IES, and formerly Director of Applied Lighting for Westinghouse Lamp Division, Bloomfield, N. J., has been unanimously selected by the Council of the Illuminating Engineering Society as the Society's 1962 Gold Medalist. Presentation of the Medal and accompanying citation will be made to Dr. Hibben by IES President James R. Chambers, during ceremonies at the Society's National Technical Conference in Dallas, Texas, on September 10.

"In naming Dr. Hibben as the 1962 Medalist, the Society honors an illuminating engineer, whose 50-year career, devoted to the original application of research findings, contributed significantly to the advance of the science of illumination. His professional career is marked by a substantial number of pioneering achievements. In fixture design, Dr. Hibben holds patents on several important developments, among them a 1921 design which is responsible for the introduction of screwless holders for globes, less fragile or cheaper lips on globes and upward socket ventilation. This latter is still a prominent factor in industrial lighting. Dr. Hibben is also credited with the design of the first acceptable series of semi-indirect units for interior lighting; the design of Alba glass reflectors, an important early step in glare control; and the first catadioptric lighthouse lenses to be made in the United States.

"In the field of street lighting, Dr. Hibben was associated with the group of scientists including Sweet, Vaughn, Bright, Hower and Dates, who developed the 'cluster' street lighting concept and gave impetus to the acceptance of diffusion principles and increased levels of illumination by civic authorities. Dr. Hibben designed the first mobile anti-aircraft searchlights and directed the design of a system of transcontinental airway beacons in 1927.

"A champion of lighting designs for underwater rescue work and photography, Dr. Hibben collaborated with noted scientists in submarine photography and studies of ocean life. This was a natural outgrowth of his earlier work in marine illumination which, in 1928, resulted in the development of an underwater swimming pool fixture and specialized lamps for deep-sea divers and submarines.

"His pioneering work in the application of black light includes such areas as plant growth and insect control, detection of ringworm on children's heads, inspection of materials for flaws, and the use of ultraviolet light for killing bacteria, in schools, hospitals and other public places. His cooperative research with the late Dr. Harvey Rentschler on ultraviolet air purification and sterilization of tissue is considered a classic in its field.

"As a designer of lighting installations, Dr. Hibben counts among his accomplishments the floodlighting of such landmarks as the Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, Natural Bridge, Va., and the original lighting of the Holland Tunnel between New York and New Jersey. A member of the lighting committee for the Philadelphia Sesquecentennial (1926), and the Barcelona Exposition (1929), the main committee of the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition (1933), and the New York World's Fair (1939), Dr. Hibben was associated with the development of the many pioneering lighting techniques introduced at these expositions. He helped sponsor and introduce the early fluorescent, mercury and sodium installations on a commercial scale in the United States. As one of the developers of the Westinghouse Lighting Institute in New York, he was a leader in the area of popular lighting education which resulted in the establishment of such teaching centers as the Chicago Lighting Institute.

"Dr. Hibben's lighting career began in 1910, with the MacBeth-Evans Glass Co. in Pittsburgh, where he developed and headed the Illuminating Engineering Department. Between 1914 and 1916, as a consulting engineer he was concerned with the design and testing of searchlights for European governments. In 1915, he joined Westinghouse, where his service was interrupted by World War I. Rejoining the company in 1919 as Cleveland sales supervisor, he was subsequently transferred to Bloomfield to develop a lighting service bureau, the forerunner of the company's present commercial engineering department. From 1933 until his retirement in 1954, he held the position of Director of Applied Lighting. Following his retirement, he served in the capacity of engineering consultant to the Holophane Co.

"Dr. Hibben received his Bachelor of Science from Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, in 1910. In 1914, he was awarded a degree in Electrical Engineering, by Case, for a study of light controlling glassware. His alma mater conferred an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree upon him in 1952 for his contributions to illuminating engineering.

"In 1914, Dr. Hibben became an associate member of IES, transferring to member grade in 1915. He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1954. He has served on approximately 50 of the Society's committees, both technical , standing and general; was a member of Council for 10 years and held several offices. In addition to his association with IES, Dr. Hibben is a Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a member of the British Illuminating Engineering Society, the Electrical History Foundation and the Distinguished Foundation of Optometry. He was delegate to the Congresses of the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) in Paris, 1948; Stockholm, 1951; Zurich, 1955; and Brussels, 1959; a member of the Executive Committee of the United States National Committee of CIE, and chairman of the CIE Secretariats on Ultraviolet Radiation in 1948, and Popular Education in 1952.

"During World War I, Dr. Hibben served as captain with an Army searchlight and sound-ranging batallion; in World War II, in the Office of Civilian Defense, he was a recognized authority on defense lighting, blackouts and underwater lighting. In 1945, as a member of a group of American experts assigned by the President to survey and appraise strategic bombing results in Europe, he authored reports on shelters, camouflage and blackouts, and dimouts.

"Dr. Hibben is the author of over 100 technical and scientific articles (27 of them published by IES), covering the wide range of subjects which occupied his professional attention. ..."

Dr. Hibben was instrumental in accumulating many lamp types over the years that were manufactured by Westinghouse. A portion of that collection can be viewed by the public at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California20. Note: The photograph of Samuel G. Hibben, shown above, was taken by Fabian Bachrach in 195112. The picture was cropped for use in this write-up

Marianne Reynolds, Reference Librarian in the Magazines and Newspaper Department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, was a source of information which is not easily available to the writer. Dr. Daniel Lewis of the Huntington Library was most kind to convey information regarding the Westinghouse-Hibben Collection8.

References & Bibliography
  1. "Lighting Fixture", Samuel G. Hibben, U.S. Patent 1,582,817, 27 Apr 1926. Application was filed on 27 Jan 1921.
  2. "Dr. Samuel G. Hibben Named 1962 IES Gold Medalist," Illuminating Engineering, Vol 57, Jul 1962, pg 5A.
  3. "The Burndy Library: window on the history of science", Gordon D. Friedlander, i>IEEE Spectrum, Vol 7, No 3, Mar 1970, pp 54-64.
  4. "Samuel Hibben, Lighting Expert, Ex-Westinghouse Aide Dies - Did Deep-Sea Work," The New York Times, Monday, 12 Jun, 1972, pg 38.
  5. "Dr. Samuel G. Hibben," Obituary, Lighting Design & Application, Vol 2, Aug 1972, pg 58.
  6. "Samuel Galloway Hibben," Who Was Who in America, Vol 5 (1969-1973), Marquis, Chicago, pg 331.
  7. "Samuel Galloway Hibben," Who Was Who in America, Vol 8 (1982-1985), Marquis, Chicago, pg 186.
  8. Email from Dr. Daniel Lewis to Edward J. Covington, 27 May 2009.
  9. http://web.mit.edu/dibner/
  10. http://hibbengenealogy.org/Documents/Chapter_XI,%20Generation%205.3_R.pdf
  11. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db;=ghibben&id;=I0280
  12. http://www.quickpix.com/ImageDetail.asp?i=419458080&d;=jpgmlibrary&Q;=HIBBEN
  13. http://www.quickpix.com/SearchResults.asp?d=jpgmlibrary&Start;=1&Q;=HIBBEN
  14. http://scienceservice.si.edu/pages/025071.htm
  15. http://scienceservice.si.edu/pages/025069.htm
  16. http://scienceservice.si.edu/pages/027023.htm
  17. http://scienceservice.si.edu/pages/027025.htm
  18. http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2007/02/16/lamps-of-tomorrow/
  19. http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/05/page/3/
  20. http://home.frognet.net/~ejcov/westhibben.html
  21. http://books.google.com/books?id=zZAAAAAAMAAJ&pg;=PA81&lpg;= PA81&dq;=22s+g+hibben%22&source;=bl&ots;=X1Q93VScM7&sig;=3L_Vq4ILLf64OlfRLfvDqKYQs&hl;=en&ei;= hGMoSr7aGtWLtgfQxpzYBQ&sa;=X&oi;=book_result&ct;=result&resnum;=1#PPA81,M1
  22. http://books.google.com/books?id=oWQoAAAAYAAJ&pg;=RA3-PA118&lpg;= RA3-PA118&dq;=%22s+g+hibben%22&source;=bl&ots;=zb_HE-V5D9&sig;=xNdHzOH4D7CBGAjmoaGScKu_ptA&hl;=en&ei;=FbEqSvP6LtnBtweZtYmtCA&sa;=X&oi;= book_result&ct;=result&resnum;=7