Updated 28-XII-2018

Prof. Herschel Clifford Parker

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, and has since been updated with additional new material.

H.C. Parker4

In the time period 1907-1908 many articles appeared in the literature regarding an incandescent lamp called the "Helion". The workers who spent much time developing that lamp were physics Professor Herschel C. Parker and Electrical Engineer Walter G. Clark. Much of this work was performed in Professor Parker's laboratory at Columbia University. The lamp was called the Helion, from the Greek word "helios", because its spectrum was closer to that of the sun than was the spectrum of the carbon filament lamp.

The Helion lamp had a selective radiator filament which was made with a carbon filament core onto which silicon was deposited. The lamp was much more efficacious than the carbon filament lamp. Lamps were made for a short period of time13 - apparently by the Parker-Clark Electric Company. It is assumed that the lamp did not become a commonplace item because the metal filament lamps, such as tantalum, osmium and tungsten were being introduced at the same time.

The appearance of the 115-volt Helion lamp was very similar to that of the Edison oval anchored filament carbon lamp.

Herschel Clifford Parker was born on 9 July 1867 in Brooklyn, New York. He passed away in 193115.

Ken Spooner kindly informed me of the New York Times article.

  1. US 788,493 - 25 Apr 1905 - Incandescent Electric Lamp - H.C.Parker
  2. US 805,316 - 21 Nov 1905 - Art of Producing Metallic Iridium - H.C.Parker
  3. US 812,872 - 20 Feb 1906 - Incandescent Electric Lamp - H.C.Parker
  4. US 821,056 - 22 May 1906 - Incandescent Electric Lamp - H.C.Parker
  5. US 840,246 - 1 Jan 1907 - Art of Making Refractory Metallic Wires or Filaments - H.C.Parker & Walter G. Clark
  6. US 876,330 - 14 Jan 1908 - Process of Making Incandescent-Lamp Filaments - Walter G. Clark
  7. US 876,331 - 14 Jan 1908 - Process of Making Electric-Lamp Filaments (Helion) - H.C.Parker & Walter G. Clark
  8. US 876,332 - 14 Jan 1908 - Process of Making Incandescent-Lamp Filaments - Walter G. Clark
  9. US 876,390 - 14 Jan 1908 - Incandescent Electric Lamp - H.C.Parker & Walter G. Clark
  10. US 974,812 - 1910 - Process of Making Incandescent Electriic Lamp Filaments - H.C.Parker
  11. US 976,207 - 22 Nov 1910 - Filament or Resistor for Heating Units or Lamps - H.C.Parker & Walter G. Clark

References & Bibliography
  1. "Helion Filament Incandescent Lamp", H. C. Parker and Walter G. Clark, Electrical World, Vol.49, 5 Jan 1907, pp.10-11.
  2. Editorial, Electrical World, Vol.49 No.3, 19 Jan 1907, pp.129-130.
  3. "The Helion Filament Incandescent Lamp," Electrical Review, Vol.50 19 Jan 1907, pp.111-113.
  4. "Columbia Professor Invents a Helion Filament... Promises New Era in Illumination", New York Times, 3 Feb 1907, p.5. Source of picture of Parker.
  5. "Helion Lamp," Electrical World, Vol 49, No 6, 9 Feb 1907, pg 290.
  6. "Electric Lighting by Incandescence", William J. Hammer, Electrical Review, 9 Mar 1907.
  7. "Highlights of article by Parker and Clark", Electrical World, Vol.50, 5 Oct 1907, p.681. Article apparently appeared in July 1907 issue of School of Mines Quarterly.
  8. "Helion Incandescent Lamp Filament Patents", Electrical World, Vol.51, 18 Jan 1908, p.133.
  9. "The Helion Incandescent Lamp", Electrical World, Vol.51, 27 Jun 1908, pp.1364-1365.
  10. "Progress in the Development of the Helion Lamp", Electrical Review, Vol.52, 27 Jun 1908, p.1039.
  11. "The Helion Lamp", H. C. Parker & W. G. Clark, Electrical World, Vol.52 No.10, 5 Sep 1908, pp.501-502.
  12. "The Helion Lamp", H. C. Parker & W. G. Clark, Electrical Review>/i>, Vol.53, 12 Sep 1908, p.397.
  13. "The Electric-Lamp Industry: Technological Change and Economic Development from 1800 to 1947", Arthur A. Bright Jr, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1949, pp.199-200.
  14. "Herschel Clifford Parker", Who Was Who in America, Vol.4, 1961-1968, p.732.
  15. http://www.clocations.com/cviewmap.aspx?list=caty&state=AK&caty=Gap&lid=21849.