Elihu Thomson

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Elihu Thomson, ca. 1880

Elihu Thomson (March 29, 1853March 13, 1937) was an engineer and inventor who was instrumental in the founding of major electrical companies in the United States, United Kingdom and France.


  • Shall an invention be patented or donated to the public freely? I have known some well-meaning scientific men … to look askance at the patenting of inventions, as if it were a rather selfish and ungracious act, essentially unworthy. The answer is very simple. Publish an invention freely, and it will almost surely die from lack of interest in its development. It will not be developed and the world will not be benefited. Patent it, and if valuable, it will be taken up and developed into a business.
    • Elihu Thomas lays down principles for inventors, by Thomas, E., Electrical World 75 (1920), p. 1505.

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