Albon Man

Albon Man, circa 1895

Albon Man (June 29, 1826 – February 18, 1905) is associated with the early technology of the electric incandescent light bulb. He joined with William Edward Sawyer in 1878 to start a company pertaining to incandescent electric lamp development and electric power distribution.

Early life

Man was born in Westville, New York on June 29, 1826. His father was Ebenezer Man. His grandparents were Albon Man (1769-1820) and Maria Man. His great-grandparents were Ebenezer Man and Anne Man. His earliest arriving ancestor to American was William Man. He came from England in 1634 and immigrated to Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1]


Man attended high school in Fort Covington, New York and Malone, New York, and took college preparatory courses. He entered Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1845. There he took literary and scientific courses. Man graduated from the college in 1849.[1]

Mid life and career

Man studied law from his uncle in New York and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Soon after he became a partner with his uncle, but due to illness of his father he returned to his hometown of Malone. There he establish his own law practice and was employed as an engineer with the Northern New York Railroad. Man was elected district attorney of Franklin County, New York in 1860.[1]

Man enlisted in the Ninety-eighth New York volunteers in 1861 during the American Civil War and became a major. He participated in the battles of Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Fair Oaks. His health broke down from exposure to the elements during the war and was forced to resign from the military. He then returned to his home in Franklin County, New York where he continued as their district attorney. Man ultimately had to quit his occupation as the district attorney there because his health deteriorated even further.[2]

Man went to Washington in December 1862 to work for the Secretary of the Treasury in various duties. In 1866 he went to New York City and became treasurer and general counsel of the National Bank Note Company. He made certain innovations to assist him in the work at the Bank Note Company. One invention he made was a machine that applied glue by air pressure to postage stamps. Another invention he made was a safety device to handle checks and other security papers. Man resigned from the bank company in 1869 and went back to becoming an attorney. In 1871 he became manager of three estates in New York for Pierre Lorillard IV. He managed these estates for about fourteen years and after that he was a legal advisor for the Lorillard family.[2]

Man always had an interest and kept up on the state of the art of scientific apparatuses, especially those related to electricity and chemistry. He had a room within his father's office building for his own experimental activities. Man and some medical students friends performed many kinds of scientific chemistry experiments there. One item that was of particular interest to Man and his friends was that of the photography techniques of Daguerre. One experiment they did was with a homemade camera to get a picture. On paper with a nitrate of silver formula they were able to get an image. Their first picture they succeeded in getting was of the lawn at the office. It was one of the first early photographs on paper. Since they had not yet developed the technique of fixing and permanently displaying the image on paper, the picture disappeared in a relatively short time and no copy was ever made of it.[2]

Man and Sawyer with five other individuals formed Electro-Dynamic Light Company of New York in July 1878.[3][4] This was the first electric-lighting company formally formed.[2] Man and Sawyer devised the first practical system of incandescent electrical lighting with their related patents.[5][6][7][8][9] In the 1880s he spent most of his time on lawsuits related to defending his patents on electrical distribution and electric lighting.[10] He had a law office in the Morris Building on Broad Street in New York City.[11] Man received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy in July 1892 from Union College.[2]

Later life and death

Man died of a stroke of paralysis on February 18, 1905.[12] He is buried at Morningside Cemetery in Malone, New York.[13]


  1. 1 2 3 Carnegie 2004, p. 195.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Carnegie 2004, p. 196.
  3. Pope 1894, p. 10.
  4. "Another Electric Lamp". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, New York. November 1, 1878.
  5. "Doubled it Shares". Pittsburgh Dispatch. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. July 9, 1890 via .
  6. "The Courts". National Republician. Washington, D.C. September 11, 1883 via .
  7. "Sawyer's Electric Lamp". Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel. Fort Wayne, Indiana. November 13, 1878 via .
  8. "The Electro-Dynamic Light Company ready to Commence Operations". The Saint Paul Globe. Saint Paul, Minnesota. November 7, 1878 via .
  9. "An Inventor Claiming that he has solved the problem that has persisted So Many". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. November 9, 1878 via .
  10. Hood, p. 295.
  11. "Albon Man obituary". Electrical Review. 46 (8): 353. February 25, 1905.
  12. "Death of Major Albon Man". Malone Palladium. Malone, New York. Feb 23, 1905 via . Major Albon Man, well known to many in Northern New York, died at the Hotel St. George, Brooklyn, on last Saturday night, as the result of a stroke of paralysis, in his 79th year.
  13. World_XLV 1905, p. 414.


External links

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