Fred M. Locke: A Biography
by Elton Gish
343 pages, 8 1/2" x 11", soft bound (1994)
Fred Locke is considered to be the "Father of porcelain insulators". In 1894 he developed the first high voltage insulator. He had both glass and porcelain insulators manufactured to his designs by other companies and built his own porcelain factory in Victor, NY in 1898 and the Lima Insulator Co. in 1904. A multitude of new facts about Imperial Porcelain Works, R. Thomas & Sons Co., Electric Porcelain & Mfg. Co., and Lima Insulator Co. are presented to weave a complete historical account of this most interesting man and his family. Many noteworthy individuals were "trained" at Fred Locke's factory resulting in the fact that almost all other porcelain insulator manufacturers have ties back to Fred Locke and the Locke Insulator Manufacturing Co.
This Biography includes almost 100 original photographs of Fred Locke, his family and home, the Locke and Lima insulator factories, and glass insulators he had produced from 1909 to 1916 by both Brookfield and Corning Glass Works based on his glass patents. About 150 illustrations and advertisements from the trade magazines of the time guide the reader through the career of this incredible man. His 61 patents are discussed in detail. Scale drawings and photographs of each style of Fred Locke's glass and porcelain insulators are included.
This book provides great insight into the problems of developing and manufacturing insulators for the high voltage power industry, as well as patent disputes and their resolution. Fred Locke was a fascinating man, and his accomplishments go far beyond porcelain insulators. Many of his sons were inventors in their own right, and their interesting lives are also revealed as well as how his wife helped him with his experiments. One son worked closely with his father to develop glass formulas similar to Pyrex glass (one formula is in use today in the Space Shuttle and your glass-top kitchen stove). New insight into the Fry Glass Co. is also included with revealing details of Fry's relationship with Fred Locke and Corning as well as the unique glass formula Fry used in their limited production of insulators.
The 343-page, 3-pound book is high-quality publication printed on high-gloss paper. The Fred Locke biography is the culmination of more than four years of intensive research by the author, and most of the facts presented have never been published before. All I can say is "READ THIS BOOK!" (Bob Berry)
Additional on-line information about him is available at the web site Fred M. Locke, Father of Porcelain Insulators.
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Last updated January 1, 2010