Whitney, Willis Rodney

Whitney, Willis Rodney

(1868–1958) chemical/electrical engineer; born in Jamestown, N.Y. While teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1896–1904), he began to work with General Electric (GE) (1901) and ended up staying with the firm until 1954, at one stage serving as vice-president (1928–41). He was director of research at GE in Schenectady, N.Y., where he founded its laboratory and helped make GE a leader in lighting and other applications of electricity. His innovations in such items as the tungsten filament and the X-ray tube led to his holding over 40 patents.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.