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Award was given to Louis H. Spellier for his invention of the sparkless circuit breaker

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The Elliott Cresson Gold Medal, established in 1848, was the highest honor bestowed by Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. The endowed award was to be presented “for some discovery in the Arts and Sciences, or for the invention or improvement of some useful machine, or for some new process or combination of materials in manufactures, or for ingenuity skill or perfection in workmanship.”
In 1880 the award was given to Louis H. Spellier (1841-1891) for his invention of the sparkless circuit breaker. In the inventor’s words, “My invention relates to means for preventing a spark upon the interruption of an electromagnetic circuit.”
The Journal of the Franklin Institute relates that Spellier came to the United States from Germany, “locating first in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, [ca. 1860] where he practiced his handicraft [watch and clock making] until the year 1880 when he removed to Philadelphia. It was whilst living at Doylestown that he applied his leisure time to the study of electric clocks and time-telegraphy in which field of invention he afterwards achieved a distinguished profession.”

On the diagonal façade of Doylestown’s Lenape Hall, at the corner of State and Main Streets, is mounted a clock made by Louis Spellier. Immediately below the clock is a block, which bears the date of 1874.
doylestownhistorical.org


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