Famous 19th Century Electrical Engineers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla
11
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smiljan, Croatia
Died: January 7, 1943

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla, is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A prolific inventor, he had around 300 patents for his inventions. Even though he earned a considerable amount of money, he had poor money management skills and died a poor man.

 2 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison
16
Famous As: Inventor of Phonograph & Motion Picture Camera
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

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 3 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell
6
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 4 Edwin Howard Armstrong

Edwin Howard Armstrong
5
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: December 18, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chelsea, New York, United States
Died: February 1, 1954

Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American inventor and electrical engineer. He is credited with developing the superheterodyne receiver system as well as the frequency modulation (FM) radio. During his illustrious career, Armstrong received several awards including the IEEE Medal of Honor, Franklin Medal, and Edison Medal. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1980.

 5 Charles F. Kettering

Charles F. Kettering
5
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer & Businessman
Birthdate: August 29, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Loudonville, Ohio
Died: November 25, 1958

Charles F. Kettering was an American engineer, inventor, and businessman. Kettering is credited with founding Delco Electronics Corporation. Holder of 186 patents, Kettering is also credited with the invention of Freon refrigerant for air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Over the course of his career, Charles F. Kettering won prestigious awards like the IEEE Edison Medal, Hoover Medal, and Franklin Medal. 

 6 Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Charles Proteus Steinmetz
5
Famous As: Mathematician, Electrical engineer, Engineer, Scientist, Inventor
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: October 26, 1923

 7 John Ambrose Fleming

John Ambrose Fleming
5
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: April 18, 1945

John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube and designing the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made. Along with  Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming was also a noted photographer and artist. 

 

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 8 Harry Nyquist

Harry Nyquist
3
Famous As: Physicist, Computer scientist, Engineer, Statistician, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kil Municipality
Died: April 4, 1976

 9 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird
9
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 10 Elihu Thomson

Elihu Thomson
2
Famous As: Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: March 29, 1853
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manchester
Died: March 13, 1937

Elihu Thomson was an English-born American inventor and engineer. He is credited with founding major electrical companies in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1882, Elihu Thomson founded the Thomson-Houston Electric Company which was renamed General Electric Company in 1892 after merging with the Edison General Electric Company. Thomson is also credited with inventing an arc-lighting system.

 11 Frank J. Sprague

Frank J. Sprague
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: July 25, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Milford
Died: October 25, 1934

 12 Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: February 10, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Howard County
Died: October 29, 1959

 13 Carl Wilhelm Siemens

Carl Wilhelm Siemens
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: April 4, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gehrden, Germany
Died: November 19, 1883

German-British inventor and electrical engineer, who revolutionized the steel-making and glass-making industries, is best remembered for using the Siemens-Martin process to create the regenerative furnace. His achievements earned him accolades such as the Albert Medal. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society and was knighted shortly before his death.

 14 Charles F. Brush

Charles F. Brush
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 17, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States
Died: June 15, 1929

 15 Hertha Ayrton

Hertha Ayrton
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea Island, England
Died: August 26, 1923

Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer,  physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist. 

 16 Peter Cooper Hewitt

Peter Cooper Hewitt
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: May 5, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 1921

 17 Granville Woods

Granville Woods
3
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: April 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: January 30, 1910

Granville Woods was 10 when he began working at a machine shop, while continuing his studies at a night school. He grew up to become a steam locomotive engineer and earned the nickname the Black Edison for his countless inventions, most of which were related to electrical systems for railways.

 18 Zénobe Gramme

Zénobe Gramme
1
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: April 4, 1826
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amay, Belgium
Died: January 20, 1901

 19 Pavel Florensky

Pavel Florensky
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yevlakh, Azerbaijan
Died: December 8, 1943

Russian theologian Pavel Florensky is best remembered for his essay The Pillar and the Ground of Truth. During Stalin’s regime and amid a phase of national atheism, he was sent to jail and also banished to Siberia for his religious beliefs, which he refused to renounce.

 20 John Hopkinson

John Hopkinson
1
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: July 27, 1849
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: August 27, 1898

The son of a mechanical engineer, John Hopkinson followed in his father’s footsteps. Remembered for his research on alternating current, the British engineer and physicist developed the three-wire system for distributing electricity. He died in a mountaineering accident in the Alps, along with three of his six children.

 21 Arthur Nielsen

Arthur Nielsen
2
Famous As: Market-research executive
Birthdate: September 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Died: June 1, 1980

 22 Arthur E. Kennelly

Arthur E. Kennelly
1
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: December 17, 1861
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Colaba, India
Died: June 18, 1939

 23 Herman Potočnik

Herman Potočnik
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: December 22, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pula
Died: August 27, 1929

Born into an affluent military family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Herman Potočnik became a military engineer. His struggle with tuberculosis made him leave the army, after which he delved into rocket science. His only book, The Problem of Space Travel, contained illustrated descriptions on everything from space capsules to spacesuits.

 24 Lloyd Groff Copeman

Lloyd Groff Copeman
2
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: December 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hadley, Michigan, United States
Died: July 5, 1956

 25 Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
2
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: April 9, 1864
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: January 13, 1930

Electrical engineer and inventor Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was the son of a photographer father and a pianist mother. He had invented an arc light by 13 and an alternator at 18. He contributed to the development of the alternating current (AC) system in Britain and also promoted electrical generating plants.

 26 H. J. Round

H. J. Round
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 2, 1881
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingswinford, England
Died: August 17, 1966

Often referred to as an unknown genius, Henry Joseph Round began his career at Marconi’s Company, serving as an assistant to Guglielmo Marconi, contributing greatly to the development of radio technology. Later, his observation of electroluminescence from solid state diode led to the discovery of the light-emitting diode. Awarded the Military Cross, he also contributed greatly to England’s World War I's efforts.

 27 Harold Stephen Black

Harold Stephen Black
1
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: April 14, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Leominster, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 11, 1983

Harold Stephen Black was an American electrical engineer. He is credited with discovering the negative feedback amplifier which in turn revolutionized the field of applied electronics. Black won several prestigious awards, including the AIEE Lamme Medal and John Price Wetherill Medal, during his illustrious career. In 1981, Harold Stephen Black was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

 28 Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton

Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: May 31, 1845
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Thirsk, England
Died: February 15, 1940

Crompton & Co. founder Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton was a skilled electrical engineer. After his military career in India, Crompton focused on inventions and developed arc lamps and other electrical equipment. It is believed his Porchester Gardens residence was the first private house to be completely lit by electricity.

 29 William D. Coolidge

William D. Coolidge
4
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 23, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hudson, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 3, 1975

 30 Ernst Alexanderson

Ernst Alexanderson
1
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: January 25, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uppsala, Sweden
Died: May 14, 1975

 31 Edwin James Houston

Edwin James Houston
2
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: July 9, 1847
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Died: March 1, 1914

 32 Georges Leclanché

Georges Leclanché
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: October 9, 1839
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 14, 1882

Georges Leclanché was a 19th-century French electrical engineer who invented what became known as the Leclanché cell. His invention is considered the forerunner of the modern dry cell battery. He was educated at École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures and had a successful engineering career. He later founded the cells factory "Leclanché-Barbier" with Ernest Barbier. 

 33 David Crosthwait

David Crosthwait
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 27, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Died: February 25, 1976

Ventilation, heating system, and air conditioning pioneer David Crosthwait was one of the first African-American men to excel in science. Throughout his illustrious career, he managed to gain 80 international patents. He later taught at Purdue University and was presented with an honorary doctorate by the same university.

 34 Louis Charles Breguet

Louis Charles Breguet
1
Famous As: Aircraft designer
Birthdate: January 2, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 4, 1955

 35 Frank Conrad

Frank Conrad
4
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 4, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 10, 1941

 36 Giovanni Giorgi

Giovanni Giorgi
1
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: November 27, 1871
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lucca, Italy
Died: August 19, 1950

Giovanni Giorgi was an Italian physicist and electrical engineer known for proposing the Giorgi system of measurement, the precursor to the International System of Units (SI). He worked as the director of the Technology Office of Rome and also taught at the University of Rome. He was an invited speaker at the International Conference of Mathematicians on three occasions.  

 37 William Eccles

William Eccles
1
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 23, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barrow-in-Furness, England
Died: April 29, 1966

Known for his pioneering contribution to radio technology, British physicist William Eccles had begun his career as an assistant to renowned scientist Guglielmo Marconi. He supported Oliver Heaviside's theory of there being an upper layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves. His works include Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy.

 38 William Henry Preece

William Henry Preece
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: February 15, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caernarfon, England
Died: November 6, 1913

Welsh inventor William Henry Preece spent his entire life working at the British Post Office, where he experimented on the post office telegraph system. He helped Guglielmo Marconi gain financial assistance and also developed the wireless telegraphy and the telephone system of Britain. He was knighted for his achievements.

 39 Joseph Clement

Joseph Clement
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 13, 1779
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Asby, England
Died: February 28, 1844

Born to a weaver, Joseph Clement himself initially worked as a weaver and learned metal work. He began building power looms and then moved to London, where he worked with top engineering firms. His best achievement was his collaboration with Charles Babbage in building Babbage’s Difference Engine.

 40 Albert H. Taylor

Albert H. Taylor
1
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: December 11, 1961

 41 Greenleaf Whittier Pickard

Greenleaf Whittier Pickard
1
Famous As: Developer
Birthdate: February 14, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States
Died: January 8, 1956

 42 Oskar von Miller

Oskar von Miller
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 12, 1855
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: April 9, 1934

 43 Frank B. Jewett

Frank B. Jewett
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: September 5, 1879
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Died: November 18, 1949

 44 Edward Davy

Edward Davy
1
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: June 16, 1806
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottery St. Mary, England
Died: January 26, 1885

English physician and scientist Edward Davy is best known for his inventions such as his version of an electrochemical telegraph. He sold off the patent of his telegraph and moved to Australia later. He also developed the electromagnetic repeater. The Experimental Guide to Chemistry remains his most notable work.

 45 Charles Tilston Bright

Charles Tilston Bright
1
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: June 8, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wanstead, London, England
Died: May 3, 1888

Charles Tilston Bright began his career as a clerk at the Electric Telegraph Company. Later, as an engineer for the Magnetic Telegraph Company, he oversaw the laying of underground telegraph lines in the U.K., which motivated him to give shape to the world’s first transatlantic telegraph cable.

 46 Bern Dibner

Bern Dibner
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 18, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lisianka, Ukraine
Died: January 6, 1988

 47 Alexander Meissner

Alexander Meissner
1
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: September 14, 1883
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 3, 1958

 48 Albert W. Hull

Albert W. Hull
1
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: April 19, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Southington, Connecticut, United States
Died: January 22, 1966

 49 Charles Joseph Van Depoele

Charles Joseph Van Depoele
0
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: April 27, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lichtervelde, Belgium
Died: March 18, 1892

 50 Henry Christopher Mance

Henry Christopher Mance
0
Famous As: Electrical engineer
Birthdate: September 6, 1840
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 21, 1926

Best remembered as the inventor of the heliograph, which used sunlight and mirrors to send coded flashes, British engineer Henry Christopher Mance received a knighthood for his feats. As part of the Persian Gulf Telegraph Department, he oversaw the laying of the first submarine telegraph cables in the Persian Gulf.