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Francis Robbins Upton

thumb Francis Robbins Upton (1852 in Peabody, Massachusetts March 10, 1921 in Orange, New Jersey) was an American physicist and mathematician.



Upton graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover in 1870. He studied at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, at Princeton University where he received his M.S., and in Berlin, where he worked together with Hermann von Helmholtz.

Francis Upton

Francis Thomas Upton was a mathematician/physicist who had been one of Thomas Edison s main partners. Responsible for one of the most important inventions used today he is but not a recognized invention. Upton managed to create a sensor with an alarm that would ring if the temperature of the room would climb. He later called this the smoke-detector.

Early life

Francis Upton was the son of Elijah Wood Upton and Lucy Elizabeth Winchester. Elijah was well educated and after, he did European travel. Later he was forced to take over his fathers glue business due to his fathers illness. Francis was 16 by this time and studying at Phillips Academy in Andover,[1] after he received a Bachelor s of Science degree in 1877 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME.[2] There he met and married his wife, Elizabeth F. Perry.

Francis Upton also attended Berlin University and Princeton University. Francis was the first ever to officially receive his degree from Princeton University. Upton was then hired by Thomas Edison, who Upton later became a great associate with.

Work life

Upton was hired by Edison in 1876. Edison asked his former assistant, Helmholtz if he knew anyone with good theoretical skills who might be able to be his assistant. Helmholtz found Upton. They worked together on mathematic problems and worked on incandescent lamps, the watt-hour meter and the large dynamos. Edison depended on Francis a lot mathematically because Thomas had no early education. Upton was invited to work in Edison s laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ. Francis had helped create the electric light bulb in 1879.Upton published articles in Scribner's Monthly and Scientific American. Since 1958, the Princeton University has had the Francis Upton Graduate Fellowships.In 1890, Upton patented the first electric fire alarm and detector along with a Mr. Fernando J. Dibble, an accomplishment of his which is often overlooked, stemming most probably from a typographical error that labels the device a "Portable Electric Tire-Alarm." (Google Books; U.S. Congressional Serial Set).

Later life

In 1894 Francis Robbins Upton left Edison s business which he had managed up to his departure. Upton returned after four years. He and Thomas started working on Ore milling sand that Upton sold and made profitable amounts of money by selling it to cement manufactures. Upton eventually left the business in 1911 but still continued to sell bricks and cement. Francis Robbins Upton died ten years later in Orange, New Jersey, on March 10, 1921.


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