Back to Inductee Search

Moses G. Farmer

Electric Fire Alarm System

U.S. Patent No. 8,920
Inducted in 2006
Born Feb. 9, 1820 - Died May 25, 1893

Inventor and manufacturer Moses Farmer pioneered the practical application of electricity, using it to drive numerous inventions, including the first electric fire alarm system and the "self-exciting" dynamo.

Born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, Farmer attended Dartmouth College. After graduating in 1840, he began working on an electric striking apparatus for a fire alarm service with William Channing. The system had a signaling mechanism that triggered a special water motor that drove the electric dynamo. Their alarm system was an immediate success following the system's installation in Boston in 1851, the first electric fire-alarm system in the United States. Farmer's interest led him to invent an incandescent electrical lamp in 1859 with a platinum wire filament supplied by a wet-cell battery. Improving on the design to ensure practicality and application, Farmer conceived and patented the "self-exciting" dynamo. One dynamo lit a private residence with forty incandescent lamps arranged in multiple series.

Farmer continued to expand the capabilities of electricity for the remainder of his life, becoming an electrician at the United States Torpedo Station in Rhode Island in 1868. He later served as a consulting electrician for the United States Electric Lighting Company of New York.

Related Inductees