About Edward Goodrich Acheson
Edward Goodrich Acheson (March 9, 1856 – July 6, 1931) was an American chemist. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania, he was the inventor of carborundum, and later a manufacturer of carborundum and graphite. Thomas Edison put him to work on September 12, 1880 at his Menlo Park, New Jersey laboratory under John Kruesi. Acheson experimented on making a conducting carbon that Edison could use in his electric light bulbs.
Acheson began his career as a surveying assistant for the Pittsburgh Southern Railroad.
In 1884, Acheson left Edison and became supervisor at a plant competing to manufacture electric lamps. He began working on the development of Cubic Zirconium (artificial diamonds) It was here he began his own experiments on methods for producing artificial diamonds in an electric furnace. He heated a mixture of clay and coke in an iron bowl with a carbon arc light and found some shiny, hexagonal crystals (silicon carbide) attached to the carbon electrode.
In 1891 Acheson built an electricity plant in Port Huron at the suggestion of Edison, and used the electricity to experiment with carborundum.
On February 28, 1893, he received a patent on this highly effective abrasive although a 1900 decision gave "priority broadly" to the Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company "for reducing ores and other substances by the incandescent method".
Carborundum is silicon carbide and it is created by electronically fusing clay and carbon. It is the second hardest surface next to diamond.
Throughout Acheson's life, he received 70 patents relating to abrasives, graphite products, reduction of oxides, and refractories.
He died on July 6, 1931, in New York City.
In 1997, Acheson was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. His house in Monongahela, Pennsylvania is a National Historic Landmark.