United States Electric Lighting Company
Founded in 1878 by the prolific inventor Hiram Maxim, the United States Electric Lighting soon established itself as Thomas Edison’s chief rival in the field of incandescent lighting. The company made some of the earliest installations of this new technology using Maxim’s patent on a carbon-filament lamp, which was similar to that invented by Edison in 1879. When Maxim left USEL in 1881 to pursue other lines of invention, the company purchased the Weston Electric Lighting Company in Newark, NJ, and the services of its founder Edward Weston. The inventor of a successful “arc” lighting system, Weston, as works manager and chief designer of USEL, developed a comprehensive arc and incandescent system which the USEL began to market in 1882. In January 1882, Lewis Latimer, an employee of USEL, received a patent for the “Process of Manufacturing Carbons,” an improved method for the production of light bulb filaments which yielded longer lasting bulbs than Edison’s technique. In 1888, United States Electric Lighting Co. was purchased by Westinghouse Electric Company.