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Charles R Underhill was a prolific engineer, inventor and author. Born in 1874, his parents were Barton and Elizabeth (Green). In 1898 he married Ella Howell Johnson. 1 His Rhode Island connection is his time as chief electrical engineer of the Varley Duplex Magnet Company of Providence from 1900 to 1904. 1 Mr Underhill after graduating from Public school went right into employ of the Western Electric Company where he was an inspector 1892-1900. He did not go to college due to being deaf. 1 Being deaf would later be reflected in his invention of a device that translated and printed Morse Code on a paper tape. See the column below for details.

At Western Electric he had the opportunity to study Telegraphy and Telephony as well as diligently studied applied electricity through correspondence school. 2 While working for Varley, he found a lack of published data regarding electromagnets and solenoids. He then devoted several years to this branch of design and in 1904 read a paper on the subject before the Northeast Electrical Association. This led to a book in the same year titled “The Electromagnet” 2

Other companies Mr Underhill worked for include, Consulting Electrical Engineer; New York City, 1904-1909, Tech Writer and editor; Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, Pittsburg, PA, 1909-1910, American Electric Fuse Company, Muskegon, MI , 1910-1911, and Chief Electrical Engineer, ACME Wire Company, New Haven, CT from 1911-1921. At that point he became a consulting Engineer. 6

In 1908, along with Walter E Massie and Nikola Tesla he published “Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony Popularly Explained” 4

He was commissioned Captain in 1917 serving as a radio officer in charge of radio tests in flight and then in the Air Service on flying status. He specified radio operations for air service, Washington DC. He was decommissioned in January of 1919 3

Mr Underhill was a Fellow in the American Institution of Electrical Engineers, member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, associate member of Society of Automotive Engineers, Instructor Radio Engineers, member of the Military Order of World War, American Legion, and the Underhill Society of America; Certified member. 1

Mr Underhill published no less than 10 books on Electrical Engineering subjects during his lifetime. 5

Mr Underhill died in his home in Lower Bank, NJ on October 4th, 1950. 7




Jumphlame Autocoil, 1904


Automatic Boil
Winding Mcahine, 1904


Ignition Coil, 1904



Click to enlarge
Jumphlame Autocoil, 1904



Click to enlarge
American Electrician January, 1903




BOOKS




Wireless telegraphy and telephony popularly explained.
View book online



Magnets; a practical treatise on electromagnetic devices, their circuits, and the specific forms and characteristics of electromagnets and permanent magnets employed.
View book online



Solenoids, electromagnets and electromagnetic windings.
View book online



Electrons at work : a simple and general treatise on electronic devices, their circuits, and industrial uses.



Coils and magnet wire; a practical treatise on coil windings, magnet wires, insulating materials and the details and phenomena associated with the design, manufacture and operation of coils in general.

Power-factor wastes, a practical book for manufacturing executives, plant engineers and electricians.



The electromagnet
View book online



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