The Shelby Museum Of History

Shelby Electric Company - Growth and Change
Adolphe Alexander Chaillet
John Chamberlain Fish
At this point it appears that conditions were right for the Shelby Electric Company to embark on explosive growth and that is what began to happen. To help protect their corporate advantage in the marketplace, the two individuals most responsible for the success of this company applied for several patents and soon received them.
The first to file a patent application "Incandescent Electric Lamp and Process of Making Same." was John C. Fish on August 3, 1897 approximately one year after Shelby Light Company was first organized, and soon after the comparison tests were performed against the other lamps on the market. (See bottom of previous page) The patent (U. S. Patent # 598,726) was granted Feb. 8, 1898.
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The second Shelby Electric Company lamp related patent applied for (Feb. 28, 1898) concerned the socketing of the new lamp. Adolphe Chaillet was the patent applicant and he was granted his patent (U. S. Patent # 625,321) on May 23, 1899.
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Prof. Chaillet applied for a second patent on Oct. 22, 1900. This was a patent that made certain claims concerning the design and construction of the lamp filament. Chaillet obviously considered this to be the "heart" of the lamp construction and the major improvement that produced the superior performance of the Shelby Lamps as described in the previous articles. Prof. Chaillet was granted his Patent ((U. S. Patent # 701,295) on June 3, 1902.

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Note that the lamp design now includes a screw type base. This was done as a result of a move by GE to attempt to standardize the base of all lamps being manufactured at that time. GE itself was formed in April of 1892 when the Edison Electric Company and the British Thomson - Houston Company merged. During the period of 1893 to 1901, the resulting GE was proving to be the major competitor in the electric lamp manufacturing business. and standardizing on the screw-type base was one result. Other lamp manufacturers in an attempt to continue being competitive, adopted the screw-type base and began to think of combining or banding together to form an organization that could help them compete with GE. The resulting organization in 1897 was originally called the Incandescent Lamp Manufacturers Association and later (c. 1901) the National Electric Lamp Company or NELA. More on this later.

The following are examples of the type of lamp construction illustrated in the above patent application.

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Shelby Lamps - Shelby Museum


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Shelby Lamps - Shelby Museum


It must have been about this time (1900 - 1901) in the Shelby Electric Company's history that the lamp that is currently
burning in the fire station in Livermore, California was produced with the help of one of these ladies.
Shelby Museum, Shelby, Ohio
Shelby Electric Company Employees - ca. 1900
The community of Livermore, California is celebrating their Shelby light bulb. To find out more about their community,
their fire station, and the upcoming celebration of 110 years of operation from their Shelby Electric Company bulb,
please try the following link:
The Shelby Electric Company production facility was growing as well. The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, Shelby Series,
depicts that growth over the period 1899 to 1911.
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Shelby Electric Company - 1899

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Shelby Electric Company - 1904

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Shelby Electric Company - 1911

The 1911 map shows the increasing size and complexity of the Shelby Electric Company lamp production.


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Shelby Electric Company location - 1919

In 1919, the location previously occupied by the Shelby Electric Company had become the site of The Shelby Tractor and Truck Company.
What happened to the Shelby "Lamp Works", Adophe A. Chaillet and John C. Fish during the years between 1900 and 1919?
Reading the contemporary newspapers, "The Shelby News" and the newly established "Daily Globe" might provide some details.

The Shelby News - June 8, 1900
It seems from this news article that Prof. Chaillet had given The Shelby Electric Company a new lamp design that appeared to have gotten the attention and approval of Mr. Fish. A patentable product that can be added to the growing list of company achievements was just what the company could use to further prove it's superiority over it's competitors.
The Shelby News began running short articles featuring the weekly news at each of Shelby's major industrial concerns. They were each given a "nickname" and arranged in the paper such that these time tidbits could be quickly reviewed by the reader. The Shelby Electric Company was given the name: "Electric Flashes".

The Shelby News - August 17, 1900
Mrs. Chaillet and children would include: Alexander age 7, Arnold age 5, and Mrs. Chaillet who would be delivering her first and only daughter Catherine in about 4 months. Cedar Point was established in 1870, the Grand Pavilion built in 1888, and the first roller coaster was only 8 years old, so the trip would have been quite out of the ordinary for that time.

The Shelby News - August 31, 1900
Then, only a few months later, both The Shelby News and The Daily Globe run the following articles:

The Daily Globe - November 15, 1900

The Shelby News - November 16, 1900

 A. A. Chaillet left for Buffalo Saturday Night.
The Daily Globe - Monday, November 19, 1900


The Daily Globe - November 27, 1900
I find it curious that Professor Chaillet's decision to leave the The Shelby Electric Company occured at the same time smaller independant lamp manufacturers were joining NELA to better compete against GE. It was probably a coincidence, but possibly a reason Professor Chaillet considered in choosing his future path. Perhaps he thought there would be less entrepreneurship in the NELA group and therefore less possibility for his talents to be used. His immediate destination was Buffalo, New York, which was to become the ultimate destination of the Shelby Electric Company twenty years in the future, and was also the location of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Nikola Tesla had just recently invented a system for the transmission of three-phase alternating current that would enable power generated at Niagara Falls to be used to light the buildings of the Pan - Am Exposition. This lighting feature must have been a great draw for Professor Chaillet and his family.
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1901 Buffalo, New York Pan-American Exposition panorama
(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Richland County Courthouse documents indicate that Adolphe Chaillet and wife Maude L. sold their Boulevard home (lot 1103) to John C. Fish in September 24, 1901. Adolphe and Maude Chaillet were living in Buffalo, New York at the time of the signing. The home at 27 Grand Boulevard was occupied by the Chaillet family for less than two years and Catherine Chaillet was the only child to be born while the family was living here.

The Chaillet home at 27 Grand Boulevard as it appears today.
By 1902, early in the life of the Shelby Electric Company, a major change had occurred. Pathways diverge. What does the future hold for each?
(To follow the story please choose from the links below.)
Page Index to Shelby Electric Company Information
Page 1 :  Shelby Electric Company - Formation
 Page 2 : Shelby Electric Company - Growth and Change
 Page 3 : Shelby Electric Company - 1902 and beyond
 Page 4 : Researching the J. C. Fish Family
 Page 5 : Researching the A. A. Chaillet Family - Part I
 Page 6 : Researching the A. A. Chaillet Family - Part II

 Shelby Electric Company Article - (written in 1999 )

1. Shelby News, Friday,
. The Daily Globe, April 2, 1906
If you have comments or questions, please contact :
The Shelby Museum of History
23 East Main Street
Shelby, Ohio 44875

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