Archives biographies: Paul Jablochkoff 1847-1894

Paul Jablochkoff was a Russian telegraph engineer who had risen to the post of director of telegraphs between Moscow and Kursk. In 1875 he resigned, planning to travel to America to see the international exhibition in Philadelphia. However, he only got as far as France. 

In Paris, he met Louis Bréguet (1804-1883) who had developed telegraphs and electric clocks for the French navy and railways. Bréguet gave Jablochkoff the use of his laboratory and in 1876 Jablochkoff developed his electric 'candle'. The Jablochkoff Candle was one of the first arc lamps to be used in large quantities.

The Jablochkoff Candles depicted above are from a pamphlet entitled The Jablochkoff Electric Light at the Paris Electrical Exhibition 1881 from the S.P. Thompson Pamphlet Collection on Arc Lamps, held in the IET Archives. The 'candles' are fixed in brackets supported in a circular frame, the upper part of which is recessed to carry a globe of opal glass which is capped with a coronet and cover plate. A saucer of opal glass rests on the base of the brackets, it screens the clips and serves to catch the small sparks which are produced when the candle is lighted.