Frederick Cottrell, American inventor

Frederick Cottrell, American inventor

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Frederick Gardner Cottrell (1877-1948), American physical chemist and inventor. While working as a consultant for the DuPont chemical company, Cottrell invented the process of electrostatic precipitation to remove particle impurities from a flowing gas. This process, which electrically charges the particles and filters them out with an electrode, is still used today for cleaning smoke in industrial smokestacks and in air purification devices. Cottrell also founded the Research Corporation in 1912, which funded university researchers with revenue from his patents. This portrait is from the Bain News Service, one of America's oldest news picture agencies, which holds images dating from the 1890s to the 1930s.

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