--The following biography of Thomas Hall is from the Electrical World, April 21, 1906 --
MR. THOMAS HALL -- The veteran electrical inventor and manufacturer, Mr. Thomas Hall, celebrates in Cincinnati this week his eightieth birthday. He was born at Norwich, England, April 20, 1826, and at the age of two was brought to America by his father, who settled in Boston. After attending public school there he went to work for Mr. Daniel Davis in 1839, succeeding him in 1850 under the firm name of Palmer & Hall. Shortly after that he bought out his partner and styled the firm Thomas Hall, manufacturing electrician. From 1860 to 1898 he was located at 19 Bromfield Street, when he
gave up business. At the time when Mr. Hall was apprenticed to Daniel Davis, the latter was the only electrical instrument maker in the United States. They made the first telegraph instruments for Morse in 1844, and afterwards built sounders, keys, registers, etc. Mr. Hall was one of the first men in this country to teach telegraphy. At this period of his life he invented the double adjustable relay, lightning arresters, railway signals, magnetos and an automatic safety gate, several of these appliances being still produced. In 1850 he built and operated a model electric motor car taking current from the rail, and exhibited this at the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics'
Association in Faneuil Hall, Boston. In 1860 he exhibited a car called Volta. In 1867 he invented the Hall life raft and other electrical apparatus, which was followed by the electric stop on ruling machines and the electric valve used in creameries to keep milk at an even temperature for separation. Another device was the electric recorder for noting at the pumping station the height of water or of gas at the reservoir. The result of all this work was to bring him a large number of gold, silver and bronze medals in this country, as well as a medal from the Paris Exposition of 1867 for his railway signal. Such work, however, being largely experimental, was also costly and Mr.
Hall was never able to derive any large pecuniary reward from his inventions, although they brought him the acquaintance of all the leaders in the electrical and scientific field throughout the country. The portrait reproduced herewith was taken some years ago, but is a fair representation of Mr. Hall at the present time, hale and hearty and full of interesting reminiscences of pioneer electrical days in
America. His son, Mr. W. A. Hall, with whom he is living in Cincinnati, is well known in-the electrical field and has a great deal of his father's inventive skill.