Charles Frederick Burgess

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Charles Frederick Burgess
Born(1873-01-05)January 5, 1873
DiedFebruary 13, 1945(1945-02-13) (aged 72)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Resting placeRiverside Cemetery
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin (B.S.)
Ida M. Jackson
(m. 1905)
AwardsPerkin Medal
Acheson Award
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin

Charles Frederick Burgess (January 5, 1873 – February 13, 1945) was an American chemist and engineer. He was founder of the University of Wisconsin-Madison department of Chemical Engineering in 1905, and was a pioneer in the development of electrochemical engineering in the United States.[1] In 1917 he founded the Burgess Battery Company.

Early life[edit]

Charles Frederick Burgess was born on January 5, 1873, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.[2][3] He attended local schools in Oshkosh and received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1895. He got an advanced degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1898.[2]


Burgess joined the University of Wisconsin as instructor of electrical engineering in 1895.[3] He later became an assistant professor.[2] In 1900, he became professor of applied electrochemistry and chemical engineering.[2] Of an inventive turn of mind, he developed several new processes in electrolysis, and in 1904 was made investigator of electrolytic iron alloys for the Carnegie Institute. In 1910,[2] he helped found the Northern Chemical Engineering Laboratories, which was later renamed to C. F. Burgess Laboratories. He also served as president. In 1910, he wrote “The Strength of the Alloys of Nickel and Copper with Electrolytic Iron.”[citation needed]

In World War I, Burgess was a district draft board member for southern Wisconsin.[3] He became an engineering consultant and later a board member of the French Battery Company in Madison, Wisconsin, which produced dry cells to his design used by the US Army in World War I.[citation needed] In 1913 he resigned from the university.[2] His relationship with the French Battery Company deteriorated, and so in 1917 he founded the Burgess Battery Company in Madison, which became an important manufacturer of dry cell batteries for flashlights, radio, and other applications.[3][citation needed] He served as president and chairman of Burgess Battery.[2]

Dissatisfied with taxes in Wisconsin, beginning in 1926 he moved himself and his enterprises out of the state. He went to Florida and Burgess Battery Company went to Freeport, Illinois.[3][citation needed] Burgess Laboratories was reincorporated under Delaware laws.[citation needed]

In 1930, he was elected to the board of directors of the Wisconsin Bankshares Corporation.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Burgess married Ida M. Jackson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 23, 1905. Together, they had two children, Jackson and Betty.[2][3]


Burgess died from a heart attack at a Chicago hospital on February 13, 1945.[2] He was interred at Riverside Cemetery in Oshkosh.[3]



  1. ^ "Burgess gets perkin medal". Milwaukee Sentinel. January 4, 1932. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Death - Dr. Charles F. Burgess". Freeport Journal-Standard. Freeport, IL. February 13, 1945. Retrieved June 18, 2021 – via Open access icon
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Oshkosh Native, Charles Burgess, is Called By Death". Oshkosh Northwestern. February 14, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved June 18, 2021 – via Open access icon
  4. ^ "Edward Goodrich Acheson Award Recipients". Electrochemical Society. Retrieved November 1, 2015.


Further reading[edit]

  • A. McQueen, Romance in Research; Life of C. F. Burgess (Pittsburgh, 1951)

External links[edit]