Charles Frederick Burgess

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Charles Frederick Burgess (June 5, 1873 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin – February 13, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois) 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 1917 he founded the Burgess Battery Company.


After graduating from the University of Wisconsin (B.E. 1895; E.E. 1898), he entered its faculty as instructor and assistant professor of electrical engineering in 1895. 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. He was president and one of the founders of Northern Chemical Engineering Laboratories, which was later renamed to C. F. Burgess Laboratories. In 1910, he wrote “The Strength of the Alloys of Nickel and Copper with Electrolytic Iron.”[citation needed]

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. In 1913 he resigned from the University. His relationship with the French Battery Company deteriorated, and so in 1917 he founded the Burgess Battery Company, which became an important manufacturer of dry cell batteries for flashlights, radio, and other applications.[citation needed]

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. Burgess Laboratories was reincorporated under Delaware laws.[citation needed]

He was awarded the Acheson Award by the Electrochemical Society in 1942.[1]


  1. ^ "Edward Goodrich Acheson Award Recipients". Electrochemical Society. Retrieved 1 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]