Eli Whitney Blake Jr.

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Eli Whitney Blake Jr.
Born(1836-04-20)April 20, 1836
DiedOctober 1, 1895(1895-10-01) (aged 59)
Hampton, Connecticut, U.S.
Helen Mary Rood
(m. 1860; died 1869)

Eli Whitney Blake Jr. (April 20, 1836 – October 1, 1895) was an American scientist. His father and namesake was an inventor and partner of the Blake Brothers manufacturing firm. The origin of the name Eli Whitney comes from Blake senior's uncle Eli Whitney, who changed the face of the cotton industry with the invention of the cotton gin.[1]

Early life[edit]

Blake was born on April 20, 1836, in New Haven, Connecticut. He was one of twelve children born to Eli Whitney Blake and Eliza Maria (née O'Brien) Blake.[2] Through his mother, he was a descendant of the Rev. James Pierpont, one of the co-founders of Yale.[3]

Blake graduated from Yale in 1857, after which he spent a year at Sheffield Scientific School. He was a member of Skull and Bones, class of 1857. Following his time at Sheffield, he traveled to Europe, where he studied chemistry and physics in the universities of Heidelberg, Marburg, and Berlin.[4]


On his return to America, he was made professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Vermont (1867). After less than a year, he went to Cornell University, where he was professor of physics and mechanic arts (1868–1870). During this time he also acted temporarily as professor of physics at Columbia College from 1868 to 1869. From 1870 to 1895, he filled the chair of physics at Brown University.[5]

Although not a well-known figure in the scientific community, Blake was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other similar associations. He also contributed to various scientific periodicals, such as the American Journal of Science and Arts.[6]


  • Blake, E. W. (1870). "On a method of producing, by the electric spark, figures similar to those of Lichtenberg". American Journal of Science. 49 (147): 289–294. Bibcode:1870AmJS...49..289B. doi:10.2475/ajs.s2-49.147.289. S2CID 131613811.
  • Blake, E. W. (1878). "A method of recording articulate vibrations by means of photography". American Journal of Science. 16 (91): 54–59. Bibcode:1878AmJS...16...54B. doi:10.2475/ajs.s3-16.91.54. S2CID 6596022.

Personal life[edit]

On March 8, 1860, Blake was married to Helen Mary Rood (1832–1869), the daughter of Rev. Anson Rood and Alida Gouverneur (née Ogden) Rood (daughter of Rev. Uzal Ogden).[7] Among her family was uncle Nicholas Gouverneur Ogden, a partner of John Jacob Astor.[8] Together, Eli and Helen were the parents of:

Blake died on October 1, 1895, in Hampton, Connecticut.[10][11]


  1. ^ Charles, Eleanor (November 25, 1979). "A New View of Eli Whitney, And a New Hamden Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. ^ Alida Blake Hazard: The Blakes of 77 Elm Street: A Family Sketch. Quinnipiac Press, New Haven 1925. pp. 33–34.
  3. ^ Moffat, R. Burnham (1913). Pierrepont Genealogies from Norman Times to 1913. L. Middleditch Company. pp. 87–88. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Martha (1993). "Blake, Eli Whitney". Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Providence, RI: Brown University Library.
  5. ^ In memoriam – Eli Whitney Blake, LL.D. born April 20, 1836, died October 1, 1895. Providence: Doctor's Club. 1895. p. 3. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). "Blake, Eli Whitney" . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  7. ^ Historical Catalogue of the Members of the First Church of Christ in New Haven, Connecticut (Center Church): A.D. 1639–1914. 1914. p. 247. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Van Alstyne, Lawrence; Ogden, Charles Burr (1907). The Ogden family in America, Elizabethtown branch, and their English ancestry: John Ogden, the Pilgrim, and his descendants, 1640–1906. J.B. Lippincott company. p. 94. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Robinson, Caroline; Daniel Berkely Updike (1896). The Hazard family of Rhode Island 1635–1894 : Being a genealogy and history of the descendants of Thomas Hazard, with sketches of the worthies of this family, and anecdotes illustrative of their traits and also of the times in which they lived. Boston: Merrymount Press. pp. 121, 200.
  10. ^ "Professor Eli Whitney Blake". Hartford Courant. October 2, 1895. p. 8. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  11. ^ "OBITUARY RECORD. Eli Whitney Blake" (PDF). The New York Times. October 2, 1895. Retrieved July 14, 2019.