Thomas E. Murray was an American inventor, entrepreneur, and influential figure in electric utilities at the beginning of the 20th century. He left school at age nine when his father died to begin helping to support his family. In 1875, he was hired by the Albany Iron and Machine Works as an apprentice, and by 21 he was Chief Engineer of the Albany Waterworks.
Working with Anthony N. Brady, he moved from Albany to New York City, and organized, consolidated, and expanded New York City’s electrical generation and transmission systems. He oversaw the building of major power stations that powered the city for the first half of the 20th century. His over 460 patents covered everything from power plants to light sockets, including generation, fuses, meters, switches, conduits, sockets, and dimmers.
His inventions improved the safety of interior electric wiring which helped give birth to the electrical appliance industry. Here his patents included an apartment refrigerator, air conditioner, and a dishwasher. Concerned about the environment, he patented anti-pollution devices for smokestacks.
Thomas Edward Murray was born in Albany, NY. Though his humble origins did not allow him anything beyond a primary school education, he died with 462 patents to his name. In addition, he was awarded the Longstreth Medal of Merit from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, a High Commendation - Department of War, and a Gold Medal of the American Museum of Safety.