Watson, Thomas Augustus


Watson, Thomas Augustus

▪ American industrialist
born Jan. 18, 1854, Salem, Mass., U.S.
died Dec. 13, 1934, Passagrille Key, Fla.

      American telephone pioneer and shipbuilder, one of the original organizers of the Bell Telephone Company, who later turned to shipbuilding and constructed a number of vessels for the United States government.

      Leaving school at the age of 14, Watson began work in an electrical shop in Boston, where he met Alexander Graham Bell (Bell, Alexander Graham). He worked with Bell on his telephone experiments, and in 1877, when the Bell Telephone Company was formed, he received a share in the business and became its head of research and technical development.

      After leaving Bell in 1881, Watson started a new business in partnership with Frank O. Wellington. The two partners constructed engines and ships, receiving their first government contract in 1896 for two destroyers. During the eight years that followed until his retirement in 1904, Watson's shipyard at Quincy, Mass., incorporated as the Fore River Ship & Engine Company, built lightships, cruisers, battleships, schooners, and other vessels.

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Universalium. 2010.

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