Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti

Infobox Scientist
name = Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
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caption = Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
birth_date = April 9, 1864
birth_place = Liverpool, England
death_date = January 13, 1930
death_place = Zurich, Switzerland
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nationality = England
ethnicity =
field = electrical engineer and inventor
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Sebastian Pietro Innocenzo Adhemar Ziani de Ferranti (April 9, 1864 - January 13, 1930) was an electrical engineer and inventor.

Personal life

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was born in Liverpool, England. His Italian father, Cesar, was a photographer and his mother Juliana (née Scott) was a concert pianist. He was educated at Hampstead School, London; St. Augustine's College, Westgate on Sea; and University College London.

He married Gertrude Ruth Ince on April 24, 1888 and they had seven children together. Ferranti died on January 13, 1930 in Zurich, Switzerland. He was buried in the same grave as his parents and his daughter Yolanda at Hampstead Cemetery, London.

His grandson, Basil de Ferranti, was a Conservative politician who represented Morecambe and Lunesdale in the late fifties and early sixties.

Professional career

Ferranti showed a remarkable talent for electrical engineering from his childhood. His first invention, at the age of 13, was an arc light for street lighting. Reportedly, around the age of 16, he built an electrical generator (that had a "Zig-zag armature") with the help of William Thomson (the future Lord Kelvin) and later patented the device (called the "Ferranti Dynamo"). He worked for Siemens Brothers at Charlton, London and in 1882 he set up shop in London designing various electrical devices as the firm Ferranti, Thompson and Ince.

In the late 1880s there was a debate within the industry about the transmission of electrical power, known as the War of the Currents. Thomas Edison supported a direct current (DC) based system, largely due to his holding many key patents and having set up some power plants supplying DC power. His rival, Nikola Tesla, supported an alternating current (AC) system that was being backed by Westinghouse.

Ferranti bet on AC early on, and was one of the few experts in this system in the UK. In 1887 the London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) hired Ferranti for the design of their power station at Deptford. He designed the building, the generating plant and the distribution system. On its completion in 1891 it was the first truly modern power station, supplying high-voltage AC power that was then "stepped down" for consumer use on each street. This basic system remains in use today around the world. One of the remaining supports of the generating hall of Deptford Power Station forms the frame of the sign at the Manchester Museum of science and Industry in Manchester UK, home of the Ferranti Archives.

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1910 and 1911, and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1927.


* "US patent|341097 "Unipolar dynamo electric machine".

Further reading

* The Life and Letters of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti by Gertrude Ziani de Ferranti and Richard Ince (OCLC|395772); published 1934 by Williams & Norgate, Ltd.
* Centenary of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, D.Sc.,F.R.S., born 9th April,1864: Founder of Ferranti, Ltd.,1882; published 1964 by Ferranti (ASIN|B0000CM9N3).

ee also

Basil de Ferranti (grandson)

External links

* [ Institution of Engineering and Technology]
* [ List of the children of Sebastian and his wife Gertrude]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti — (* 9. April 1864 in Liverpool; † 13. Januar 1930 in Zürich) war ein britischer Elektroingenieur. Leben und Wirken Sein italienischer Vater César Ferranti war Photograph, seine Mutter war eine Konzertpianistin. Seine erste kommerzielle Erfindung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ferranti, Sebastian Ziani de — ▪ British engineer born April 9, 1864, Liverpool, Eng. died Jan. 13, 1930, Zürich, Switz.       British electrical engineer who promoted the installation of large electrical generating stations and alternating current distribution networks in… …   Universalium

  • Ferranti Limited — war eine britische Firma der Elektroindustrie die von Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti im Jahre 1905 gegründet wurde. Das Unternehmen stellte an mehreren Standorten in England (London, Manchester) und Schottland (Aberdeen, Glasgow) ein breites… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Ferranti — Infobox Defunct Company company name = Ferranti company slogan = fate = Bankrupt broken up successor = GEC Marconi, Matra Marconi Space foundation = 1905 (as Ferranti Ltd) defunct = Bankrupt 1993 location = industry = Electronics Defence key… …   Wikipedia

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  • Ferranti-Effekt — Der nach seinem Entdecker Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti benannte Ferranti Effekt tritt in Hochspannungsnetzen auf, wenn lange Freileitungen oder Kabelstrecken mit hoher Betriebskapazität am abnahmeseitigen Ende durch Ausschalten des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Effet Ferranti — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ferranti. L’effet Ferranti désigne l apparition d une surtension lorsqu une longue ligne électrique est alimentée à une extrémité et sans charge à l autre extrémité. Il tire son nom de l inventeur Sebastian Ziani …   Wikipédia en Français

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