Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PHELPS, George May, inventor, born in Watervliet, New York, 19 March, 1820; died in Brooklyn, New York, 18 May, 1888. He early found employment in the shop of his uncle, Jonas H. Phelps, a maker of surveying and astronomical instruments in Troy. In 1850 he had established himself in business, making various kinds of light machinery, and models. Soon afterward Mr. Phelps was chosen to manufacture the type-printing telegraph of Royal E. House; and when, a few years later, the American telegraph company was formed to operate the printing system of David E. Hughes, Mr. Phelps became the superintendent of its factory. Several important modifications of this machine were devised by him, and by gradual adaptation it became the well-known " combination printer." His most valuable invention was the motor-printer, which is now in use on the lines of the Western union telegraph company. The machinery and apparatus made by Mr. Phelps were noticeable for symmetry and gracefulness, expressing an innate sense of fitness and proportion, which was the most striking characteristic of his talent as an inventor and constructor.
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