Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LANE, Jonathan Homer, mathematician, born in Geneseo, New York, 9 August, 1819; died in Washington, D. C., 3 May, 1880. He was graduated at Yale in 1846, entered the employ of the United States coast survey in 1847, and a year later was made assistant examiner in the United States patent-office, becoming principal examiner in 1851. Subsequently he re-entered the coast survey, and from 1869 till 1880 was connected with the bureau of weights and measures. He devoted considerable attention to astronomy, and was sent, under the auspices of the coast survey, with the expedition to Des Moines, Iowa, to observe the total solar eclipse of 1869, and to Catania, Spain, in 1870, for a similar purpose. Mr. Lane was a member of scientific societies, and was early elected to membership in the National academy of sciences. Among his important inventions were a machine for finding the real roots of the higher equations; a machine for very exact uniform motion; a visual telegraph; a visual method for the comparison of clocks at great distances apart; an improved basin for mercurial horizon; and a mechanism for holding the Drummond light and reflector on shipboard. His principal memoirs were "On the Law of Electric Induction in Metals" (1846); "On the Law of Induction of an Electric Current on Itself" (1851); "Report on the Solar Eclipse of 7 August, 1869" (1869); "Theoretical Temperature of the Sun" (1870); "Report on the Solar Eclipse of 12 December, 1870" (1871); " Description of a New Form of Mercurial Horizon "(1871); and "Coefficients of Expansion of the British Standard Yard Bar" (1877).
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