Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic
biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biographyplease
submit a rewritten biography in text form.
If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century
Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor
Virtual American Biographies
Over 30,000 personalities
with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life
welcomes editing and additions to the
biographies. To become this site's editor or a contributor
or e-mail Virtualology here.
DIXON, Joseph, inventor, born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, 18 January 1799; died in Jersey City, New Jersey, 17 June 1869. He was entirely self-educated, and early showed unusual mechanical ingenuity, inventing a machine for cutting files before he was twenty-one. Subsequently he became a printer, and then acquired a proficient knowledge of wood engraving and lithography. He also studied medicine, and in that connection obtained an intimate acquaintance with chemistry, which he applied with great ability in his inventions. His knowledge of optics was unusual, and he had no superior in familiarity with photography. In 1839 he took up the experiments of Daguerre, and was one of the first persons to take portraits by the camera. The application of a reflector, so that the picture should not appear reversed, is credited to him, and Samuel F. B. Morse, to whom he confided the method, endeavored to have it patented in Europe. He built the first locomotive with the double crank, using wooden wheels. That a steam engine could be run on wheels and perform the services of a carrier was considered absurd. Mr. Dixon originated the process of transferring on stone, now everywhere used by lithographers, and invented the process of photolithography, publishing it years before it was believed to be of any value. By his process of transferring, the old banknotes were easily counterfeited, and it was to prevent the abuse of his process that he devised the method of printing the bills in colors. He patented this process, but never received any benefit from it, as all the banks used it without pay.
The present method employed by the U. S. government for printing in colors, for which a large sum is paid to patentees, is the old process invented by Mr. Dixon, of which the patent had long since expired. He perfected the method of making collodion as used in photography, and his suggestions led to the adoption of a true system for grinding the lenses of camera tubes. It is claimed that he, originally discovered the antifriction metal, known generally under the name of "Babbitt metal,". He is the originator of the steel melting business in the United States. Mr. Dixon became most widen known in connection with the crucible works that bear his name, having invented the plumbago, or graphite, crucible as now made. He established his factory in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1827, removing it to Jersey City in 1847, and, with improvements and additions, it has grown into the largest factory of its kind in the world. The crude material comes largely from mines near Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y., and is also very extensively used by the Joseph Dixon crucible works in the manufacture of lead pencils, an industry that has been developed simultaneously with the production of crucibles. Mr. Dixon invented a great number of machines and processes, never failing in his mechanical undertakings, and became very wealthy.
This site and its contents are not affiliated, connected,
associated with or authorized by the individual, family,
friends, or trademarked entities utilizing any part or
the subject's entire name. Any official or affiliated
sites that are related to this subject will be hyper
linked below upon submission
and Evisum, Inc. review.
Please join us in our mission to incorporate The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of America by July 2, 2026, the nation’s 250th birthday. , the United States of America: We The
People. Click Here