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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BRITTAN, Nathan, inventor, born in Spencer, Massachusetts, 2 September, 1808; died in Adrian, Michigan, 3 January, 1872. He received his early education at the academy in Hawley, Massachusetts, and was graduated at Brown in 1837. He was associated as a teacher with Dr. Chester Dewey, at Rochester, New York, in 1837-'45, removed to Lyons, New York, and taught with success for five years, and then established himself in Adrian, Michigan. In 1851 his attention was directed to the inadequacy of the lightning rods in use in that part of the country, and he immediately devoted himself to the study of the laws of atmospheric electricity, and invented a new conductor, known as the "continuous copper-strip," which was patented and received with general favor. He spent the remaining years of his life in the business arising from his invention, residing at different periods in Lockport and Rochester, in Detroit and Chicago, and returning in 1868 to Adrian, in each of which places he was actively engaged in religious efforts and in enterprises for social improvement.
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