Publication: The Victor Herald
Victor, NY, United States
Laboratory Memorial to F. M. Locke
Well Known County Resident Honored
On Sept. 30 the new $5,000,000 F. M. Locke Ceramic Research laboratory will be dedicated at Baltimore, Maryland. The late Fred M. Locke, after whom the laboratory is to be named, was a native of Victor and a widely known Ontario county resident. His son is Deputy Sheriff James L. Locke who resides at 59 Catherine street, Canandaigua. His widow still lives in the family home on East Main street, Victor. Another son Louis P. Locke, resides in Fishers.
Mrs. Locke will be unable to go to Baltimore for the dedication of the laboratory. She feels the trip would be too difficult. There are two other sons, Morton F. Locke of Dobbs Ferry and Peer Locke of Rome.
As telegraph operator and agent at the New York Central station in Canandaigua and then in Victor, young Fred M. Locke strove to overcome the breaking down of insulators because of the effects of moisture, and eventually became the inventor of the high voltage porcelain insulator now in common use throughout the world.
Locke insulators made possible a much more rapid growth in the use of electricity than could otherwise have been achieved, and they were used on a high voltage long distance power line on the Pacific Coast which is believed to have been the first line of its kind ever built. The demand for the insulators became so brisk that would-be buyers would come to Victor and, search through the scrap heap in the hope of finding rejects which would answer their purpose. The manufacture of the insulators was first begun in Victor in 1898 after Mr. Locke had constructed a kiln and built a factory in which he employed a few men. The business was incorporated in 1902.
Mr. Locke's early experiments were conducted in his home with the kitchen stove as his kiln. Throughout those days of effort, Mrs. Locke had boundless faith in her husband's final success and assisted him in every possible way. In later years, a large and well-equipped laboratory was a part of their commodious home on East Main Street, and there Mr. Locke experimented upon and perfected the boro-silicate glass used in making heat-resistant dishes for cooking and baking purposes. His formula for that ware was purchased by the Corning Glass Works, which manufactures the ware in large quantities.
In his later experiments, Mr. Locke had the joy of having his son. Fred J., who also had an inventive mind, as co-worker. The death of the son in 1930 was followed, six weeks later, by the death of the father, but it is only recently, that the laboratory in which they worked has been dismantled.
Victor, the home of Mr. Locke, owes its prosperity to the Locke insulator in large degree and other Western New York towns shared in this prosperity.