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William M. Habirshaw

Professor of Chemistry

Centurion, 1891–1908

Full Name William Martin Habirshaw

Born 24 February 1835 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 15 August 1908 in Saratoga Springs, New York

Proposed by Richard Butler and Alfred Van Santvoord

Elected 6 June 1891 at age fifty-six

Century Memorial

William Martin Habirshaw had been associated with The Century for seventeen years when, after a life of energy and success, he died at seventy-three. He was a child of New York, born and educated here, but trained as a scientific expert by foreign study. His reputation as an analytical chemist was international. Serving for a time in the Engineer Corps of the navy, he was convinced by experience and observation that the age of electricity was dawning. Accordingly, he devoted himself to the single question of insulation and founded a company for testing and making various insulating compounds which he discovered or invented. The work proved so multifarious that ancillary companies were formed for technical specialties and became later independent, while he enlarged his knowledge and his activities on the single line which he followed to the end, the uses of rubber and gutta-percha, matters of enormous import in the latest technical developments. He was a member of many technical societies and of three important clubs. His delight in sociability was keen, his culture and tastes were broad and liberal, as his scientific attainments were notable and thorough. He was loyal, hospitable, generous, and moved in a circle of distinguished friends.

William Milligan Sloane
1909 Century Association Yearbook