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Alex Dow

Alex Dow
Alex Dow in 1939
Born 1862
Died March 22, 1942(1942-03-22)
Citizenship American
Nationality Scottish
Institutions Detroit Edison
Notable awards IEEE Edison Medal (1936)

Alex Dow (1862 - March 22, 1942) was a Scottish-born US engineer.

Alex Dow was born in Scotland in 1862. He emigrated to the US in 1882.

In 1893, as a result of Hazen Pingree's efforts to break the power of corporations over Detroit City politics, Detroit built a municipally-owned power plant. Dow was the plant's first manager and electrical engineer for the city of Detroit.[1]

It was during this time that Henry Ford worked under Dow at one of the Detroit Edison substations. Dow took Ford with him to the 1896 annual convention of the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies being held that year in New York City. It was at this convention that Dow introduced Ford to Thomas Edison,[2] the meeting with, and encouragement from, the great scientist becoming a great inspiration to Ford in completing his first car.[3] Dow was appointed water commissioner for the city of Detroit in 1916-1921 and again in 1925-1932. In 1932, he was made the president of Detroit Edison and served until 1940. He was elected president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the 1928-1929 year.[4]

He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Institute of Electrical Engineers (Great Britain), Institute of Mechanical Engineers (Great Britain).

Dow also served as the President of The Engineering Society of Detroit from 1900-1901.


  1. ^ Holli, Melvin G. (1969). Reform in Detroit: Hazen S. Pingree and Urban Politics. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 80–85. 
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Ford: The Times, The Man, The Company. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1954. p. 167. 
  4. ^ "Alex Dow". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 


  • Holli, Melvin G. (1969). Reform in Detroit: Hazen S. Pingree and Urban Politics. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 80–85. 
  • Who's Who on the Web, s.v. "Alex Dow" (n.p.: Marquis Who's Who, 2005)
  • Miller, Raymond C. (1957). Kilowatts at Work, a History of the Detroit Edison Company. Wayne State University Press. 
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