Magnus W. Alexander
1870 – September 10
) was a German-born US electrical engineer and
designer for GE and Westinghouse who also became a social
Alexander was born to Alexander M. and M. (Jelenkiewicz) A.
Alexander. He studied mechanics, metallurgy and electrical engineering at Austrian
universities in Vienna, 1889, Leoben, 1891, and Gratz, 1892.
Following his education he was employed with Austria's largest
steel company. In 1893 he joined Weston Electrical
as an engineer and designer. The next year
he was recruited by Westinghouse Electric
and Manufacturing Co.
, and he emigrated to the US. After five
years with Westinghouse, he joined Siemens
and Halske Electric Co.
In 1900, General Electric
made him chief engineer in
charge of design, a position he held until 1918. Thereafter, he
served as GE's consulting engineer on economic issues until
While with GE, Alexander began turning his attention to industrial
education. He created and directed GE's Education and
Personnel Department in Lynn, Massachusetts. In 1907, he initiated a partnership between
GE and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology whereby GE provided apprenticeships and in-house
technical courses for newly graduated MIT engineers.
He served on Massachusetts old-age pension commission and the
Massachusetts Workman's compensation commission. He was a charter
member of the National Association
of Corporation Schools
, the American Management
, the National
Society for the Promotion of Industrial Education
, and the
Institute of Electrical Engineers
He also was an early participant (with Malcolm Rorty
and Wesley Mitchell
) in National Bureau of Economic
.He also created the National Industrial Conference
Board (now known as The Conference
) with Loyall Osborne
(Westinghouse), Frederick P.
, and Frank A. Vanderlip
- Noble, David F. America by
Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate
Capitalism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.
- Who's Who on the Web, s.v. "Magnus W. Alexander" (n.p.:
Marquis Who's Who, 2005)