Edward G. Acheson House


The Edward G. Acheson House is a historic house at 908 West Main St. in Monongahela, Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. Probably built about 1870, it is notable as the home of Edward G. Acheson (1856-1931), the inventor of carborundum, and as the likely site of its invention. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[3]

Edward G. Acheson House
Edward G. Acheson House in 2011
Edward G. Acheson House is located in Pennsylvania
Edward G. Acheson House
Edward G. Acheson House is located in the United States
Edward G. Acheson House
Location908 West Main St.,
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°12′18.94″N 79°55′59.38″W / 40.2052611°N 79.9331611°W / 40.2052611; -79.9331611
Arealess than one acre
Builtc. 1870
NRHP reference No.76001679[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 11, 1976
Designated NHLMay 11, 1976[3]
Designated PHMCAugust 01, 1953[2][better source needed]

Description and history


The Edward G. Acheson House is located west of Monongahela's town center, on the south side of West Main Street roughly midway between 9th and 10th Streets. It is a vernacular 2+12-story painted brick building that is not architecturally distinguished. It is roughly L-shaped and covered by a hip roof, with a two-bay gabled projection in front. Its builder and construction date are not known; its styling is suggestive of a c. 1870s construction date.[4]

Between 1890 and 1895 the house was the home of inventor Edward G. Acheson (1856–1931). Acheson, a native of nearby Washington, was a minimally educated, but in 1880 landed a job at the laboratory of Thomas Edison. After being involved in the installation of electricity infrastructure for Edison, he settled in 1890 in Monongahela, where he worked for the local electric utility, and used excess capacity to perform experiments at his home. A series of experiments in 1891 led to invention of carborundum, the name he gave silicon carbide. According to local lore, the experiments were probably conducted in a summer kitchen attached to the back of the house. He moved to Niagara Falls, New York in 1895, to take advantage of the large power station there to develop carborundum production on an industrial scale. He received international recognition for his invention.[4]

Carborunudum is a mixture of clay and powdered coke, fused by electric current. It was then—and for fifty years remained—the hardest known artificial substance in the world. It has been used in countless industrial processes, primarily as an abrasive, over the years. Acheson's achievements are all the more remarkable in that he was self-educated and worked independently."[3]

In 1953, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed a historical marker outside the house, noting the historic importance of Acheson's achievements.[2] It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[3][4] It is designated as a historic residential landmark/farmstead by the Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation.[5]

See also



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Edward Acheson - PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Edward G. Acheson House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c James Sheire (February 3, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Edward G. Acheson House" (pdf). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 1 photo, exterior, from 1976. (105 KB)
  5. ^ "Acheson, Edward G. House". Landmark Registry – Residential Landmark/Farmstead. Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation. 2008. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2010.