David MISELL - Inventor - Patent Information

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Judy Wolkowitz asks about David MISELL, one of the
co-inventors of the flashlight which then evolved into
Eveready batteries: "I have learned that a man named
David MISELL ... along with Conrad HUBERT (Akiba
HOROWITZ)" etc. The US patent was taken out in 1897
states: "Be it known that I, David MISELL, a subject
of the Queen of Great Britain, and a resident of New

This website gives further details:

I turned first to the census of Engand and Wales in
1871 and reluctantly dismissed David born in ca 1871;
there were in fact only 6 MISELL in 1871.

Then there is a big surprise: I checked the 1861
census and there were 29 MISELL. Many have first names
suggesting they are Jewish. Here we see the Ipswich
[East of England] and Manchester
connections. There are two possible candidates called

1. David MISELL born abt 1849 in Liverpool, living in
Manchester son of Moses MISELL, picture dealer born in
Ipswich in 1812. Moses is a widower and his mother
Amelia MISELL born in London in 1783 lives with the
family. David is one of four boys.

2. David MISELL born abt 1846 in Liverpool and living
in Liverpool to Woolfe MISELL born in London in 1819,
a watch manufacturer - David is one of eight children
[five sisters!] and he is a watch-jobber. Could
Woolfe and Moses be brothers - Is Amelia also Woolfe's

By 1871 both these David MISELL had disappeared from
England - so one surely must be our inventor, but
which one? In the US 1881 Federal census we have
David MISELL living in Suffolk, Boston, USA: David
MISELL, born 1848 in England. In the same place lives
a Florence MISELL born in Mass. in 1820. Coincidence?

BY 1871, the 29 MISELL of 1861 had whittled down to 6
- had they all died, emigrated, changed their names,
or had the name died
out through marriage?

Looking at the 1851 census you find a David MISELL,
tobacconist, born 1809 in Ipswich but now living in
Manchester. Could this be the grandfather of *our
David*, the inventor of the tubular flash light and
early bicycle light? We now know that the Ipswich and
the North of England MISELL were the same family.

Now to another clue: I was most interested to read
that that the famous British actor Warren Mitchell was
ne MISELL in London in 1926. Had other MISELL
anglicized their name to MITCHELL, thus accounting
for the demise of the name between 1861 and 1871?
Surprisingly, by 1901 there were again 37 MISELL in
England, however they appear to originate from coal
mining families in Durham so are most unlikely to be
connected with our early Anglo-Jewish families
discussed above.

Celia Male [U.K.]
Sender: Celia Male <celiamale@xxxxxxxxx>
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