Founder Underwriters Laboratories Dead

Founder Underwriters Laboratories Dead

William Henry Merrill, founder and president of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., died Monday, September 17, at the Presbyterian Hospital of Chicago. Born in Warsaw, New York, December 29, 1868, Mr. Merrill graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1889 and shortly thereafter reported in Chicago for service in fire protection and prevention, to which cause his very active career of a third of a century was exclusively devoted. In 1898, he organized the work now known the world over as Underwriters’ Laboratories and has since served as its principal executive. The institution both as to its plant and its equipment and its influence in the building and manufacturing industries becomes an enduring monument to his talent as an organizer and executive and as a crusader in a public work of major importance.

Mr. Merrill was a principal factor in bringing together the various interests which adopted and sponsored the first edition of the National Electrical Code and thereafter he worked effectively to secure its recognition and enforcement in Chicago and other cities of the central west. He served, in turn, as secretary-treasurer and as president of the National Fire Protection Association. His constructive influence in the work of that body was after recognized by election to honorary membership. Because of his pioneer interests in securing reasonable safeguards for acetylene gas generating equipment he was likewise selected for honorary membership in the Compressed Gas Association.

In 1918, he was drafted for war service at one dollar per year, serving as chairman, Fire Prevention Section, War Industries Board.

Mr. Merrill was a member of the Mid-Day and University Clubs of Chicago and of the Sigma Chi college fraternity. He is survived by a widow and five children of a former marriage.

William Henry Merrill, Founder and President, Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.

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