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Winthrop M. Leeds

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Biography

Winthrop M. Leeds was born on August 18. 1905, in Moorestown, N. J. He went to work for Westinghouse in 1926 after graduating from Haverford College with a B.S. degree. He then received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1930 and 1945, respectively. Westinghouse awarded Dr. Leeds the Benjamin G. Lamme Scholarship for graduate study which he carried out at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1937-38.

During his long career as a high voltage circuit breaker designer and developer, Dr. Leeds received 90 patents on his inventions and was the recipient of three special patent awards in 1941, 1952, and 1966. He wrote 19 papers for IEEE, one paper receiving a National Prize Award and another a District Prize Award. In Among his outstanding accomplishments are significant contributions to the design of the 287 kV oil circuit breakers for Hoover Dam, the widely used 34S kV transmission line circuit breakers, as well as the first 500 kV circuit breakers installed in the United States on the Virginia Electric Power Company system. These latter breakers, as well as many others for which Dr. Leeds has been responsible, utilize the unique properties of sulfur hexafluoride gas for both insulating and arc quenching functions. For this work, in 1971 Dr. Leeds was awarded the IEEE's Lamme Medal.

Some of the administrative positions held by Dr. Leeds included Manager Circuit Breaker Development; Manager, Switchgear Long Range Development; Manager, Power Circuit Breaker Engineering; and Manager, New Products Engineering. He also served as President of the Westinghouse Engineers Society. For two years prior to his retirement in 1972 Dr. Leeds was Consulting Engineer for the Power Circuit Breaker Division. He was a Director of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers and the First Vice-President of the Chapter.

Winthrop M. Leeds, died on March 11, 1998.