Inventor from lebanon
An Outstanding Scientist
and Prolific Inventor from
Hasan Kamel Al Sabbah
Hasan Kamel Al-Sabbah (also known as Camil Al-Sabbah) is the nephew of prominent linguist and writer Sheikh
Ahmad Reda. He was born on August 16, 1895 in Nabatieh, Lebanon. In 1901 he went to a local school and later studied at
the American University of Beirut. He taught mathematics at the Imperial College of Damascus, Syria, and at AUB.
In 1921, he traveled to the United States and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the
University of Illinois for a masters degree in 1923. He worked at the Engineering Laboratory of
General Electric Company in New York, where he was involved in research, principally on rectifiers and
inverters .It was not long before he was recognized as an electronics research engineer, mathematician and
inventor par excellence. However Al- Sabbah had signed a contract which stated that all his inventions were owned by the company.
Consequently he received a reward of one dollar for each of his patented inventions. Al-Sabbah had over 70 US and foreign patents covering his work. He was engaged in work on television and motors as well, and
originated circuits for use with rectifiers. He wrote a series of articles on polyphase polycyclic static converters which were
published in the General Electric Review and presented a paper on the effect of circuits on arc backs to the Mercury Congress at Paris in 1932. He was also on the fellowship list of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
His inventions in electricity had a great impact on the development of 20th Century technology.
Al-Sabbah’s dream was to build sunpowered cells in the Arabian Desert. The main ingredients for solar power are the ubiquitous sand which is used to make solar cells and the strong sun for powering them.
In 1935, he declared that he would return to the Middle East and transform the Arabian Desert into a paradise. He intended to use the desert to generate and power the solar cells thus producing enormous amounts of energy.
Al-Sabbah's inventions and patents have contributed to applied technology in North America and the entire world. His patents
in highly intricate systems, instruments and equipment are classified over six main categories as follows:
1-Space Industry (The Solar Power) 27 patents awarded between 1928 and 1935. These are widely used for space as a
main source of power for vehicles and satellites. The original solar cell which was invented and tested by Al-Sabbah was
further developed after World War II by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1955. A careful review of aircraft, spaceship, and
satellite electric systems reveal that many electronic instruments and equipments such as integrators, regulators, inverters,
timers, transmitters, and sensors were developed from his original inventions of rectifiers and converters.
2-Automotive Industry (The Solar Electric Car) There are five basic patents (1929-35) on electric distribution, transforming and translating circuits. In 1930, he performed experiments on his own car to electrify it. He worked to make the idea of the electric car a useful and practical possibility. His early experiments gave GE the unique position as a pioneer in developing the
solar cell and sodium-sulphur battery as well.
3-Television and Cathode Ray Tube Application There are three patents on televisiontransmission of pictures and views(1928-30) and two patents on cathode ray tube (1935). GE research engineers developed the liquid crystal display (LCD) instrument system based on Al- Sabbah's original patents. It is a panel for aircrafts and presents information in color, with twice
the sharpness of a home TV screen. The display owes its high resolution to the large number of pixels that are activated
to form an image on its screen. LCD images are normally black and green filters. Further development and
modifications of Al-Sabbah's cathode ray tube formulated new types of CRT used in electronic systems. The television could not have been further developed without these.
4-Power Generating Station It is important to note that six
patents (1929-35) covered Rectifying and Rectifier Compounding systems. Another 24 patents (1930-30) dealt with electric power conversion and excitation systems. He established in the early thirties the basic techniques for many applicable
procedures for the protection of the excitation transformers over current and rotor over voltage/load. After his death he
left a great technical legacy of useful methods, procedures and formulas. GE engineers recently developed several
electronic equipments based on the original patents of Hasan Kamel Al-Sabbah. Among the new devices are the metaloxide
semiconductor field-effect transistor()MOSFET), the conductivity modulated field-effect transistor (COMFET), the
high-power bipolar junction transistor (HPBJT), the power MOS-controlled thyristor (PMOSCT) and the HVDC
5-Pressure and Temperature Electric Instrumentation There are three basic patents on pressure
control (1927-1930) and one patent on temperature control ()1935). Many pressure and temperature devices used in the control of steam, reheat stages such as indicators, transmitters, switches, sensors, detectors and controllers are based on his original patents. Several major pressure and temperature electronic gauge manufacturers signed mutual agreements with GE to produce and further develop his inventions.
6-Heavy Industry: Development of New Arc Welding Methods There are basic patents on vapor electric arc (1928-1930), in addition to the six patents on rectifying and rectifiers (1928- 35). These inventions are the ornerstone of the arc-welding machines and were introduced to the market in 1930. Heavy industry, ships, submarines, tanks and turbo-generators could not progress without the development of the new arc welding machinery. In the early years of the Second World War, many welding machine manufacturers further developed the welding machine to meet the military industry requirements by using the rectifying system of Hasan Kamel Al-Sabbah.
Al-Sabbah died in 1935, in an automobile accident at Lewis near Elizabeth Town, New York. Mr. C.G.Marcy, the personnel director of General Electric Company, used these words to describe Hasan Kamel Al-Sabbah in a letter dated April 16, 1935.
"It is indeed unfortunate that his genius mind should be brought to such an untimely end. His death is a great loss for the world of invention" ♦