Nils Gustaf Dalen
(1869 - 1937)
Swedish engineer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1912 for his
invention of the automatic sun valve, or Solventil, which regulates
a gaslight source by the action of sunlight, turning it off at dawn
and on at dusk or at other periods of darkness. It rapidly came into
worldwide use for buoys and unmanned lighthouses.
In 1906 Dalen became chief engineer of the Gas Accumulator Company,
which marketed acetylene gas. He became managing director of the company
in 1909 and then invented Agamassan, a substance that absorbs acetylene,
making it possible to concentrate the gas with no danger of explosion.
He was blinded by an explosion during an experiment in 1913, but he
continued experimental work until his death.