Petrie, John

    John A. Petrie, manufacturer of magical devices and inventor of electric flashlights, is conducting business in Westville. He was there born August 23, 1871, a son of Walter R. and Sarah (Berup) Petrie. The father is a native of Sunderland, Scotland, and the mother’s birth occurred in Vermont. She came to Connecticut and they were married in this state. The mother died in the early ‘70s. The father engaged in the manufacture of paper mill machinery and was well known in connection with the machinery business. He became one of the representative citizens of Westville, where he is still living at the age of eighty-three years, his birth having occurred June 19, 1834. He engaged in machinery manufacture during the period of the Civil war. To him and his wife were born six children, of whom three are living: Walter E., of New Haven; David, who is living in Milford, Connecticut; and John A.

    The last named, the youngest of the family, spent his boyhood as a school pupil in Westville and afterward entered into the manufacturing business, turning his attention to the manufacture of magical apparatus for Herman Keller and other stage celebrities. He has thus become well known to the theatrical world, for he has placed upon the market many ingenious and valuable devices for use on the stage. He is also the inventor and manufacturer of various flashlights, including the electric hand mirror, the Ultralite and various patented toys. He is associated in business with Thomas C. Lewis, it being a partnership concern and their patronage has reached very satisfying proportions. The Ultralite is particularly valuable for use by motorists, by boy scouts, by men in camp and also for photo developing, when a ruby celluloid may be placed in front of the light chamber. It gives out a broad ray of light and signals may be flashed, for the broad rays make them visible for miles. The Ultralite hand mirror is also an article of incomparable value. It is so constructed that it throws the reflection on the object to be examined, light being always where needed. It is particularly useful to the lady engaged in making her toilet and particularly valuable also to the man who is shaving. It is also of great benefit to the dentist and has many other uses.

    Mr. Petrie has been married twice. In July, 1893, he wedded Eva Judson, of Westville, who passed away in 1909, leaving two children: John Walter, who was born in 1899 and has completed a course in the high school of Westville; and Arthur Judson, who was born in Westville in 1895 and was graduated from Yale Academy with the class of 1917. For his second wife Mr. Petrie chose Miss Lillian Neal, of Westville, Connecticut, whom he wedded on the 28th of June, 1911.

    Mr. Petrie holds membership in the Congregational church and guides his life according to its teachings. He is thoroughly reliable as well as progressive in business and his efforts have led to successful accomplishment. He is thinking out along new and original lines and his initiative has resulted in bringing out various valuable inventions.

Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County


Volume II

New York – Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 

pgs 823 - 824

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pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary &
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002