Isaac L. Rice
( - 1915)

Photo of Isaac Rice

Isaac Rice was born in Bavaria, Germany, but emigrated to the United States as a child. He grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Columbia University in 1880. Rice worked for Columbia University as a lecturer and and instructor until 1886, when he began the practice of railroad law.1

Rice developed an interest in electricity and avidly promoted its use. In 1888, he formed the Electric Storage Battery Company based on Clement Payenís "chloride accumulator." A short time later, he formed the Electric Vehicle Company which operated electric powered taxi cabs. He acquired control of the Electric Launch Company (later Elco); and upon the death of the president of The Electro-Dynamic Company, the former employers of Frank T. Cable, that enterprise also came under Riceís management."2

When the Holland Torpedo Boat Company ran short of funds, Frank Cable approached Isaac Rice for help. After visiting the Holland VI twice in 1898, Rice agreed to fund the modifications made in early 1899. "On 7 February [1899], the Electric Boat Company was incorporated and the Holland Company became its major subsidiary. Certain privileged holders of Holland stock converted their assets into preferred shares of Electric Boat. Isaac Rice became president of both companies, John Holland was retained as manager, Charles Morris retained as superintending engineer, and Charles Creecy still represented the Holland interests in Washington as legal counsel. E. B. Frost, secretary-treasurer, emerged as the real overlord of the submarine enterprise. The Electric Boat Company soon absorbed, into one vast combine, The Electro-Dynamic Company of Philadelphia and the Electric Launch Company, among other Rice enterprises."3

Rice also organized the Car Lighting and Power Company and the American Casein Company. He was active in the organiztion of the Industrial Oxygen Company, the New Jersey Development Company, the Societe Francaise de Sousmarin, the International Development Company, the national Torpedo Comapny, the Consolidated Railway Electric Lighting and Equipment Company, Railway Stationary and Refrigerating Company, the Lindstrom Brake Company and the National Milk Sugar Company.

Isaac Rice was an accomplished chess player and inventor of the "Rice Gambit." He was married to Julia Hyneman Barnett and had six children.4

  1. Newspaper Obituary, November 3, 1915 provided by Victor du Busc.
  2. Morris, Richard K., John P. Holland: Inventor of the Modern Submarine. (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1966; 2nd ed., Univ. S.C. Press, 1998), pg 92.
  3. Ibid., pg 96.
  4. Newspaper Obituary, November 3, 1915 provided by Victor du Busc.

1999,2001,2002 Gary McCue

Gary W. McCue
17 November 2002