Insull, Samuel ĭn´səl [key], 1859–1938, American public utilities financier, b. London. He arrived in the United States in 1881 and was employed by Thomas A. Edison as a private secretary. He later became prominent in the management of the Edison industrial holdings. By 1907 he overcame competing public utilities companies in Chicago and soon controlled the city's transit system. After numerous mergers he expanded his operations throughout Illinois and into neighboring states. He eventually formed (1912) a mammoth interlocking directorate that operated over 300 steam plants, almost 200 hydroelectric generating plants, and numerous other power plants throughout the United States. His companies flourished in the 1920s, but in 1932 his empire collapsed. Insull went to Greece, then Turkey. Extradited (1934) to the United States, he faced fraud and embezzlement charges (1934–35) but was acquitted.
See studies by F. McDonald (1962) and J. F. Wasik (2006).
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