Alexander Lurkis, EE 1930

Alexander Lurkis  was born on Oct. 1, 1908. He graduated from The Cooper Union  Night School of Engineering in 1930 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He married a fellow Cooper Union student, Carin Tendler Lurkis A’29, in 1930. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from NYU in 1934. He rose to become Chief Engineer of the Bureau of Gas and Electricity for New York City from 1959 to 1964. He investigated New York City power failures in 1959 and 1961. He supervised the writing of the The New York City Electric Code.

Alexander Lurkis oversaw the conversion of NYC street lights from incandescent lights to mercury light bulbs and he is the designer of the ubiquitous mercury lamp post.     (See: Cooper Hewitt Museum Lamp Post Sketches by Alexander Lurkis  link)

In 1934, Alexander and other architects and engineers working for New York City, formed the first civil service technical organization and called it the Civil Service Technical Guild.  The Guild became part of the AFL-CIO in 1958 and Alexander Lurkis served as President and a Vice President of the AFL-CIO District Council 37.

Lurkis. Alexander - Image from COOP Publication

from a Cooper Union Publication

Alexander Lurkis was an officer in the Cooper Union Alumni Association from 1960 to 1966.  He was a Fellow in the New York Academy of Science and he severed as both a Vice President and a Trustee of the New York Academy of Science.  He was president of the Civil Service Technical Guild, 1956-58 and President of the 10th Assembly Dist. Democratic Club of Queens, 1955-58.

Alexander Lurkis was a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of Florida and New York.  He was honored with awards from the American Iron & Steel Institute, and the US Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD).

Alexander Lurkis authored the book, The Power Brink: Con Edison, a Centennial of Electricity, Dec. 1982.  He joined with others to form ICARE Press Inc., which published the his book.

He designed a new book lift 42d Street Public Library in New York City. He has 11 patents covering utility poles, traffic signals, and security systems. predicted future of gas turbine for peak power before the Federal Power Commission.

Alexander authored a novel titled, A Serpent at her Breast in 1996.  The novel is a romantic novel set in Indonesia.  Link

Alexander, died at age 99, June 16, 2008.  He was inducted into the Cooper Union Hall of Fame in 2009.

Read Alexander Lurkis’ biography in his own words on the The Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW):   Link


  • Obituary in New York Times
  • Who’s who in world Jewry : a biographical dictionary of outstanding Jews / Judith Turk Rosenblatt, editor. – Baltimore [et al.] , 1987.
  • Who’s who in American Jewry. – 1980 edition. – Los Angeles : Standard Who’s Who, 1980.
  •  Khiss, Peter, A Longtime Critic of Con Edison Publishes Book Of His Views, The New York Times. December 20, 1981
  • AtCooper Union, Winter Edition 2008-2009.
  • Long Island University Library Archives: Long Island Book Collectors Archive Box 1 listing  website (accessed 7/21/16)
  • Lurkis, Alexander, First-Hand:Unions and Utilities in New York, The Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW). Link (accessed 7/16/16)
  • A Serpent at her Breast page on  Link  (accessed 7/21/16)