From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Willson
Thomas Leopold "Carbide" Willson (March 14, 1860 – December 20, 1915) was a Canadian inventor.
He was born on a farm near Princeton, Ontario in 1860 and went to school in Hamilton, Ontario. By the age of 21, he had designed and patented the first electric arc lamps used in Hamilton. He moved to the United States in search of opportunities to sell his ideas.
In 1892, he discovered an economically efficient process for creating calcium carbide, which is used in the production of acetylene gas. In 1895, he sold his patent to Union Carbide.