Idwal Jones was born on December 8, 1890 in Festiniog in northern Wales. His father was an engineer and geologist who in 1902
brought the family to the slate-quarrying region of Pennsylvania. He later became the Inspector of Mines for the State of
New York. The younger Jones was not sent to school in Pennsylvania due to health concerns, but continued his education at
home with tutors. He later studied mechanical engineering in New York and for a time worked as a mechanician for Charles Proteus
Steinmetz, the famed electrical engineer whose theories regarding electrical current revolutionized the field. At other times
in his life, Jones worked in slate quarries and factories and as a rancher and prospector in California.
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