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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company"


[This article appeared in Western Electrician, vol. 28, no. 24 (June 15, 1901) pp. 406-407. It is reproduced her in full, and includes images that appeared in the original.]

thumbnail image - Fig. 1 View in Electricity Building Showing transformer Plant in Foreground

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" - Fig. 1 View in Electricity Building Showing Transformer Plant in Foreground. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: "Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" Western Electrician, v. 28, no. 24, p. 406. (Notice the exhibit of the Westinghouse Company in the background.

The General Electric company has a comprehensive exhibit, occupying the northwest corner of the Electricity building at the Pan-American Exposition. The principal feature of the exhibit is the 5,000-horsepower transformer plant which transforms all of the current used by the exposition company in the lighting scheme of the buildings and grounds. This transformer plant is practically a typical modern substation, and occupies an important position among the various features of the exposition. In Fig. 1 a general view of the company's exhibit is given, showing in the foreground the transformer plant and also one of the nickel-steel forged rings to be used for the new Niagara Falls generators now being made by the General Electric company.

This company has confined itself to exhibits presenting a few of the most novel and recent developments in the practical field, showing such apparatus and appliances as have been perfected in the last few years and become recognized as of real importance commercially.

The compensated type of generator exhibited, which is one of the company's most recent productions in the development of alternating-current apparatus, is so connected that it illustrates the interesting fact that this machine automatically maintains accurate voltage regulation under all the varying conditions of inductive and non-inductive loads. The C. R. regulator is placed in the primary circuit of the transformer and is used to illustrate in a very practical manner the use of this form of regulation. Thus the most modern method of generating and controlling alternating current is shown in practical operation.

thumbnail image - Fig. 3 - Portion of the Exhibit

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" - Fig. 3. Portion of the Exhibit. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: "Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" Western Electrician, v. 28, no. 24, p. 407.

While referring to the compensated type of alternator, it is of interest to examine the 200-kilo-watt generator of this class which the company exhibits. It is unique in design, being a 36-pole machine of the revolving-field type and having an exciter mounted on the pillow block, operated from the generator shaft by gear and rawhide pinion. This machine illustrates a construction which has been successfully used on large machines of different capacities with considerable success. It is designed for direct coupling to the engine shaft, but is here shown with the separate pillow block where the engine bearing would ordinarily be. The series alternating system attracts a great deal of attention, and in order to illustrate thoroughly the operation of these transformers, the company has installed a small transformer having glass sides, to permit full examination of the interior of the apparatus while in operation. This small transformer operates two or three arc lights and series incandescent lights on the same circuit, thus illustrating the flexibility of this system, which permits the use of arcs and incandescents in series.

One of the most interesting of the modern developments in lighting is the series incandescent street system made by this company, which is shown in practical operation by means of a small reactive coil, with the series incandescent lamps mounted on a panel beside it. These lamps may be cut out by means of small switches, thus enabling one to watch the operation of the reactive coil and the effect on the other lamps remaining in the circuit.

Visitors looking for information on arc lamps find a most interesting and novel display in the General Electric company's space. The exhibit comprises a group of the company's standard interchangeable type of arc lamp, arranged with glass casings surrounding the mechanism and very dense inner globes, which permit a full examination of the arc without any strain on the eyes. By this arrangement, the lamp may be turned on and off, and the entire working of the lamp mechanism may be observed under various conditions of the arc. These lamps form an interesting group in themselves, as they show to what extent the interchangeable idea has been carried by this company in arc-lamp manufacture.

There are shown three multiple lamps for 110 volts alternating and direct current and 220 volts direct current, respectively, and three others for series alternating, series direct-constant-current and 500 volt railway work. All of these lamps use the same outer and inner globes, and each of the two groups mentioned are so neatly similar in construction as to convey the impression to the layman that they are alike. As a matter of fact, the difference between these lamps is only in three or four parts, which are in themselves interchangeable. The development of enclosed-arc lighting has been carried into the constant-direct-current field. For this work the most popular machine is undoubtedly the large type Brush arc generator, with multiple-circuit attachment, by means of which a number of different circuits may be operated from one machine; one of these machines, of 125 lights' capacity, is exhibited.

In the company's exhibit of electric-railway motors (Fig. 2) is an actual working example of the train-control system of this company, with two GE-66 railway motors and controllers, representing all the apparatus required for operating a single car. It illustrates in a practical manner the fact that this system applies equally well to one car or to several in one train.

The company's sectional third-rail system is also fully illustrated by an actual installation of contact rails and sectional switches. The contact shoes are so mounted, on small wheels, that they may be moved along the rails, and the various conditions of the operation of this system fully understood.

One of the popular features of the Electricity building is the four-motor equipment with electric brakes, shown in this company's space. Two standard trucks for each electric car are shown, supporting a platform on which are supported all the devices of a standard car equipment. The trucks are driven by four GE-67 36-horsepower motors, equipped with electric brakes. These are operated by two B-19 controllers, located one at each end of the frame on the trucks. Current is taken from a section of grooved trolley wire, which is actually installed, with various line material made by the company. An interesting fact illustrated here is that when the motors are running at full speed, the trolley arm may be pulled down and the electric brakes thrown on, the wheels coming immediately to a standstill, thus showing that these brakes work independently of the trolley circuit.

A standard type electric air compressor, known as the C.P.-12, operatively connected, is shown. The fact that compressed air is so useful for cleaning about car houses is practically illustrated in the company's space, where this method of cleaning and dusting is used.

The latest forms of railway motors of various capacities manufactured by the General Electric company are also shown in the space. The wide use of the company's standard appliances has necessitated the development of a wide range of instruments, switches, etc., for use on switchboards of all classes of electrical work, and a very interesting exhibit of this material has been made. Of course, the largeswitchboard in the transformer plant comprising both high and low-tension panels, with the oil-break switches, is of exceptional interest. However, this switchboard being in service during all the open hours of the exposition, renders it difficult for visitors to inspect the fittings as fully as they might desire. The same may be stated of the several switchboards for different apparatus in the working part of the company's exhibit. Therefore, this company has made a special exhibit (Fig. 3) of switchboard appliances on blue Vermont marble panels conforming in design to the standard switchboards. This contains samples of each of the various types of standard measuring instruments made by the company, with recording wattmeters, frequency indicators and other notable appliances of recent development. There are switches and circuit-breakers of various designs, for high and low-tension work, an oil-break switch being arranged so that the fullest examination may be made. One of the company's new cabinet panels is also shown.

thumbnail image - Fig. 5 - General Electric Company Exhibit Headquarters

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" - Fig. 5. General Electric Company [Exhibit] Headquarters. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: "Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" Western Electrician, v. 28, no. 24, p. 407.

thumbnail image - Fig. 6 - Model of Works

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" - Fig. 6. Model of Works. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: "Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" Western Electrician, v. 28, no. 24, p. 407.

The company's line of small motors is indicated in the display of alternating and direct-current motors for various apparatus, many of them being operatively connected to machines of various types for household and shop use. The exhibit also contains a motor-generator set of the type extensively used for charging automobiles.

Probably the most interesting practical application of electricity to mining work is represented by the modern electric mining locomotive. The General Electric company manufactures a wide range of these for all kinds of mining work and exhibits a typical locomotive, of which a large number are used in the coal mines of the Union Pacific Railway company. This exhibit is shown in Fig 2. The locomotive weighs 10 tons. It is made for a 30-inch gauge and for operating on 500-volt circuits. It is known as L.M.-104-A-2 and is fitted with two GE-61 four-turn, form A, standard railway motors and an R-37-B controller. The controller and brakes and the sanding devices are all controlled from one point where the operator sits. One of the details of construction which attracts practical mining men is the removable brakeshoes, which may be quickly removed and replaced without affecting any other part of the brake gear. This locomotive is fitted with headlights and all of the modern appliances which go to make tip a complete outfit.

There is shown an electric hoist manufactured by the Lidgerwood Manufacturing company and fitted with a standard GE-52 250-volt, two-turn motor and R-14 controllers. The company also exhibits a typical electric mining pump, with a 50-horsepower indicating motor. This pump is a 6 ½ by eight-inch horizontal, triplex, single-acting plunger machine.

In the Machinery building the General Electric company shows a 10-horsepower motor, operatively connected to a four by six-inch, triplex, single-acting Deane pump, delivering 49 gallons a minute against 169 pounds' pressure. Another interesting operative exhibit of electric pumping machinery is shown in the base of the Electric Tower, where a General Electric three-horsepower, 500-volt direct-current motor operates a four by six-inch vertical triplex Knowles pump. This electric pump furnishes water for the restaurant part way up in the Electric Tower.

This company has installed alternating-current apparatus representing a typical station, according to modern ideas for furnishing light and power and embodying a number of novel features. Each part of this group is interesting in itself. Twenty-five-cycle current is taken from the exposition transformer plant, located in the company's space, transformed from 1,800 volts to 360 volts by three type H, oil-cooled transformers, and then used to operate a synchronous motor of type ATE, eight-pole, 150-horsepower, 550 revolutions. This motor is belted to one of the company's most recent developments in alternating-current machinery, and known as a compensated type, form P, alternating generator. The particular machine exhibited is rated as an ATE, eight-pole, 100-kilowatt, 900-revolution, 2,500-volt generator.

The switchboard, of the company's standard construction, comprises a high-tension panel, with oil switches, a recording wattmeter, a generator panel with regular instruments, and one feeder panel. The panels are of blue Vermont marble, and in themselves make a most interesting exhibit.

As a load for the compensated generator, the company has installed a complete equipment of its series alternating-current street-lighting system of enclosed- arc lamps. This is supplied by a 75-light, constant-current transformer, which operates about 70 series enclosed-arc lamps, located in three rows over the main aisles in the Electricity building.

Thumbnail image - Fig. 4 - Part of Operative Exhibit

"Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" - Fig. 4. Part of Operative Exhibit. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: "Pan-American Exhibit of General Electric Company" Western Electrician, v. 28, no. 24, p. 407.

All of the apparatus in this operative exhibit above described is arranged in one group in the center of the company's space, as illustrated in Fig. 4, and the operation may be clearly followed and studied by those interested.

The operation of the constant-current transformer is a matter of considerable interest to electrical men. and to afford opportunity for careful study of this apparatus. the company exhibits a five-light transformer, the sides being fitted with glass panels through which the movement of the coils may be observed.

The operative exhibit of the company's marine apparatus. shown in Fig. 2, simply hints at the large line of this material which it manufactures. The marine generating set shown consists of an engine of the single-cylinder, enclosed type, eight inches in diameter, with a six-inch stroke, direct-connected to a 15-kilowatt, six-pole, 400-revolution, 110-volt generator. The engine is particularly interesting. and its design insures satisfactory operation for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is the self-oiling feature secured by the enclosed base. This set is similar in size to those supplied by this company to a great many lake and river steamers, and, in fact, to moderate-sized vessels of all classes. A standard switchboard for use with a generating set of this size is also exhibited.

There is shown a searchlight projector of the size widely used for commercial purposes, and which is similar in design to the large searchlights furnished by the company to nearly all the vessels in the United States navy, and one of which is mounted on the Electric Tower at the exposition. The search-light exhibited is one of the 13-inch size. It is installed in such a manner as to illustrate the so-called pilot-house control method of handling the projector, which enables the pilot to operate the projector placed on top of the pilot house without leaving his wheel. When a modern steamer is provided with an electric-lighting system, it is customary to also have electric running lights, and this company has perfected a safety device for use in this connection which attracts considerable attention. The possibility of one of the running lights being extinguished, for any reason whatever, has to be carefully guarded against. With oil lamps, this can be done only by the man on watch forward, but with electric lights, a satisfactory device is possible which removes the responsibility from the lookout, and places it where it belongs, in the pilot house. The arrangement is as follows: Each of the running lights may he provided with two lamps and wired to a telltale device located in the pilot house. Should one of the lights become extinguished, this telltale device at once begins to buzz, and a lamp is lighted, thus calling the attention of the pilot, both by sound and by sight, to the fact that one of the running light has become extinguished. He is then able, by throwing a small switch on the telltale board, to light the second lamp in the running light and give orders to replace the extinguished lamp. Thus a sure indication that the running lights are burning is always present in the pilot house. At the company's exhibit the operation of this telltale device is shown in a very interesting manner, the red, green and white running lights being mounted on the wall and so arranged that one of the lights will he cut out at intervals, this fact being immediately indicated on the telltale device. On this marine installation, many of the various wiring appliances for marine service manufactured by the company are used.

In another part of the grounds the General Electric company makes an exhibit of interest to ship- builders. This is in the space occupied by the Lidgerwood Manufacturing company, in the ordnance group at the south end of the grounds, where an electric deck wench is shown. operated by a GE direct-current motor and controller.

Fig. 5 of the accompanying illustrations shows the headquarters booth of the company, while in Fig. 6 is given a view of the model of the General Electric company's works at Schenectady, N.Y.