[NM023049], Technical Note, Arthur Edwin Kennelly, Harold P Brown, December 6th, 1888


View document with UniversalViewer   → View document on Archive.org  → Re-use this digital object via a IIIF manifest


[NM023049], Technical Note, Arthur Edwin Kennelly, Harold P Brown, December 6th, 1888

Editor's Notes

Copy of Mr. H. P. Brown's notes of the experiments on the 5th Dec. Calf No. 1 weighing 124 1/2 lbs was found to have an electrical resistance of 3200 ohms. A sponge covered disc electrode 2" in diamter was applied to the forehead betweent the eyes, the hair being first clipped. The second electrode was made of wire netting 4" long and 2" wide coverd with sponge and applied to the left of the spine back of shoulders. The sponges were saturated with a solution of ZnSo4 having a density of 1.054 at 60 [degreees] F.##A Siemens alternating current dynamo was used, its fields being charged from a standard Edison dynamo, and its EMF regulated by variable res in the field circuits.##In the first experiment the main current was passed through the low resistance coil of a large converter made by an electric light co. and the calf was placed in the circuit of the high resistance coil for 30 sec. Before closing the circuit at 3:50 pm, on the subject the Cardew voltmeter showed 1100 volts in the secondary but as soon as closed the potnential fell to 100 volts and remained stationary. The animal dropped but was uninjured as it reose to its fee 9 mins. Later.##The converter was then disconnected and the main current at 770 volts was applied for 8 seconds. Death was instantaneous. The animal was at once dissected by Drs. Bleyer and Ingram. In the brain the vessels were found filled with blood but there was no hemorrhage. The brain remained very warm even after being exposed for ten minutes to the air and immersed in cold water. The heart and luncs were found to be perfectly normal. The hair on the forehead projected beyond the sponge and touched the metal plate of the electrode and was scorched, but the skin was uninjured.##The second calf weighed 145 lbs and had an electrical resistance of 1300 w betweent he electrodes which were placed as before. The metal of the disks being further protected by wrapping the edge with cotton waste. At 4:26 pm the alternating current was applied for five seconds. Death was instantaneous and the heart action ceased at once bur reflex movements upon excitation were observed for 1 1/2 mins.##The calvers were purchased from a butcher and were in good condition. The meat was pronounced fit for food, the fact being certified by him in writing.##A horse weighing 1230 lbs with halter was the next subject. His hip was dislocated but otherwise he was in good condition. Connection was made by wrapping cotton waste saturated in water round each fore leg and holding held? In place with bare copper wire. It was suggested by the physicians present that with this connection the current would pass through the muscles of the chest and not reach the spine or heart. This proved to be the case. The resistance was found to be 11,000 ohms. It was attempted to pass an alternating current of 1200 volts through the animal for a fraction of a second by closing the circuit with the rapid blow of a hammer on a metal plate but in preparing the experiment the Cardew voltmeter was siabled. A file of lamps was then substituted and the EMF calculated. The current from the dynamo was passed through the converter, above mentioned but with unsatisfactory result in obtaining the desired EMF in the secondary circuit. A ring converter was then tried and abandoned. A smaller ring was then tried and substituted and the field circuit resistance was adjusted until a series of 18 lamps of the Edison type were brought up to redness in the secondary circuit. The current was then applied by a single tap from the hammer at 5:20 pm but the animal was uninjured. The converter which was deemed of insufficient capacity for the purpose was abandoned and the dynamo circuit was used. A series of 7 lamps was connected to the primary wire and brought up to redness. At 5:25 pm Contact with the horse was made for 5 seconds but the animal was uninjured. At 5:27 the same current was applied for 15 seconds with no apparent injury. The file of 7 lamps was them brought up to bright incandescence and the current was applied for 25 seconds at 5:28 pm. During which time the water in the cotton waste was steamed. The result was fatal.##These experiments proved the head and spinal column to be the best points of application of the current for the purpose and disposed of the suggestion to used wristlets as electrodes.##Those present were Eldridge T. Gray, Professors R. Ogden Doremus, Chas. A. Doremus, Dr. Frederick Peterson, Dr. Frank A. Ingram, Dr. J. Mount Bleyer, M. Bourgonon, Thos A Edison Mr. A. E. Kennelly, and Harold P. Brown.
Supplied day



Folder/Volume ID


Microfilm ID


Document ID



Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
Download CSV | JSON