[X001H1BP], Minutes, Edison Electric Light Co, June 25th, 1889


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[X001H1BP], Minutes, Edison Electric Light Co, June 25th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Meeting of the Standardizing Bureau, held at the office of the Company, 44 Wall Street, New York City, Tuesday June 25th, 1889, at 2o'clock P.M, Present -- Messrs. Seubel, Kruesi, Wilson S. Howell, John W. Howell, and Wirt. The Director, Mr. Jenks, said in opening the meeting: ## Mr. Wilson S. Howell tried the experiment two years ago of grounding the Neutral wire, in the New Brunswick station, and it has remained grounded since. Mr. Edgar has had his system thus grounded in Boston, and it is givin good satisfaction. We would like to hear Mr. Howell's experience. ## W.S. Howell -- I was bothered in New Brunswick by lightning. I noticed that the lightning would cause trouble on the highest ground in town, or rather on the outer ends of every main; that is, I would have lightning in a certain house, and every storm the trouble would be repeated there. I noticed also that those places where this trouble occurred happened to be on the ends of the system and also occasionally in the centre of a main, or rather along the length of a main on the highest ground. I grounded the Neutral bus wire in the station to the exhaust piping. Then we grounded the Neutrals of the feeders at the points of junction with the mains; also the Neutrals at the outer ends of the mains, and wherever between these points we could get a good earth, as in running streams or damp places. We had 30 or 40 grounds on the system between extremes over two miles apart. ## The first and most noticable effect was that the lamps on the extreme ends of the mains, where formerly it was a hard matter to keep up a good balance, never gave us further trouble from drop such as we had experienced prior to this time. The station has continued the practice for two years. The recent managers have noticed no ill effects, but on the other hand good ones which could be plainly traced to the grounding of the Neutral. Trouble from lightning has decreased, and trouble from grounds has almost entirely disappeared. There has not been a ground on the Positive or Negative that amounted to anything. There are now about 3 feeders out of 7 grounded in this way. Small plugs have been blown by lightning in buildings, but nothing else. I think it has reduced lightning trouble one half. ## When I was going from St. Paul to Kansas City, Mr. W.S. Andrews asked my opinion regarding this general question. He said that in starting the Chicago station they were troubled with grounds on the Positive and Negative. To correct this he grounded the Neutral solid, and it did not effect the operation of the system. He was much in favor of grounding the Neutral permanently and confident of its success that he will start the Minneapolis station in the same way. ## Mr. Jenks said that Mr. Edgar of the Boston station kept a permanent ground at the station through a safety catch of about 200 amperes capacity for four months, and within that time he has had but one ground of my account on either of the other wires. About three weeks ago he had a serious ground on one of the positive mains. His Neutral ground safety catch went, and the ground shifted from Neutral to Positive, leaving the sytem clear so far as short circuiting was concerned. They tested the Positive ground out and disconnected it. Edgar does not believe in burning a thing out deliberately, and if it is to be burned out, prefers that a new ground coming on the Positive or Negative shall be immediately burned out by a solid Neutral connection. He is now seriously thinking of grounding, through a safety catch, the Neutral wire at every catch box. ## Mr. Kruesi-- In any underground system 99% of all troubles are caused from electrolysis. ## J.W. Howell -- I favor the grounding of the Neutral wire for the reason that no station can be maintained entirely free from "grounds", and this is putting grounds where they will do the least harm. Mr. Kruesi -- I think it is rather inviting trouble if you do not ground the Neutral absolutely. We do not know the resistance of earth to heavy currents. Some experiments were made to determine this, but they were unsatisfactory. Mr. Jenks stated that the Sprague Company have introduced this grounding as part of their system. They have found great difficulty in securing an equal potential at different points where there were ground connections made. Mr. MacQuestan has had to ground their wire at a large number of different points through the system, and then connect the lengths of rail so as to enable the track to return all the current. Mr. Seubel -- In the New York station the ground of the Neutral has, wherever it has occurred (accidently) proved an advantage, by keeping the other polarities clear. If it becomes desirable to throw two stations together, we should have the Neutral grounded in both, and thus make sure of having no leaks elsewhere. I am heartily in favor of it. ## Mr. Kruesi -- From what has been said today it seems that this system has decided advantages, but it is a matter of such great importance I think we ought to have Mr. Edison's opinion. It would be well to gather as many views as possible from people posted on this subject, and then submit those opinions to Mr. Edison for his decision. If he favors the idea, experiments might be made in ten or a dozen different stations in the country, and we would have the results of actual practice to base our judgment on. ## All present favored this view, No definite action was taken but the Director undertook to get experssions from a number of practical men and report to Mr. Edison.




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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