[X001M2AE], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Phillips B Shaw, January 27th, 1888


View document with UniversalViewer   → Re-use this digital object via a IIIF manifest


[X001M2AE], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Phillips B Shaw, January 27th, 1888

Editor's Notes

Dear Sir:- In response to your telegram of 24th inst, I went to Lancaster that day and beg to submit the following as a report of my work there. ## The station apparatus is in good shape and is of the best pattern, and as far as I could determine with the apparatus at hand, is well suited to its work. ## If I did not change the apparatus in any manner: except to adjust indicators. Frequently the lights jump badly while the load is coming on or going off. This jump is excessive, and certainly affects life of lamps. The cause of these jumps is the sticking of the governor of engine "B". If the engineer cannot removve the cause of the trouble, the builders of the engines should be called in as the fault is a bad one. From 12 o'clock midnight to 12 noon there is no one on duty as regulator or operator, this work being done by the engineer on the watch in a spasmodic and irregular manner, that is to say, that while at his other work, the regulation is neglected; excepting that at intervals he will turn the regulators down, or up as required, leaving them again to wander where they would, till he should again happen to take time to look at the indicators. This irregular and spasmodic regulation is a very bad fault, for besides the injury to the lamps when subjected to extreme high pressure there is a considerable annoyance caused to the consumer by fluctuations. As an example of very bad regulation I cite the following: at 8 A.M. on the 26th inst I found the pressure at the Keystone Hotel Lancaster to be 123 volts, in less than ten minutes it had fallen to 109 volts, a range of 14 volts, at a time when there were no extreme or rapid changes of load and at a time when the faulty engine was not running. At midday, in same place, pressure ranged from 109 to 117 volts during the period of smallest loads. When load on station is lightest (175 amperes, total of both sides) the dynamo's pressure is 121 1/2 volts on "A" side, and 125 volts on "B" side. When load is heavy (550 amperes on "A" side and 480 on "B") the dynamo's pressure is about 135 volts on "A" side and 125 volts on "B". The pressure on feeder ends is set at 114 volts, this I consider too high for lamps of 106 volts and should be reduced to no more than four or five volts above normal, unless you can secure constant regulation, in which case the old type lamp can safely be run six volts high with fair life. It is my opinion that a decided change in the methods of regulation is necessary before you can safely operate the new type lamp. Considerable benefit can be derived from a careful and intelligent balancing, so that at all times of day both sides of the system will carry the same number of lamps. The importance of good balance is much greater in Lancaster than in a station having heavy neutral wires in feeders, for the bad effects of an unbalanced system increase greatly as the size of the neutral wires are decreased. The four causes of excessive loss of lamps at Lancaster can be summed up as follows, viz., 1st, Careless or spasmodic regulation; 2nd, Pressure set too high, being 114 volts with 106 volt lamps; 3rd, Faulty regulation of engine governor caused by sticking of the governor; 4th, system out of balance. This causes part of lamps to burn higher than the standard pressure which is already too high. The remedies to be applied are, - FIRST, insist on faithful regulation, SECOND, gradually lower pressure to a point not more than 4 volts above voltage of old type lamp in use, -THIRD, have governor of engine adjusted, - FOURTH, balance system. It is clearly the Superintendents duty to attend to these matters but he cannot properly to them, if as I am informed is the case: he makes it his practice to wire buildings or perform the commonduties of a wireman. I judge that too little of his time is given to the station and to much of it, to work which can be done by a cheaper man. The only way for a Superintendent to earn his salary, is to secure faithful and efficient services from his men and by himself performing such work only, as his men cannot do. Yet he should be able, and at all times ready and willing to do any class of work, in cases of emergency or peril. All of which I most respectfully submit.





Folder/Volume ID


Document ID



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