Paper on Insulators read by Ohio Brass official at Canadian Electrical Association convention

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Western Electrician

Chicago, IL, United States
vol. 41, no. 12, p. 217-218, col. 1-3,1-2


As previously announced, the seventeenth annual convention of the Canadian Electrical Association took place in Montreal, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 11th, 12th and 13th, At the beginning it gave evidence of being a pronounced success, and when the proceedings were fully under way there was no room whatever for doubt. The total number registered was 261 in addition to a large number of ladies.

The week attracted to Montreal electricians from all parts of Canada and many from the United States, as conventions were held by the Canadian Electrical Association, Canadian Street Railway Association and the Maritime Electrical Association. The electrical exhibition was also a great attraction, being pronounced by visitors from the United States to be the equal for its size of anything ever attempted in that country. For the success of this exhibition too much credit cannot be given Mr. R. S. Kelsch, the vice-president and managing director, who gave his personal attention to the undertaking in a manner to insure the best possible results.

To revert to the Electrical Association convention, the chair was taken promptly at 10:30 on Wednesday by the president, Mr. R. G. Black. Unnecessary preliminaries were dispensed with, and, after a few brief remarks and the reading of the minutes of the last convention, the president delivered his address, which contained much food for thought. He emphasized the fact that at certain hours of each day every plant was taxed to its utmost capacity the point known as the peak. The difficulty was that every plant had to be equipped to supply peak business, while during the rest of the day a large proportion of the plant was practically idle. With this factor considered, and the continually rising price of labor and almost every other element that entered into the commercial use of electrical energy, Mr. Black pointed out that the problem of earning dividends was ever growing harder instead of easier. As a way out of the difficulty he suggested the extension of the use of electric energy for electric heating and cooking and other household purposes. The result of the address was to impress the members with the fact, that, far from any general reduction in prices of electric power or light being within sight, the producers of electric energy must seek to extend their markets in order to make a reasonable profit at present rates.

The president then submitted the constitution of the association as revised by the managing committee, which was approved by the convention. The important feature in the new constitution is the formation of what might be termed a lighting section, following somewhat the plans of the National Electric Light Association. The new clauses covering membership are as follows:

Membership. (a) The association shall Consist of Honorary and Active members.

(b) Honorary members shall be any gentlemen who shall be elected as such by a two-thirds vote of Active members present at any sitting of any annual convention.

(c) Active members shall be owners, part owners, or directors, managers, superintendents, engineers or other employes of electrical undertakings, electrical engineers, students in electrical engineering, gentlemen engaged in electrical education or in the manufacture or sale of electrical apparatus or supplies, electrical contractors, and all other gentlemen whom the managing committee shall consider eligible as members.

(d) All Active members who are owners, part-owners, managers, superintendents, engineers or other employes of electrical undertakings for the sale of electric light or power, owned by individuals or joint stock companies, who shall produce certificates from the owners or managers. thereof that said persons are authorized to represent them shall constitute the executive section of the association.

(e) Active members who do not form part of the executive section shall not be eligible to office in this association, and shall not be permitted to attend meetings of the executive session. This section does not apply to the offices of secretary and treasurer.

The report of the secretary-treasurer, Mr. T. S. Young, showed a balance in the treasury on May 31st last, the close of the association year, of $1,120. The membership at that date was 302. This, the report states, would appear to be a decrease as compared with the previous year, and a few words of explanation may be permitted. Until last year no steps were taen [sic] taken by the executive to remove from the membership roll the names of persons, who, although neglecting to send in their written resignations as required by the constitution, evidently did not consider themselves bona fide members of the association. The adoption of a less generous policy by the executive resulted in the removal of a large number of names from the register. That the association has made substantial progress, however, is shown by the fact that 62 new members joined during the year, and 28 members from May 31st to August 30th, or a total of 90 new members since the last convention. The present membership is 320. The report pointed out that the use of electric light in Canada has increased over 100 per cent. in five years.

The first of a varied programme of papers was then reached. It was entitled "Electric Heating and Cooking Devices," the author, Mr. A. B. Lambe, of the Canadian General Electric Company, delivering it extempore, in a very acceptable manner and exhibiting numerous devices calculated to increase the revenue of the central station. The advantages to the consumer, he argued, were such that though the cost of operation might be slightly larger than by the old system, the results were such as would insure their use, once the people realized the advantages. The results to the electric companies would be that, during the day hours, when the electric light was little used, the power could be applied to other purposes, and thus the general demand would be much more nearly equalized than at present.


R. S. KELSCH,/President of the Canadian Electrical Association.
R. S. Kelsch,
President of the Canadian Electrical Association.


At the afternoon session two papers were read, as follows: "Trials of the Operating Man," by Mr. M. A. Sammett of the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company, and "Three-wire Generators," by Mr. B. T. McCormick, of Allis Chalmers-Bullock. Mr. Sammett's paper is printed in another part of this issue.

In his paper Mr. McCormick said that three-wire generators can be operated in multiple with one another, or in multiple with two-wire generators, and it is often convenient to operate a 120-volt machine in multiple across one side of 240-volt three-wire systems, to maintain a better balance, in case that side is unloaded. The two-wire generator with rotating direct-current balancers, as a competitor of the three-wire generator, possesses a great many good points, but the cheapness, simplicity and compactness of the three-wire generator are points not to be overlooked in deciding on a three-wire system.

In the evening the members visited the electrical exhibition as the guests of the management.


A paper on "High-tension Insulators from an Engineering and Commercial Standpoint," by Mr. C. E. Delafield of the Ohio Brass Company, Mansfield, Ohio, was the first on the programme for Thursday. As an illustration of the possibilities of delivering power at 150,000 volts, Mr. Delafield said it would be possible to deliver the power generated at Niagara Falls economically to Boston, New York or Philadelphia, and, apparently, the principal hindrance to this consummation at the present tittle is in the fact that there is not on the market what might be termed a successful insulator for this enormous voltage, although the merits of a number of different types of insulators are at the present time being advocated for this purpose. An ideal insulator for all conditions of high-voltage stress should be one that would take care of climatic conditions, such as fogs, dust deposits, salt spray, etc., and should have as few still-air spaces as possible.

What might be termed a lamp session was next taken up. A. B. Fleming of the Canadian Westinghouse Company presenting a paper on "The Value of the Nernst Lamp to the Central Station," and J. M. Robertson of the, Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company one on "Incandescent Lamps." Mr. Robertson presented a short description of several types of lamps which are at present on the market, giving an outline of their characteristics and limitations, and comparing them as comparative new comers in the electrical field with the older and more familiar carbon lamp. The weakness of the carbon-filament lamp, he said, was the fact that its operating temperature must be comparatively low, not more than about 1,800 F. The best commercial efficiency which this lamp has attained is 3.1 watts per candle, but by far the larger part of the lighting business is done with lamps which consume 3.5 watts per candle or more.

The metallized-filament lamp was the result of an effort to produce a carbon filament which could be operated at a higher temperature. Mr. Robertson's paper was illustrated, showing curves of resistance of the carbon, metallized, tantalum and tungsten filaments. The metallized filament, on account of its reduced diameter, as well as the increased brittleness of the material, is more fragile than the carbon filament, and consequently metallized lamps require greater care in packing and handling than the carbon type. The best efficiency of the metallized-filament lamp is about 2.5 watts per candle, and the life of the average lamp under good conditions of regulation is about 560 hours.

The process of manufacturing the tantalum lamp is similar to that of the carbon lamp. On account of the great length of filament required to obtain the necessary resistance, it has heretofore been impossible to make lamps of very high voltage or very low candlepower. At present lamps are obtainable in 20 and 40-candlepower units at voltages between 100 and 130 volts. At present the best efficiency of the larger lamps is about two watts per candle, with a life of about 800 to 900 hours. Recently the lamp has been improved to such a point that it may be used on alternating currents at the same efficiency as on direct current, though with a reduced life. Under ordinary conditions and on 60 cycles the life should average about 60 per cent. of the life on direct-current circuits under the same conditions.

The tungsten lamp, one of the latest productions to be placed on the market, follows in form the lines of the familiar carbon lamp. Its usefulness at present seems to be confined entirely to street lighting, where the conditions most nearly suit its peculiar properties. The efficiency of the lamp is l 1/3 watts per candle, and the life on well-regulated circuits about 1,000 hours.

Curves were shown of comparisons between the results which may be obtained from the perfected carbon lamp and the higher efficiency type. The newer lamps show much better maintenance of initial candlepower than does the carbon lamp. In respect to relative costs of operating, it is shown that at one cent per kilowatt-hour the carbon lamp cannot compete with the metallized filament, which in turn must yield to the tantalum at two cents, and it in turn to the tungsten at four cents.

In conclusion, Mr. Robertson stated that while the position of the high-efficiency lamp is at the present time somewhat indeterminate, there seems no reason to doubt that within a reasonably short time lamps having an efficiency of one to two watts per candle will be obtainable in standard units and voltages, and the introduction of these lamps bids fair to be a somewhat disturbing factor in the electric-lighting business. Although the amount of light required by the ordinary customer is not measured by him in fixed units of illumination, but in dollars per month of cost, and he will usually respond to a reduction in price by an increase in his use until the new cost is about equal to the former bill, it is doubtful if this law will hold over such a wide cost ratio as three to one.

A lively discussion followed the reading of the two papers mentioned. The president referred to the helion lamp as one which was destined, according to the claims of the manufacturers, to work a revolution in the lighting business, but the opinion of the meeting seemed to be that this lamp was yet in the experimental stage. It was also argued that there would be plenty of time for the electrical industry to adjust itself to new conditions, and that in creating a market for these new lamps the general use of electric light would be encouraged and the business expand accordingly.

At the afternoon session a very interesting paper on "Frazil and Anchor Ice" was read by John Murphy, electrical engineer of the Department of Railways and Canals, Ottawa. Mr. Murphy went in detail into the subject of ice as a source of great difficulty to hydraulic plants. His simple, but effective remedies, were listened to with great interest. Further reference to the paper will be made in a future issue.

An illustrated address on "Methods of Illumination" was given by V. R. Lansingh, engineer and general manager of the Holophane Company, New York.


The election of officers took place at the executive session at 4:30 p. m. on Thursday, with the following result:

President R. S. Kelsch, consulting engineer, Montreal.

First Vice-president W. N. Ryerson, superintendent Ontario Power Company, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Second Vice-president R. M. Wilson, Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company.

Secretary-treasurer T. S. Young, Confederation Life Building, Toronto.

Managing Committee A. A. Dion, superintendent Ottawa Electric Company, Ottawa, Ont.; B. F. Reesor, managing director Georgian Bay Tower Company, Lindsay, Ont.; Charles B. Hunt, manager London Electric Company, London, Ont.; J. M. Robertson, Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company, Montreal, Que.; J. J. Wright, manager Toronto Electric Light Company, Toronto; W. Williams, Gas and Electric Light Company, Sarnia, Ont; H. O. Fisk, Peterboro Electric Light Company, Peterboro; J. W. Purcell, Hiram Walker & Sons, Walkerville; R. G. Black, general superintendent Toronto Electric Light Company; J. G. Glassco, Hamilton Cataract Power Company, Hamilton.

R. S. Kelsch, the new president of the association, is prominent among the electrical men of Canada. He has been engaged in electrical engineering work for the last 20 years, during the first 10 in Chicago, in charge of large electrical properties in that city, and since April, 1897, in Montreal. He erected and operated the plant of the Lachine Rapids Hydraulic and Land Company, remaining in charge of same in the capacity of general superintendent and engineer until the Lachine company was absorbed by the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company in 1903. He then established an office as consulting electrical engineer and was immediately retained by the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company to consolidate the two plants, one system being three-phase 60-cycle and the other two-phase 66-cycle. He still acts as consulting engineer for the company in addition to an extensive outside practice. Mr. Kelsch is vice-president and managing director of the Canadian Electrical Exhibition Company.


A morning session on Friday concluded the business meetings. Mr. G. Percy Cole, of Allis-Chalmers-Bullock, Ltd., read an interesting paper on "Modern Lightning Transformers," which was followed by an equally interesting contribution on "The Responsibility of Electric Company for Accidents," by Mr. George H. Montgomery, solicitor for the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company. Both of these papers were fully discussed.

The Question Box, edited by Mr. A. A. Dion, was then taken up, but owing to insufficient time, it was necessary to confine the discussion to a limited number of questions.

The question of the next place of meeting was left with the incoming managing committee, the general opinion being, however, that it should be held in the West.

The entertainment programme included a theater party at His Majesty's Theater on Thursday evening when the "Gingerbread Man" was produced. Owing to the inclement weather, it was necessary to cancel the tea, which was to have been provided for the ladies at the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club. On Friday afternoon special cars carried a number of the party to the race track, while the evening was devoted to a visit at Dominion Park.


Keywords:Ohio Brass Company
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 11, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;