Philadelphia Electrical Exhibition, Chicago Insulating Co. & Thomas McCrory exhibited

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Electrician & Electrical Engineer

New York, NY, United States
vol. 3, p. 219-221, col. 2,1-2






ALTHOUGH minor additions are being made to various displays, and a few new ones are coming in, the exhibition was practically complete at the expiration of the second week, and those who visited it first, have evidently assured their friends that it is worth seeing, for the recent attendance has certainly been large enough for comfort, numbering about 7,000 per day. It is evidently the sensation of the day at Philadelphia, and its characteristic novelty is attracting thousands who have lost interest in ordinary fairs and exhibitions. Special rates are made for the attendance of pupils in various schools, but it is to be regretted that the children who attend are not controlled by persons in authority. They swarm about the building, accumulate loads of circulars and catalogues, play tag among the exhibitors, by their meddlesome propensities in one instance causing the burning out of a dynamo by dropping a nail into it. The pulling of call boxes and steam whistles is also occasionally indulged in by them. The delay in the appearance of the official catalogue is unfortunate, but this to a great extent was the fault of the exhibitors themselves. The collection of the models of Daniel Drawbaugh's inventions, referred to in our last issue, has been screened from public inspection by a winding sheet. A placard announces that the exhibit will not be displayed until after the argument of the case in New York city. It is surmised that this concealment is a shrewd device of the Drawbaugh management to awaken interest in the cause.

While the billiancy [sic] brilliancy of the electric light displays attracts the attention of the casual observer, the practical electrician will be interested in some of the exhibits of cables, wire, insulators, etc., the perfection of which is a matter of considerable importance. The American Electrical Works, of Providence, E. F. Phillips, President, makes a fine display of the different classes of insulated wire manufactured at that well known establishment. The various styles and colors make the exhibit very attractive, but users of magnet wire will be especially interested in the fact that the finest grades are now drawn under a new process invented by W. H. Sawyer, Supt., by which No. 36 wire may be produced in lengths of five miles, which is of absolutely the same gauge measured at either end or in any part of it. It can also be drawn down from No. 19 to 36 without annealing. Of course the intermediate sizes may be drawn equally well. These results have never been attained before, and the perfection of the process is bringing the wire into general favor with manufacturers of electrical apparatus. Holmes, Booth & Haydens, of New York, exhibit an attractive collection of electrical wires, manufactured at their Waterbury establishment. Telegraph, telephone and electric light people are alike interested in their hard drawn copper, "K. K." insulated, and "underwriter's" wire of the best material. This firm supplies the wire for the official tests of the exhibition made by the board of examiners. The Kerite wire and cables of A. G. Day, of Seymour, Conn., are a prominent feature of the wire display. These products have been so long in the field that their merits are generally and favorably known to all who require a perfect and enduring insulation. Alfred F. Moore, of Philadelphia, shows a full assortment of braided and insulated wire of all descriptions. Mr. Moore has had long experience in this class of work, and his goods are of the best. The Ansonia Brass and Copper Co., of New York, display a sample case of their insulated and bare copper wire from the Ansonia factory. The Callender insulated wires and cables are exhibited by the Electrical Supply Company of New York. Here also may be seen the foreign exhibits of Frederick Smith & Co., and Elliott Brothers, England. The former shows a case of samples of galvanized wire which has been entered at various exhibitions since 1862, and has appeared in America once before at the Centennial. The testing and measuring instruments of Elliott Brothers, make a fine display, some of them being exceedingly rare in this country. The Chicago Insulating Company in addition to different styles of the Fiske & Mott high resistance insulator, show samples of knobs and hooks made from a patented compound of asphaltum and marble dust, which is said to be preferable to porcelain. The official tests of the examiners, will be awaited with interest, and if they confirm the very favorable reports already made, there need be no hesitation in giving these insulators a thorough trial. A collection of white glass insulators is shown by Thomas McGrory, manufacturer and patentee, called the lock wire insulator, from its peculiar form. By means of a crooked groove on one side, into which the wire is forced, it is held by means of the bend so made, on the same principle as by the well-known iron hook. The use of a tie wire is thus dispensed with. The glass has no screw thread for securing it to the pin. The various historical collections will be found of great interest, and of these the models from the United States Patent Office, form the most important part. As these are in the annex, in a room adjoining the lecture hall, they are liable to be overlooked by a person whose time is limited. If this collection was accessible at all times to the numerous electrical inventors of the country many of them would save considerable time which is too often devoted to old ideas. The number of electro-magnetic motors in early times will surprise many. One patented by F. Davenport, in 1837, another by S. Stimpson, in 1838, are among the oldest. The model of Royal E. House's printing telegraph in 1846, is a formidable piece of wooden mechanism, bearing no resemblance to his later effort of 1852, which appears to have been almost exactly followed in every detail by the House printers, which subsequently came into practical use, and which, considering the state of the art at that time, were marvels of mechanical ingenuity. This is followed by the invention of D. E. Hughes, in 1856, a printer which, although used to some extent in this country, has perhaps not been fully appreciated. In the same year, Moses G. Farmer also invented a printer, and the models of all these instruments are worthy of close examination. In the same group are models of the Calahan, Edison, Phelps and Burrell printers. The fire alarm signaling instrument of Farmer and Channing, 1859, is also here. One of the visionary schemes of 1859 was Vosmer's magnetic driving wheel for locomotives, in which a coil of wire surrounded the lower part of the wheel, the wire leading to a small battery box back of the steam chest. This patent has expired and railroad companies may use it without fear of infringement. The various telephone models form an interesting collection all of which are of such recent date that they are familiar to those who have watched the development of this vigorous electrical branch. A frictional electric machine invented by G. W. Mowbray, consists of a powder keg, from one head of which protrudes a crank. There is a curious collection of lightning rod models. An oil tank is protected by a cobweb of wires overhead, connected to the grounds by uprights surrounding the tank.

Across the passageway will be found the Bibliographical collection, also the electrical apparatus used by Dr. Franklin. The first Morse register for actual use is here, in apparently good working order. The electrotype copies of ancient coins in the British Museum, also a still larger collection loaned by the American Numismatic and Archaelogical Society, of New York, may be examined with pleasure and profit. There are over 3,000 specimens in all, dating back to B. C. 700. Under the railway sheds, the very complete working systems of the Union Switch and Signal Company, of Pittsburg, attract considerable attention. The interlocking switches, automatic and electro-pneumatic signals are kept in constant use during exhibition hours, for the information of visitors. The railway annex, outside of the Lecture Hall, and restaurant is lighted principally by what is hereafter to be called and known as the "Stanley and Thompson lamp," in accordance with an agreement between the inventors, William Stanley, Jr., and Edward P. Thompson, executed at the time of the sale of the patent to George Westinghouse, Jr., of Pittsburg. In the circulars issued and widely distributed by the Union Switch and Signal Company, manufacturers of the Stanley and Thompson lamp, it is described under a title which has been improperly applied, which may lead to confusion in identity. The inventions in this lamp comprise principally that of the method of manufacturing the carbon filament from a new chemical preparation, and the process of carbonizing several hundred horseshoe-shaped carbon filaments simultaneously in the space of five or six cubic inches, while the advantages claimed refer to the high specific resistance and uniformity of structure of the carbon filaments, and simplicity and cheapness of manufacture. The Bidwell electric railway, of Philadelphia, is putting down a section of track about 100 feet long on which a motor car for passengers is to be run. Among the anti-electric exhibits are the Siemens regenerative gas burners, which illuminate the restaurant, and several clocks in the gallery which are said to run a year without winding, and "no electricity." The use of electricity as a motor has enabled the sewing machine and parlor organ agents to enter the field. The incubator, by reason of its electric regulator of temperature, comes into the fold, and chickens are brought into existence by it rather faster than they can be sold at the rather inflated price of 25 cents each. An electric indicator in the main building is supposed to record the number of bricks manufactured by a machine under the railway shed. The Roosevelt organ is operated by an electric keyboard about 50 feet distant, and the manipulation of it seems to have a peculiar fascination to those who are not familiar with electricity. The Cleveland electric motors are used for various purposes about the building where a small amount of power is required.

Twice every evening the building is darkened, in order to make a more effective display of the central fountain, which is one of the principal aesthetic features of the exhibition. It is illuminated by differently colored lights around its borders, while the rays of the headlights in the galleries are focused upon it, the effect being varied by the use of slides of colored glass. It is certainly a most beautiful sight, and is thoroughly appreciated by the ladies who linger near the refreshing coolness, when other parts of the building are oppressively warm, which however is now no longer the case.

Any description of such an exhibition is necessarily incomplete and unsatisfactory. Personal attendance can alone do it justice, and one day and evening may be profitably spent by the visitor, without its becoming a tedious experience. Of course those who desire to examine into comparative merits of various exhibits, can and should devote more tiem to their study that those who attend simply for the pleasure they derive from the experience.


Keywords:Chicago Insulating Company : Self-Tying : Glass Insulator : McGrory Insulator : Fiske-Mott
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: Patent: 293,901
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 17, 2011 by: Bob Stahr;