Convention of Railway Telegraph Superintendents; Comments on insulators

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Railway Age Gazette

New York, NY, United States
vol. 51, no. 1, p. 16, col. 1-2


The Association of Railway Telegraph Superintendents held its annual convention at Boston, June 26-30, with a large attendance. First Vice-president J. B. Sheldon presided, President I. T. Tyer being detained at home by ill-health. The secretary's report showed 169 members in good standing.

The first paper read was that of W. J. Camp (C. P.), extracts from which will be found in other columns. In the discussion of this paper it appeared that on some roads the efficiency of porcelain insulators is seriously interfered with by cobwebs, as well as in some degree by deposits of smoke. Mr. Johnson, of the Pennsylvania, said that on his road wires are paired for telegraph working, as well as for telephone.

Mr. Chetwood (W. U. Tel.) said that the double-petticoat porcelain insulator is about four times as good as glass, but final conclusions are yet to be established. Signs of aging of porcelain are apparent. A new type of double-petticoat glass insulator has been designed and tests indicate about 75 per cent better insulation than former types, besides being less fragile. At this time a porcelain insulator does not appear generally justified for telegraph lines, except for exceptionally long haul service. A porcelain insulator to be of any value must be absolutely non-absorbent.

On the second day brief speeches were made by Belvidere Brooks, general manager of the Western Union, and other officers of that company. The first paper was one by W. P. Cline, on Co-operation Between Railway People and Commercial Telegraph Companies. A paper on telephone transmission was read by J. L. McQuarrie.

A report from the committee on high tension wire crossings was presented by G. A. Cellar (Pa. Lines). This report was approved and the committee continued. The large telegraph and telephone companies will be invited to co-operate in the work of this committee.

E. P. Griffith (Erie) reported that the fund for the erection of a monument at Turner, N. Y., commemorating the first telegraphic train order, had been brought up to $1,116; and he read a letter from Mrs. E. H. Harriman, offering to meet the whole expense of providing the monument, which announcement was greeted with applause. Mrs. George S. Minot, a niece of Charles Minot, superintendent of the Erie Railroad, who sent that first telegraph order, was present at the meeting. Mrs. Minot lives in Brookline, Mass., near Boston.

F. F. Fowle, of Chicago, read a paper on line conductors for telegraph transmission, demonstrating the effect of leakage by artificial circuits set up in the meeting rooms.

G. K. Heyer, of the Western Electric Company, read a paper on telephone economy in railway service. Mr. Heyer finds that some railways estimate the loss due to the stoppage of traffic on their main lines by a wreck at $1,000 an hour, from which it will be seen that the use of the telephone in decreasing delays on such occasions, as compared with telegraph working, must be a definite money saver. W. F. Williams, of the Seaboard Air Lines, has found that in a single month on 150 miles of his line, single track, the average running time of through freight trains was by telephone operation reduced 1 hour and 16 minutes, as compared with 1908; and passenger and other trains also received decided benefit Mr. Heyer thinks that the Seaboard Air Line thus saved $1,000 a month, showing that the telephone apparatus paid for itself the first year. Telephones are now in use on about 48,000 miles of railway line in this country, so that if the saving effected on the Seaboard Air Line is repeated everywhere, the benefit derived from the telephones amounts to a large sum. The Delaware Lackawanna & Western also reports a marked saving in the time of through freight trains since the adoption of the telephone.

On Wednesday the first paper read was one by John B. Adams on telephone cable transmission. Mr. Adams set forth the rules for calculating the capacity of telephone lines, putting his ideas in non-technical language.

W. E. Harkness, of New York, read a paper on current supply for selective calling systems, comparing the cost of different combinations of apparatus; and W. Maver, Jr., of New York, read a paper on high speed automatic perforators and perforator receivers. A paper by William Bennett, of Chicago, on economy in the telegraph department, was read by W. F. Williams. U. J. Fry (C., M. & St P.), described the telephone circuits which he has in use for train despatching between Mobridge, S D., and Seattle, Wash., 1,376 miles. These circuits are worked duplex regularly. There is one repeating station between Butte and Seattle.

The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, G. A. Cellar (Penn. Lines), Pittsburgh; first vice-president, William Bennett (C. & N. W.) ; second vice-president, A. B. Taylor (New York Central) ; secretary and treasurer, P. W. Drew (M., St. P. & S. S. M.), Chicago.

The forenoon of Tuesday was devoted to sightseeing. In the evening a trip was made to Revere Beach. On Thursday a party of members went to Plymouth to see the place where the Pilgrims landed, spending the entire day.


American Typewriter Telegraph Co., New York; the Cardwell printing telegraph.

J. H. Bunnell & Company, New York; Ramsey cable jack or quick switch.

General Railway Signal Co., Rochester, N. Y.; selector apparatus for telephone lines.

Holtzer-Cabot Electric Co., Brookline, Max.; tubular wire connectors.

National Telephone Selector Company, New York; new alternating-current open-circuit telephone selector system for train despatching; also a selector for message circuits.

Randall Telephone Mfg. Co., New York; Randall telephone train despatching outfit, with loud speaking telephone receiver.

United States Electric Company, New York; Gill selector apparatus for railway telephone tines; train order semaphore, designed to be controlled by the despatcher; selectors having both the two-figure and four-figure combination; a new selector with two time-wheels, with which a call can be made in three seconds. This company also exhibited a large variety of other specialties.

Western Electric Co., New York and Chicago; loud speaking receiver for telephone lines; rotophone transmitter arm; new master selector; and a great variety of telephone apparatus and accessories.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Article: 8585
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 25, 2008 by: Bob Stahr;