[Clayart] AC/DC

Fred fredpaget at sonic.net
Fri Jul 2 02:37:55 UTC 2021


On Apr 26, 2021, at 9:20 AM, Hank Murrow <hmurrow at efn.org> wrote:

Dear Group;

My grandfather, William Rollins Murrow, left Kansas for Chicago at the age of 12 in the Spring of 1893. Arriving at the Columbian Exposition
to take a job shoveling coal in the boiler room. The Westinghouse engineer found him sleeping there off-shift, and asked him what he was doing there.
"Saving money," said grandpa. The engineer took him to his rooming house and after a bath, sat him down to dinner and get his story, asking him what
he wanted to do.“Learn how to do what you do!”was the reply. When he was finished, the engineer proposed that if the boy stayed at the boarding 
house, he would match his savings dollar for dollar at the end of the Fair. Grandad followed him after his shifts, and learned how to machine copper bus 
bars(a difficult job, as copper is soft). When the Fair was closing, the engineer proposed that granpa Rol travel the mid-west setting up power plants 
with him, until he had enough savings($1000) and know-how to undertake a job on his own. That time came in 1901, when Rol left for Kansas City with a 
generous letter of introduction from the engineer, to find a local emigré from Germany named Jacob Barzen, a venture capitalist who owned 
an office building there with a brewpub. Rol got $1000 each from Jacob and his partner, and went on to build the Independence, Kansas Power and 
Light Co. He also secured the night rights to the Independence Baseball stadium, putting on the first night baseball game in 1928. He also married 
the youngest daughter of his original backer, Jacob Barzen, who never cashed the check for his share($25,000!). Rol's son was my father, Richard B. Murrow, 
who became an aeronautical engineer(Skystreak and Skyrocket for Douglas), and who never understood why his eldest son would want to 'mess about’ 
with clay. He did confess that my Doorless kiln was something special, but that I would never make any money with it. We settled for a draw. He died in 2002.

Cheers, Hank in Eugene

> On Apr 25, 2021, at 11:00 PM, Joseph Herbert <josephherbert827 at gmail.com> wrote:
> The electronic change of AC to DC does seem magical.  If that
> process/equipment had been available in earlier days, our electrical system
> might be much different.
> If Edison had been able to convert DC voltages easily, AC might have come
> much later or only maybe for specialized things.  AC's magical magnetic
> transformations made High voltage transmission possible while DC
> transmission at generator voltage (200 V) was limited to a couple of miles,
> tops.
> A modern AC generator in a power plant produces electricity at 20,000 volts
> and about as many amps in three phases.  The plant main transformer takes
> that voltage to 365,000 volts or more and sends it off across country.
> When it lands in your town, the substation sends it toward your house at
> 12,000 or 5,000 volts. That grey can on the pole turns that into 220/240 V
> for home use.
> There is a DC transmission line in Canada that runs at nearly 650,000
> volts.  It is stepped down electronically at its destination.
> Interestingly, it is one wire - with ground return.  AC three phase uses
> three wires.  Considerable difference in construction costs.
> But, it wasn't and George Westinghouse electrified and lit the Chicago
> Columbia Exposition of 1893 without violating Edison lightbulb patents and
> the White City cemented the desire for light, and AC power, in the American
> imagination.
> Devil in the White City by Erik Larson  electricity and a serial killer -
> something for everybody!
> Joe
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