Arc Lighting Engineering And Technology History Wiki

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Arc Lighting Engineering And Technology History Wiki

New York central power plant dynamos powered arc lamps for public lighting. Beginning operation in December 1880 at 133 West Twenty-Fifth Street, it powered a two-mile long circuit.[12]

Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov was born on 14 September 1847 to Nikolai Pavlovich and Elizaveta in Serdobsky, an impoverished village in the Saratov region of the Russian Empire. Yablochkov showed an interested in science and engineering at an early age and, while still a youth, invented a goniometer which was used for land surveys conducted by neighboring villages. After privately studying at a boarding school with military engineer César Antonovich Cui, Yablochkov was accepted to the Nikolayev Engineering Institute (now the Military Engineering Technical University) on 30September 1863. After receiving a rigorous military education from the famous St. Petersburg University, Yablochkov graduated in August 1866 with the rank of Lieutenant Engineer in the Russian Army, and was appointed a junior officer in the 5th Engineering Battalion stationed at Kiev. After a year at Kiev, Yablochkov temporarily left military service. He returned to the army in 1869, enrolling in the Technical Electroplating Facility in Kronstadt, which was the only military school in Russia which trained its field specialists in electrical engineering. After eight months in training, Yablochkov was appointed head of the galvanic team of the 5th Battalion, where he remained until 1 September 1872. At this point, he was transferred to the reserve and worked on the Moscow-Kursk Railway Telegraph, where he developed various improvements on the telegraph.

After his work on the Moscow-Kursk Railway, Yablochkov retired from the telegraph service and opened a shop in Moscow, where he and N. Glukhov, an experienced electrical engineer, worked on improving the battery, dynamo and lighting methods. During one of his 1875 experiments on the electrolysis of coal, he accidentally produced a bright arc from two rods in parallel that illuminated his laboratory. The use of these parallel rods provided the foundation and inspiration for his improvements to the arc lamp, which eventually became the Yablochkov Candle.

The intensely bright light created by the arc lamp was great for lighting the outdoors, but it was not good for inside. That is part of the reason why Edison began his experiments with an incandescent lamp, where electricity heats a wire instead of making a spark. Edison’s early notes on his experiments mentioned the idea of “subdividing” the bright light of the arc into smaller portions that were easier on the eyes. However, arc lights continued to be used for outdoor lighting, searchlights, lighthouses, stadium lights, and other high-intensity light sources. Arc lamps could still be seen on the streets of London as late as the 1950s, but for most applications they have been replaced by more efficient forms of incandescent bulbs. The fluorescent lamps used in homes and offices are a form of arc lamp where the arc crosses a long gap and its passage is aided by the presence of ions. Today, other special forms of arc lighting have been developed, such as the lamps used for the “flash” in cameras, the light sources for motion picture theater projects, and the ultraviolet lamps used in the manufacture of integrated circuits.

The world’s first automatically operated wind turbine was built in 1888 by Charles F. Brush. It had a 12kW dynamo.[17][18]

Electric lighting was one of the most profound technological advancements of the 19th century. Early demonstrations of arc lighting were made in 1809 by Sir Humphrey Davy. However, it was not introduced commercially until the latter half of the 1800s. The 1870s saw pioneering work on dynamos by William State and Charles Brush. In 1876, using the dynamo as a power source, Pavel Yablochov invented the the Yablochkov Candle (often spelled Jablochkoff Candle), the earliest commercially successful arc lamp . The Yablochkov Candle improved on previous arc light designs and made the installation of electric lighting economically feasible. Its popularity and success influenced many inventors, including Thomas Edison, and was a major step towards electric lighting being fully integrated into the home.

Charles Francis Brush (March 17, 1849 – June 15, 1929) was an American engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.[1]

After the 1881 exhibition, Yablochkov enjoyed little success. After a period of deteriorating health and financial difficulties, he returned to St. Petersburg in 1892 with little of his fortune. He desired to return to the region where his parents were raised, and relocated to the country in the Caucasus, but found it inadequate for doing scientific research. Yablochkov returned to his home province of Saratov in late 1893, and set up an office where he worked on plans for lighting Saratov. However, his health rapidly deteriorated and he died on 31 March 1894. Yablochkov was buried in the village of Sapozhok (now Rtischevskogo district) in the Church of Archangel Michael.

Charles Francis Brush Born (1849-03-17)March 17, 1849 Euclid, Ohio Died June 15, 1929(1929-06-15) (aged 80) Cleveland, Ohio Resting place Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio 41°30′37″N 81°35′21″W / 41.

510306°N 81.589194°W / 41.510306; -81.589194 Alma mater

1 Biography 2 Legacy 3 Honors 4 Patents 5 References 6 External links

Categories: BiographiesLasers, lighting & electroopticsElectric lighting

In 1876 he secured the backing of the Wetting Supply Company in Cleveland to design his “dynamo” (an electrical generator) for powering arc lights. Brush began with the dynamo design of Zénobe Gramme but his final design was a marked divergence, retaining the ring armature idea that originated with Antonio Pacinotti. Brush remarked on his motivation for improving the generator in his U.S. Patent 189,997: “The best forms of magneto-electric apparatus at present before the public are unnecessarily bulky, heavy, and expensive, and are more or less wasteful of mechanical power.” After comparing it to the Gramme dynamo and other European entrants, the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia judged Brush’s dynamo superior due to its simpler design and maintainability after completing tests in 1878.[9]

Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio is named after Brush, whose sports teams and other groups are named the “Arcs,” after Brush’s lamp. Metro Parks, Serving Summit County’s Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield, Ohio, received a donation of land from the Family of Charles F.

Brush. The donated tract is known as Brushwood. USS Brush (DD-745) 1943-1969 (then Taiwan’s Hsiang Yang until scrapped in 1993) was named after Brush, sponsored by his great-granddaughter.[23] Honors[edit] Rumford Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1899) French Legion of Honor (1881) Edison Medal (1913) Franklin Medal Fellow of the North British Academy of Arts Patents[edit] Generator (Magneto Electric Machine) 1877 U.

S. Patent 189,997 Arc light (automatic control of spark gap) 1878 U.S. Patent 203,411 Arc light (double-carbon lamp regulation system) 1879 U.S. Patent 219,208 Arc light (Automatic shut off for Electric Lights or Motors) 1880 U.

S. Patent 234,456 Arc light (improved regulator for the carbon arc) 1885 U.S. Patent 312,184 Patents granted to Charles F. Brush relating to electric machinery and apparatus, 1878-1894 available via Internet Archive References[edit] External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles F.


In the 20th century, Yablochkov was recognized as a Russian national hero. The church which housed his burial site was destroyed in the late 1930s, so in 1947, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth, Sergey Ivanovich Vavilov, then president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, attempted to locate the exact grave site. By interviewing village elders and reviewing archival records he arrived at a probable location, and a monument was erected on this site on 26 October 1952. In 1951, the USSR issued commemorative postage stamp celebrating his achievements, and commemorative artwork followed in 1987 and 1997. Streets in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Saratov, Serdobsk as well as many other Russian cities bear his name. While Yablochkov isn’t a household name outside of Russia in the same way that Edison is, his influence on electrical engineering was massive and his contributions to the field revolutionized the way we see our world.

Medallion of Charles F. Brush that hangs outside the Cleveland Arcade on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

Scientific career Influences Humphry Davy; Zénobe Gramme; Antonio Pacinotti Signature

Between 1910 and 1929 he wrote several papers on his version of a kinetic theory of gravitation, based on some sort of electromagnetic waves.

Brush was born in Euclid Township, Ohio to Isaac Elbert Brush and Delia Williams Phillips. Isaac Brush was a distant cousin of Delia on the Phillips side. Through Delia he was a descendant of the Rev. George Phillips, who settled Watertown, Massachusetts in 1630, and Samuel Appleton. [2] Delia was also a descendant of Henry Wisner, member of the First and Second Continental Congresses during the American Revolution, as well as Thomas Cornell (settler) and the Winthrop family.[3][4]

The candles rapidly increased in popularity as another exhibition was held in London on 17 June 1877. Their first commercial use was at the Louvre in October 1877. Units were sold in many European countries including Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Greece, as well as in cities on other continents including Rio de Janiero, Mexico City, New Delhi, Calcutta, and Madras. The Shah of Persia and the King of Cambodia used the candles for illuminating their palaces. At the height of the candle’s popularity, the Breguet company produced 8,000 of the candles per day. Through 1877 and 1878, Yablochkov continued to work on improvements for his lighting system, which included the development of an alternating current generator, an AC transformer, and systems of electric lights based on capacitors and transformers that could allow multiple candles to be lit with one generator. The most famous demonstration of the Yablochkov candle was the Paris Exhibition of 1878, held from 1 May to 10 November. Sixty-four arc lamps were installed on Avenue de l’Opéra, Place du Théâtre Francais and around the Place de l’Opéra. The huge success of the candles was instrumental in bringing electric lighting into the public eye.

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Edison Medal (1913) Rumford Prize French Legion of Honor Franklin Medal

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The Yablochkov Candle. L-R: The 1876 Candle, the 1878 Candle, a globe unit containing a candle

This Jablochkoff “electric candle” arc lamp from about 1878 is one of the earliest electric lamps. The “candle” made light by passing an electric current between two carbon rods. These rods were mounted vertically, side-by-side in the center of the lamp.

They were maintained at a precise distance from each other by a wax separator that evaporated as the carbons burned down (only the remnant stubs are visible here). Jablochkoff candles operated only on alternating current, with the power leads attached to the connectors seen on either side of the base.

Courtesy: Smithsonian Institution.

Yablochkov became a member of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, and it was here that he learned about contemporary electric lighting methods. He saw room for improvement on existing arc lighting systems, and his first project in this area was making improvements on the Foucault regulator. This was successfully applied in the Spring of 1874 to power an arc lamp on the running Moscow-Kursk train.

In 1879, the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation, using Brush’s inventions, was formed in Lambeth, London, England. This company eventually moved to Loughborough England and became Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd.

Categories: 1849 births1929 deathsAmerican inventorsAmerican electrical engineersAmerican manufacturing businesspeopleAppleton familyBusinesspeople from ClevelandCase Western Reserve University alumniDudley–Winthrop familyPhillips family (New England)Woolsey familyIEEE Edison Medal recipientsBurials at Lake View Cemetery, ClevelandPeople from Euclid, OhioUniversity of Michigan alumniNational Inventors Hall of Fame inductees

In 1880, Brush established the Brush Electric Company in the U.S. and, though successful, faced stiff competition from Thomson-Houston Electric Company, whose arc lights could be independently turned off, and by Edison, whose incandescent lights had a softer warm glow, didn’t flicker and were less costly to maintain than arc lights. In 1882, the Brush Electric Company supplied generating equipment for a hydroelectric power plant at St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, among the first to generate electricity from water power in the United States. Thomson-Houston bought out Brush in 1889 and eventually merged to become part of General Electric in 1891. After selling his interests in Brush Electric, Brush never returned to the electric industry.

When the generator became available in the 1840s, the idea of arc lighting returned. The first practical installation was at the South Foreland lighthouse in England in 1858. By the 1870s there were dozens of different arc lighting generators and lamps on the market. One of the most famous lamps was the Jablochkoff candle invented in 1870 by Russian inventor Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov. It solved a problem seen in all arc lamps, which was that the white-hot arc tended to quickly eat away the electrodes until they were too far apart for the arc to leap across the gap. The Jablochkoff candle used two parallel carbon rods that were designed to provide a long service life. In June 1878, as part of the Exposition Universelle, arc lighting (using Jabkochkoff candles) of the Avenue de l’Opera and the Place de l’Opera was switched on for the first time, marking a milestone in public awareness and excitement about the technology.  However, the street lighting systems installed in the United States and Europe usually required regular maintenance (usually daily adjustment) by an army of technicians. 

Brush was raised on a farm about ten miles from downtown Cleveland. He had a great interest in science, particularly with Humphry Davy’s experiments with the arc light; he tinkered with and built simple electrical devices such as a static electricity machine at age 12, experimenting in a workshop on his parents’ farm. Brush attended Central High School in Cleveland where he built his first arc light, and graduated there with honors in 1867.[5] His high school commencement oration was on the “Conservation of Force”.[6] He received his college undergraduate education from the University of Michigan, where he studied mining engineering, graduating in 1869 (there were no majors—as there are today—in electrical engineering). At Michigan, Brush was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Omicron chapter). Brush earned his PhD at Western Reserve (now Case Western Reserve University), graduating in 1880.[7][8]

After selling his patents to a French company, Yablochkov returned to Russia in late 1878. He was greeted enthusiastically as a hero, and with the financial assistance from General-Admiral Konstantin Nikolayevich and composer Nikolai Rubinstein as well as many other famous Russians, he formed his own company, “Association of Electric Lighting P.N. Yablochkov Inventor and Co.” in 1879. He enjoyed some success installing arc lighting systems at military district courts and the Okhta Powder Works in St. Petersburg. Yablochkov returned to Paris in 1880 in preparation for the first International Electrotechnical Exhibition, which opened on 1 August 1881. This exhibition focused, however, on the incandescent lamps developed by Thomas Edison which could run for up to one thousand hours without having to be replaced. While Yablochkov was recognized at the exhibition as a pioneer and innovator, his contributions had already fallen into obsolescence.

Electric “arc” lighting refers to the fact that an electric spark in the air between two conductors will produce a dazzlingly bright light. Many early experimenters noted this phenomenon, and Sir Humphrey Davy made a famous demonstration of it in 1809. Some considered using the arc as a source of light for streets, theaters, or other spaces, but as long as the only source of electricity was the battery, these ideas were not practical, because the arc uses a great deal of current. The short life of the battery in this system meant that it had to be replaced quite often.

In 1898, Brush claimed to have discovered a new gas, which he named “etherion”. This gas had remarkable properties, being 10,000 times lighter than hydrogen and conducting heat 20 times faster than it.[21] In 1900, Marian Smoluchowski identified the gas as water vapor.[22]

Brush produced additional patents refining the design of his arc lights in the coming years and sold systems to several cities for public lighting, and even equipped Philadelphia’s Wanamaker’s Grand Depot with a system.[10] His lights were easier to maintain, had automatic functions and burned twice as long as Yablochkov candles. His generators were reliable and automatically increased voltage with greater load while keeping current constant.[11] By 1881, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Montreal, Buffalo, San Francisco, Cleveland, and other cities had Brush arc light systems, producing public light well into the 20th century.[9]

Yablochkov candles illuminating Music hall on la Place du Chateau d’eau ca 1880

The San Francisco system was the first case of a utility selling electricity from a central plant to multiple customers via transmission lines.[11] The California Electric Light Company (now PG&E)[13][14] purchased two generators from Charles Brush’s company in 1879 and soon opened a second plant with four additional generators. Service charges for light from sundown to midnight was $10 per lamp per six day week.[15] Brush’s system was lighting Broadway two years before Edison’s Pearl Street Station began lighting New York.[9] By 1893 there were 1500 arc lights illuminating New York streets.[16]

In 1884, Brush built a mansion on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland that showcased many of his inventions. There he raised his family and lived the remainder of his life. The basement housed Brush’s private laboratory.[19] In 1888, he powered the mansion with the world’s first automatically operated wind turbine generator which charged the home’s 12 batteries. It was the first home in Cleveland to have electricity.[19] Over its 20-year life, the turbine never failed to keep the home continuously powered.[17] In 1926, Brush pioneered the first piezo-electric featherweight stylus.[20]

By the Autumn of 1875, Yablochkov had moved to Paris where he entered the employ of Louis Francois Clément-Breguet, a famous academic. Under Breguet, Yablochkov continued his work on arc lighting, and on 23 March 1876, he was awarded French patent # 112,024 for his electric candle. The first public exhibition of the candle was in London on 15 April 1876. It enjoyed immediate success and popularity. The candle employed a design of parallel carbon rods, which differed from previous arc lamps, where carbon rods faced each other point to point. Yablockhov’s design caused the candle to last far longer than previous arc lamps, which typically lasted for only a few moments before burning out. In contrast, the Yablochkov candle could burn for an average of one and a half hours in a lamp before the candle had to be replaced.

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