Visually beautiful early electric design - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    A long time aficionado of electrical measuring instruments peeking in on this thread.
    The Op's meter is in excellent "visual" condition.

    In the early 2000's I started building a large functioning model of an electrical meter as a personal challenge.
    The project grew into the largest working panel meter "out there". (Until I'm proven otherwise ; )

    Here's an old You Tube URL of the meter:

    YouTube

    Antique, or obsolete electrical equipment has a fan-base... but it appears to be a small one.

    Enjoying this thread.

    John

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  3. #22
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    Wow John, that's pretty impressive.
    But now every dog in the area is barking under my window.

  4. #23
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    John, that's just amazing. Wow.

    Here are two pictures of an old Tycos pyrometer I picked up several years back and three pictures of a newer one. They both read up to 2000 degrees. There's a loose connection inside the old one, but I don't remember just what it is; so it doesn't work right now. I'd intended to use it, but I don't know what it would need for a handle or contacting point either. Maybe Amazing John could help me figure it out?

    A friend gave me the newer pyrometer when the first one didn't work. I use it for forging aluminum and its alloys. Aluminum needs to be worked colder than glowing, so you can't judge the temperature by eye. I don't forge the stuff very often, but a pyrometer does help. It has a handle with a ceramic tip with a metal point you hold on the surface of what you're measuring. (I'm sure most folks know that.) Maybe just maybe this handle would work with the old pyrometer body, but I really don't know.

    Thanks for starting this fun topic, Maynah. I hope these pyrometers fit your idea of seeing old electrical things.

    Joel
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails pyrometerscale.jpg   pyrometermain.jpg   newerpyrometerandhandle.jpg   newerpyrometer.jpg   newerpyrometertip.jpg  


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    Absolutely.
    Very interesting.

  6. #25
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    Great thread. I hadn't taken in that those old black panels were actually slate. Dan Gelbart has long suggested slate as a handy high dielectric strength material that was easy to machine. But I was surprised to read here these panels were also made from marble as I think of marble as as found in counter tops as being much harder than slate, more like granite for machining difficulty. Are their softer marbles out there?

    Anyway, that Weston gauge is beautiful. Have you checked if it works?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoope View Post
    Great thread. I hadn't taken in that those old black panels were actually slate. Dan Gelbart has long suggested slate as a handy high dielectric strength material that was easy to machine. But I was surprised to read here these panels were also made from marble as I think of marble as as found in counter tops as being much harder than slate, more like granite for machining difficulty. Are their softer marbles out there?

    Anyway, that Weston gauge is beautiful. Have you checked if it works?
    In 1953, my church put up a new building. There were scrap pieces of slate and white marble laying around, so I brought some home. I found that the slate could be drilled with the cheap carbon steel drills I had and sawed on my power jigsaw. And carving with steel chisels was easy. The marble was harder, but I could still saw it and shape it on my disc sander and carve it with abrasive points in a Dremel.

    For many years, mostly in Victorian times, marble tops were popular for furniture. It was sort of the Formica of the time, more or less waterproof and it looked good. I have a circa 1870 walnut bedroom commode we bought around 1955 with an elaborate marble top with side and backsplashes. They drilled blind holes in the stone, filled them with lead, and used ordinary wood screws to attach the pieces of stone to each other.

    Larry

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  9. #27
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    Yes I've realized I was thinking about counters around here that are more like white marbled granite than actual marble. And of course you can carve marble.

    The history of high tech design, i.e. the design of whatever is the latest valuable thing in a given historical period, is fascinating. Clearly up until well into the 20th century the impulse was to decorate anything valuable with engravings or purely aesthetic forms. I was on another thread here on the Antiques forum a few months ago expressing wonder at a planer that had proper art deco buttresses for the bridge but from decades before the art deco period. But I recall, probably from this site, reading an ancient editorial bemoaning the "excessive decoration on current machinery". Then it mostly went away somewhere between the 30's and the end of the War. I think I mostly prefer the modern aesthetic but when it's done well, like this meter, the old ornamentation is pretty sweet!

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  11. #28
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    The handsome appearance of the switchboards in these old power plants had to be seen to be believed, Some time ago I was most taken by a photograph of a power plant in Shorpy, the general ambience of the plant, Which I believe was a small works power plant had to be seen to be believed, the switchboards & generators were these old engine attendants pride and joy, In the U.K. the normal medium for making switchboard panels was Welsh slate, this dense material is a real backbreaker the surface of the panels for ordinary duties such as small panels for inside motor control gear, such as "Igranic" starters where, in the case of direct current controllers for control gear for such duties as the controllers of large lathes, planing machine's etc, For the operators safety and that of the controller, the panel was encased in a cast iron box, with a door having a neat quarter light window, One could see the relevant resistance studs etc through this glass, positioning of the finger on the relevant resistance studs was by an external handle held in a bearing bush in the front cover, Usually these motor controllers one found were built by the aforementioned builder Igranic of Chester in England..
    for bigger switchboards, where, in a large works or municipal power plant, one would be absolutely amazed by the length of the array of panels, In a really big plant they "Seemed to stretch from Here to Eternity" along the power plant engine room wall.
    The handsome jet black finish was cooked on by stove enamelling , One firm who carried out this work, which springs to my mind, was Inigo Jones & Co in Wales I do not know if this firm bevelled the edges of these slabs of slate as well, Frequently I have pondered on the drilling of the relevant holes, for attaching the volt meters , and circuit breakers etc, I would imagine ones heart would be in ones mouth , in case you chipped the enamel paint job, or dropped a tool on the surface, These things would not have come cheap, Plus the gaffer would have given you hell before sacking you!
    The old switchmen used to polish their panels with boot polish and bull them up with a dry rag, In the case of marble switchboards, for smaller boards say for a large house with its own little private power system many of these installations were manufactured from very colourful marbles and the whole installation enclosed in a handsome cabinet with lockable glass doors , Thus negating one of the spoilt brats of the household frying himself, bigger power installations in some cases had the main boards again manufactured from large marble slabs, and in this application, the surface was painted with shellac , usually a slightly gold hue, this as well as holding back any moisture gave a nice sheen to the panels.
    When I was a youngster the coal mine I was employed at, Its sister mine had a most handsome installation for the control of both the incoming alternating power and the subsequent direct current supply, Affixed to the main board was affixed a nice little installation engineers name plate which read "Brash & Russell, Kelvinside Electrical engineering Works Glasgow, It was made from a material which looked like ivory, I have often puzzled would it be a part of some poor old African Elephants tusk or would it be some man made material of the 1912 era? Another power plant I used to visit had an equally handsome control board installation, This time it was a more recognisable name, Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Manufactures Glasgow Yes a firm run by the great electrical scientist Lord Kelvin.
    I would guess? that in the United States the slate used for switchgear would be from the Pennsylvania slate quarries, In the case of the U.K. the Scottish slate had too great an inclusion of Pyrites through it and it was not a fine enough grade alright for roof covering.

    Well to end I have not mentioned the products of many of the major electrical firms such as one installation where the panels were by The British Thomson Company of Rugby England, And another was by Asquith's old Alma matter, The Metropolitan Vickers Co (Formerly British Westinghouse) The jewel's in the crown of these old switchboards were the handsome copper knife switches, electric metering instruments and large gleaming porcelain fuse holders, All of it an overload of "Eye Candy">

  12. #29
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    Black slate was used everywhere in telephone switchboards of different types. Many were test boards, to where a feed was locked out and instruments were introduced to test that feed. Oscillators, networks and meters were used determine the quality of that one circuit which was really twelve. If it was faulty and not locked out, it would affect many communications.
    The plugs were shiny brass (of many rings) and contrasted with the black slate.
    I didn't want to overcome the fine posts ahead of this. Please read them.
    Last edited by alum100k; 10-29-2019 at 01:23 AM.

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  14. #30
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    This thread moved me to open up files of research I did when building my meter.

    6 photo - John Douglas photos at pbase.com

    Not claiming to be a curator of history related to the Weston Electrical Instrument Company,
    but there are some observations I have picked up along the way researching the company's meter products.

    Early Weston meters appear to have been numbered at first before adopting to a "model number" system.

    I'm guessing the 19989 number on the front of the OP's meter indicates it's the 19,989 meter constructed in that particular arrangement.

    At some point the company began identifying their products with model numbers.
    I was able to catalog quite a few models ranging from their first Model 1 up to about Model 7542.

    In the meantime, it's been somewhat of a "sitting on the fence" wondering if I was the only one
    fascinated with these old beasts.

    This thread provides encouragement that collecting, restoring, and displaying vintage electrical equipment
    can make its place among all the other fandom interests as well.

    John

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    Thompson multicellular electrostatic voltmeter, designed by William Thompson, AKA Lord Kelvin. These instruments use a pair of bow tie shaped vanes, one fixed and one on a pivot so when a voltage is applied between them they attract and the pivoted one swings toward the fixed one. Spring is supplied by a fine wire suspending the vane. This model has multiple vanes interlaced to give higher sensitivity.

    Bill

    img_2933-mod.jpg

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  17. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by maynah View Post
    ...Marty, I have been looking at images of old Weston meters like ours and I don't think I have seen any with the trim ring.
    Mine came with the ring but it doesn't attach to the meter. It seems like it would be mounted to a board separately. Maybe that's why you don't see them. When the meters are removed by new owners who don't plan to use them, why would you cover up the nickel trim around the circumference? You don't need the ring as there is a lip that would hide the hole you would inset the meter in. Yours looks like it has a integral ring, yes?...
    Yes, my "trim ring" is integral with the body of the meter. It has 3 mounting holes, drilled at 12-4-8 o'clock.

    -Marty-


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