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Electricity - Expo Liege 1905

Electricity at the Exhibition Expo Liege 1905

French participation in the Liège Exhibition was so considerable that it seems rational to devote a separate chapter to the examination of the special section for this exhibition.

The eagerness of French exhibitors to help us will be seen when we know that out of 181 awards attributed to Group V, France won 106, i.e. 28 grand prizes, 17 diplomas of honour, 24 gold medals, 24 silver medals, 8 bronze medals and 5 honourable mentions. It is not possible to list all the exhibitors, nor to review all the pieces shown by each of them.

It seems preferable to take a walk through the electricity stand, noting the interesting firms and objects along the way.

Let us enter the French compartment.

First of all we met the Société anonyme pour le Travail des Métaux which showed us its products, oxide plates, Bainville plates, transportable accumulators for all applications.

At the front of the stand, a very interesting device was exhibited: "the descaler", whose purpose is to mechanically clean the water tubes of multi-tube boilers.

This instrument consists of a kind of centrifugal scraper mounted on an electric motor of a particular construction, which the diagram below dispenses with describing. The motor, which is very elongated, as can be seen, can penetrate the entire tube to be cleaned and is easily operated by one man.

We then pass in front of the products of the Compagnie française de l'accumulateur l'Aigle, then we notice the Janteaud accumulator with considerable capacity obtained by the use of a special lead oxide.

The Fredet accumulator, with ammonia sulphhydrate, also attracts our attention. Although only recently patented, it is already quite widespread.

It should be noted that it has an ingenious method of fixing the active material; the grid, which is of ordinary shape, receives a chisel blow which lifts a burr, and this burr, which is curved, holds the paste very firmly.

Let us mention in passing the well-known accumulators of the Gramme Company and those of the Dinin firm (electric cars and ignition).

With regard to the battery industry, we have to note the various glass containers of the Société anonyme des Manufactures de Saint-Gobain.

Mr. Holzschuch and Mr. Bonnemaison showed us a three-phase panchrone motor with a transformer, providing forward and reverse motion, hypersynchronism, braking and recovery.

The exhibition of the Gramme company was most brilliant. Its stand included dynamos, DC and polyphase motors, accumulators, measuring and control instruments, equipment, arc and incandescent lamps; as can be seen, the activity of this company extends to almost all branches of the electrical industry, which it tackles with the greatest success.

The Société alsacienne d'application industrielle gave us, as novelties, the compensated repulsion motor (Lehman patent) and the Compound Heyland asynchronous single-phase motor. It also exhibited a three-phase variable speed motor, a booster and numerous photographs of installations.

The Société Parisienne pour l'Industrie des Chemins de Fer et Tramways exhibited tramway motors and gears; note a 175 horsepower railway motor, controllers of various models, etc.

The exhibition of the Westinghouse Company was most interesting and confirmed the reputation of this company. Its direct current motors and generators, its special controllers for cranes and hoists, its electric meters, its tramway equipment, were much admired, without forgetting the famous mercury vapour lamp of Cooper Hewitt whose dim light gave the complexion of the pretty visitors a so unexpected appearance.

The Egyptian Electricity Society presented the Rougé-Fayet permutators, whose operation intrigued many electricians.

As is well known, permutators, like commutators and transformers, are devices designed to transform alternating, three-phase currents into direct current.

Let us assume two iron sheet cylinders connected by a toothing, so as to form a part reminiscent of the stator of an asynchronous motor, with closed toothing. If we provide this core with a three-phase winding, we will obtain a sort of primary of trans-former, with rotating poles. A secondary circuit wound in the same slots would also give a three-phase current if the pick-up points were fixed. But if these points rotate in the same direction as the field and at the same speed, the collection will give us a direct current. This is the opposite of the dynamo where the armature rotates under a fixed field. Here the field rotates around the armature which is immobile, and if this armature is fitted with a commutator, it is the brushes which must rotate with the field.

We shall confine ourselves to indicating the principle of the apparatus without going into details which would take us too far. Suffice it to say that these machines, under a very small volume, have a considerable specific power: a 150 kilowatt permutator weighs only 2,240 kilos, or 15 kilos per kilowatt.

The original brush holder system is also worth mentioning. Centrifugal force was the disadvantage of ordinary devices. The inventors ingeniously turned this difficulty to their advantage, by using this same force to obtain the desired pressure on the collector.

Labour's equipment could be seen at the stand of the Société d'éclairage électrique de Paris, which showed, among other machines, a 450-kilowatt alternator driven by a Delaunay-Belleville engine.

Steam turbines were beginning to attract the attention of industrialists, and it was interesting to see the generating set exhibited by Sautter-Harlé, in which a Râteau steam turbine was driving a three-phase alternator of 400 kw at 3,000 volts, with a Blondel compound exciter. Its high-lift centrifugal pumps and electrically driven high-pressure fans also attracted attention.

La Française Electrique presented a direct current dynamo driven by a three-phase asynchronous motor at 3,000 volts and various small motors.

The Aster mechanical engineering workshops exhibited their petroleum generators, which are invaluable for small-scale lighting in castles, country houses, and wherever there is no electricity supply.

In this same class we found many very interesting mechanical uses of electricity such as the electro-magnetic lifting devices of Gustin fils aîné, the hammer drills, the electric brakes of Guénée, Albert and C'S as well as the devices for controlling points and semaphores, the electric capstans for pulling wagons and locomotives of Millairet-Huguet, the electric riveting machine of Piat and his sons.

Let us also mention the traction equipment of the Compagnie générale constructions électriques, that of Cadiat et Cie, and of Bisson, Berges et Cie.

It should be remembered that several French generators supplied part of the electrical energy used at the Exhibition. Let us mention, among others, the Sautter-Harlé group, of which we have spoken, the group of the Société Egyptienne d'Electricité, a group with a lean gas engine of the former Cail establishments, with a Westinghouse generator dynamo of 75 kilowatts 250 volts 750 turns, driven by a belt, and those of the Aster mechanical construction workshops.

Raw materials were shown by Avtsine et Cie, with its micas, micanites and insulators, wires and cables by Geoffroy-Delore and by de La Mathe.
Accessories, such as brush holders, metal brushes, by Boudreaux.

Let's not forget the carbon brushes, a speciality of the Société le Carbone, which also exhibited carbon for batteries. This company showed how far the industrial application of a product can go, by presenting to the public all kinds of carbon parts, and, in particular, journals for transmission shafts.

The art of electric lighting was born before the dynamo. The first rudimentary arc lamp dates back to 1813, when Davy noticed that by pushing apart two coals through which a current was flowing from batteries, a bright light was emitted in between.

In 1843, Foucault, and after him Archereau, built luminous devices called "regulators" based on this discovery, but it was only after Gramme created the dynamo that the use of arc lamps could be extended. Now, who is not familiar with them? What city of any importance does not have arc lamps illuminating its main thoroughfares? What merchant does not make his shop windows glow, and the industrialist does not light his halls with arc lamps of all shapes and kinds - free air, closed cup, mineralized coal, indirect lighting? Everything has been tried. - Not everyone has succeeded, but nevertheless the exhibitions of Messrs Delafond and Leseible, of Bisson-Berger et Cie, of Westinghouse, of the Société des Téléphones, of Gramme, of Vigreux et Brillé, of the Compagnie des lampes Jandus, of Bardon, show that many know how to do it well, and that several are approaching perfection. Have you seen the magnificent effects that can be obtained with the mineralized dizones coals, in the lamps exhibited by the Société française d'Incandescence par le gaz?

Besides all its advantages, the arc lamp has a weak side. It does not lend itself well to the division of lighting; this is where the success of the incandescent lamp comes from, developed around 1880 by Edison who imagined the carbonised bamboo filament, brought to incandescence in a vacuum. Since that time, of course, many improvements have been made to the invention of the famous American and the price of the lamp has fallen as its quality has improved.
So the use of the lamp became widespread. It is not by thousands, but by hundreds of thousands, that American, English, French and German factories throw them on the market every day. There are several such factories in France, but only the Compagnie pour le Travail électrique and the Société Gramme exhibit this kind of product.

The accessories for incandescent lamps were better represented.

In chandeliers, we find H. Beau, Gtiinier; in the field of equipment, we find: Ferrero, Burgunder, Dominguo, Clémançon, Société industrielle des Téléphones, Grivolas Very, Compagnie générale des constructions électriques, Manufacture parisienne d'éclairage électrique and Maison Gramme.

As novelties, we had Weissman's delightful electrical beads. Forbidding the ugly visible or badly concealed conductors that spoil the most beautiful effects, Mr. Weissman has created a chandelier made of cut crystal beads that isolate while masking the conductors that pass through them and form garlands shining with a thousand lights.

The luminous portico of Paz and Silva, who have acquired a real monopoly on the illumination of all the great festivals, thanks to their simple and ingenious system of flexible bands, is also very remarkable.

Let us now abandon lighting and approach that mysterious region which is at the confines of light and electricity, and where we find radiography, X-rays, wireless telegraphy, and then enter the more tangible world of ordinary telegraphy, telephony, batteries, bells, medical and laboratory apparatus. It would be tedious to enumerate the objects exhibited, especially as the devices in these categories fall into what might be called the clockwork of electricity, and such and such a manufacturer who deals with X-rays also makes medical devices, batteries and laboratory equipment. Gaiffe, for example, shows us galvano-cauteras, lamps for lighting cavities, medical transformers, static electricity machines, equipment for franklinisation, high frequency, radiography, radioscopy, and what have you. The same applies to the exhibition of Radiguet and Massiat.

In all this compartment, the uninitiated public passes by without understanding much, he hears the petarades of Ruhmkorff's coils, sees enormous sparks flying between two copper spheres, or a tuft of small blue sparks coming out of a kind of brush, which he is told is high frequency; he contemplates macrophotographs, which are not very good. frequency; he contemplates macabre photographs showing him a hand, or rather a skeleton of a hand, with a vague shadow of flesh around it, and a large black ring on the ring finger, or a needle point stuck in the palm.

Wireless telegraphy was presented by the Ateliers Thomson-Hauston, by Ducretet, Mars, Radiguet. In the field of telegraphy and telephony, the exhibition of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Post and Telegraphs, a retrospective exhibition of the highest interest, should be mentioned first of all.

Then we have the Baudot telegraph apparatus exhibited by the Maison Carpentier, the Kotyra telegraph, which is very ingenious, the Mildé telephones and ringers, the exhibition of the Société Industrielle des Téléphones, that of the Maison Mambret, and Ducretet.

Laboratory and measuring equipment was brilliantly represented by firms whose reputation is well established: Société Qramme, for its industrial equipment, Richard, with its recorders, Carpentier, Chauvin and Arnoux, and others.

Although electric clocks and watches should be considered more in the domain of mechanics (electricity has so little to do with it!), we should nevertheless mention with praise the exhibitions of Vigreux and Brillié, Paul Garnier, Château frères, Henry Lepaule, Sallin.

When we have examined the stage projectors of Barbier, Renard and Turenne, the projection devices of all kinds of Radiguet, the lighthouse devices of Henry Lepaule, we will review the submarine, telegraphic and telephone cables of the Société Industrielle des Téléphones, the bare wires of the Tréfileries du Havre, Geoffroy et Delore, of which we have already spoken, as well as De La Mathe, and we will leave this compartment with regret, carrying with us the impression that the electrical industry was represented there in a quite remarkable way, worthy of its past, worthy of its present value, and worthy, finally, of this great nation that is France.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Liège 1905