The History of 3-Phase Power, (and AC/DC, 50/60 Hz, US/Euro, ....)

In summary, Kathy Joseph is known for her detailed videos and book on the history of electricity. The video discusses the controversy surrounding the credit for three phase power and the inflated reputation of Nikola Tesla. It also delves into other topics such as different types of power, historical figures and their egos, and surprising advancements in the industry. The conversation also mentions the first high tension electrical transmission line, which is located in the western US and was built in the early 60s. The discussion touches on the unique design of a 100MW gas turbine generator and the challenges of bringing it back online after being decommissioned for 15 years. The conversation ends with a debate on the reliability of empirical evidence and the power of those who write history
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anorlunda
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Kathy Joseph makes wonderful videos (and now a book) about the history of electricity. Her research is very thorough.

I just watched the video below, and found it instructive. Especially interesting is how Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse in the USA got the fame and credit for three phase power instead of Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and AEG in Germany. It also explains how Tesla's reputation became so inflated that even today he is viewed as a superhero by many young people.

Secondary from this video, we hear about 2-phase, versus 3-phase-6-wire, versus 3-phase-3-wire, 50 versus 60 Hz, Edison versus Westinghouse, Edison versus GE, and German versus Russian pride, and egos that abused history. All very entertaining IMO.

 
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Tesla was an idea guy and showman. My impression was he never made anything actually work to a useful state. That was left to other engineers. Advancements always came from industry sectors you would never expect.

Like, where was the first real high tension electrical transmission line built? There were numerous technical papers on it. Hint, you can go snow skiing there. I guess the fallback was if it didn't work it could be turned into a ski lift.

Hope they don't pull the youtube mention. I was pretty surprised she hadn't heard of Steinmetz.
 
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  • #3
Opera said:
Like, where was the first real high tension electrical transmission line built?
Isn't it the one discussed in the video?

What is your definition of high tension?

We don't want to oversell Tesla, nor undersell Tesla. His design of the induction motor was an outstanding contribution.


The first AC commutator-free polyphase induction motors were independently invented by Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla, a working motor model having been demonstrated by the former in 1885 and by the latter in 1887.
 
  • #4
No, this one is in the western US. It is hard to define firsts. This one had enough voltage to create a glow at night. It was significant enough to get a mention in the book First 100 years of IEEE, or something like that. Haven't looked at it in probably 20 years and it is a thousand miles away from me right now. It is probably been out of print long enough that it may be a free download. History is defined by those who write it.

Here is a picture you may not find anywhere else. It is a 100MW gas turbine generator that went into operation in the early 60's. Only two were built. The other one was in France and has since been demolished. A large company that built jet engines, large turbine rotors and generators came up with idea. Alcohol may have been involved. So, 10 jet engines blow against a large fan and turn a generator. Only shown are 8 engines and it can run without two. This is a peaking generator and it was decommissioned for 15 years. When they tried to bring it back online everyone who knew how to run it was DEAD. Took two years to figure it out. Manager says many parts are only available on ebay as items are out of production for 30 years. They held off a scheduled startup for a couple weeks so I could see it run. Big clunking relays and sounds like the end of the world. I stood just in front of it as it ran if you can imagine the screaming of 8 jet engines. This is a historic design, yet the ASME history of gas turbine generators doesn't mention it. Noone else tried this. 70 years later it is still running.
 

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Opera said:
No, this one is in the western US. It is hard to define firsts. This one had enough voltage to create a glow at night. It was significant enough to get a mention in the book First 100 years of IEEE, or something like that. Haven't looked at it in probably 20 years and it is a thousand miles away from me right now. It is probably been out of print long enough that it may be a free download. History is defined by those who write it.

Here is a picture you may not find anywhere else. It is a 100MW gas turbine generator that went into operation in the early 60's. Only two were built. The other one was in France and has since been demolished. A large company that built jet engines, large turbine rotors and generators came up with idea. Alcohol may have been involved. So, 10 jet engines blow against a large fan and turn a generator. Only shown are 8 engines and it can run without two. This is a peaking generator and it was decommissioned for 15 years. When they tried to bring it back online everyone who knew how to run it was DEAD. Took two years to figure it out. Manager says many parts are only available on ebay as items are out of production for 30 years. They held off a scheduled startup for a couple weeks so I could see it run. Big clunking relays and sounds like the end of the world. I stood just in front of it as it ran if you can imagine the screaming of 8 jet engines. This is a historic design, yet the ASME history of gas turbine generators doesn't mention it. Noone else tried this. 70 years later it is still running.
One could argue,your anecdote isn't convincing. Empirical evidence is insufficient in a public forum.
Blah!blah!blah!
Often,what is TRUE...Cannot be proven!

You said [ Quote]"Haven't looked at it in probably 20 years and it is a thousand miles away from me right now. It is probably been out of print long enough that it may be a free download. History is defined by those who write it".
Agreed 100% . Can't find it on the interweb. Safe journey home.
 
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Related to The History of 3-Phase Power, (and AC/DC, 50/60 Hz, US/Euro, ....)

1. What is the history of 3-phase power?

The history of 3-phase power dates back to the late 19th century when Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse developed the concept of polyphase alternating current (AC) power systems. This was a major breakthrough in the field of electricity and revolutionized the way electricity was transmitted and distributed.

2. What is the difference between AC and DC power?

AC (alternating current) power is a type of electrical current that constantly changes direction, while DC (direct current) power flows in only one direction. AC power is used for long-distance power transmission, while DC power is commonly used in electronic devices such as batteries and computers.

3. What is the significance of 50/60 Hz in AC power?

50/60 Hz refers to the frequency of the alternating current, which is measured in hertz (Hz). In the US, the standard frequency is 60 Hz, while in Europe and many other countries, it is 50 Hz. This frequency determines the speed at which the current alternates and is important for the proper functioning of electrical equipment.

4. How does 3-phase power differ from single-phase power?

Single-phase power uses a single AC waveform, while 3-phase power uses three AC waveforms that are offset by 120 degrees. This allows for a more efficient and balanced distribution of power, making 3-phase power ideal for industrial and commercial applications.

5. What are the differences between the US and European power systems?

The main difference between the US and European power systems is the frequency and voltage. The US uses a 60 Hz, 120/240-volt system, while Europe uses a 50 Hz, 230-volt system. Additionally, the US primarily uses single-phase power, while Europe uses a mix of single-phase and 3-phase power.

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