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History of Transformer Factories.
2

History of Transformer Factories.

History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
I am interested in the stories of old transformer plants like GE's Pittsfield plant, Westinghouse's Pittsburg plant and many in UK.Can any one give some details, sites or online documents on the history of these famous plants.One book on this history is - Thomas J Blalock-Transformers at Pittsfield  published by Gateway Press in 1998.I never had opportunity to aquire or read this-seems out of print.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

I had a fruitless search for a couple of the UK factories - hardly surprising, LOL - but I did stumble across this book which might be of interest:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4339/is_3_22/ai_77713863
 

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Sometimes I wake up Grumpy.
Other times I just let her sleep!

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

Transformers ... in your local cinema now.

Optimus Prime rules !

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

Scotty - that link launches boatloads of popups.

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Eng-tips forums: The best place on the web for engineering discussions.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

Prc,
You have brought up an interesting topic.  I worked at GE Pittsfield.  It was an amazing facility.  Tom Blalock's book can still be obtained.  I will look into this and post later.  This book is filled with interesting stories, facts and great photos related to large transformers.  It is a book that any power engineer or electrical history buff should have.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

Hi ePete,

I'm running Firefox and had no problems. Sorry about that - I didn't realise there was a load of nasties hiding behind that link!
 

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Sometimes I wake up Grumpy.
Other times I just let her sleep!

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
C2it- Film "Transformers" is running in the local theatre too where I live -a small town in India.These transformers are robot toys that transforms in to other objects etc.If you google for transformers, these toys also will prop up to your surprise.

The transformer that  we are talking is the one invented in 1885, the same year in which auto-mobile was also invented.These two inventions had such tremendous impact on human civilization that the world was never the same there after.One gave unlimited  mobility to men, other made available cheap and flexible energy in abundance for which men were depending on fossile fuel or muscle power till then.
I have been searching for Bablock's  book  for many years,but in vain.Recently Gateway press gave me address of Blalock and I wrote to  him.I hope my snail mail must have reached him and he will respond.The book referred by ScottyUK is available in internet for as low as six dollars,but alas,they are refusing to despatch it to this part of the world.

History of transformer factories is so fascinating -Pittsfield factory where collosses like Blume,Boyajin,Montsigner,Camilli, MacNutt etc once strolled and developed all theoretical aspects of the subject,but later mercillously killed  by "neutron" Jack. WH's one mile long Pittsburg factory-unfortunately dinosaurs cannot survive for long.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

I used to work at the Ohio Transformer factory in Palmetto, FL. That was quite a place, I think they made up to 1000MVA (Thats 1GVA) transformers.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

prc
If you ever get to the UK, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry is interesting. The link explains a bit of history of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, an ex.employee of Siemens Brothers in the 1870's. He went on to create quite a historical platform. The Museum has some great info on his work, and just look at the names of people he was involved in: Siemens brothers, Thompson and Ferranti of course.
http://www.msim.org.uk/collections/collections-online/ferranti-collection/company-history

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
Chris, could you locate the Blalock's book? I did not get any reply from him.Are you staying in Pitts field? Then I can give Blalock's address.Can you share any of Pitts field stories.GE had a  grand transformer factory in Gulph,near Toronto. Alas that was also  closed down last year.

Italy's Legnano factory was closed down last year after changing ownership several times.

UK  had several transformer factories meeting the demands of her former colonies.All these units started their downward movement during seventies.Peebles at Edinburgh also had to be closed down after rebuiding completely at the start of this centuary.Dundee plant also put their shutters five years back.

US was the pioneer in developing transformer technology in the first half of last centuary.Great companies GE & WH supplied large EHV  transformers to American utilities after World War II .Now I am told there is not a single fcatory in US making EHV transformers (above 400 KV).If Iam wrong please correct me.

Mamoth transformer factories of Russia and Ukraine had to drastically scale down after the downfall of Soviet Union.

In India two great transformer factories -NGEF Bangalore and Easun Engineering Chennai went down a couple of years back.

Germany's great works at Manheim (Brown boveri,later ABB ) was closed down in early 90's.

The only country to tide over the downfall with economic slump is Japan.They wisely amalgamated the units as market shrunk creating least pain .Hitachi,Fuji and Maindensha joined together to form a new transformer  company AE Power System by pooling their manufacturing facilities.

Now the great action is happening in China and to some extent in  India. In China there are at least 11 factories churning out large transformes of  voltage rating 500 KV .There are atleast 4-5 units making a total of more than 45,000 MVA annually at each location.These mind boggling figures were unthinkable for transformer engineers of yore.

Ozmosis,thank you for the input.I dont find any chance to be in UK.UK had great  transformer locations where grand action was going on for several years.There was (is ?) a factory in UK making  rail steam locomotives which was shipping  average of one engine per week for 100 years to Indian Railways! Such colonial protection no company can dream of during the days of globalisation.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

ABB's operation is (was) still going in Sweden last I heard. I think it was based out of Ludvika but my contacts are at work and I'm at home right now.
 

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Sometimes I wake up Grumpy.
Other times I just let her sleep!

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
Scotty,ABB's Ludvika location is going strong and it is ABB's centre of excellence for UHV Transformers ,HV DC Transformers and Reactors.First transformer was made there in 1893 and as ASEA  transformer headquarters, they pioneered first 400 KV Transformer and first HV DC transformer first 1500KV AC Transformer in the world.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

I'm pleased to hear that prc - at least my nearest support is only across the North Sea and not on the other side of the planet. ABB Sweden picked up our GSU transformer support when Dundee closed, although there is still a small crew of ex-Dundee field service guys working out of either Warrington or Stone in the UK.
 

----------------------------------
  
Sometimes I wake up Grumpy.
Other times I just let her sleep!

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
Let me write something on Thomas Blalock,113,East Housatonic Street Pittsfield,MA01201. I came to know that he has written 4 history books on transformers. These are
1)Transformers at Pittsfield:a history of the GE large power transformer plant at Pittsfield -Pub Baltimore MD, gateway Press ,1998

2) A historical outline of the transformer plant of the GE company at Pittsfield ,Mass (1891-1987) 1996\

3)The evolution of transformer test, 1996

4) A description and chronology of the building 12 power bay ,General Electric company ,Pittsfield,Mass,1996

Can our friends from US (electricpete ,....) can help in contacting Bablock and  see where we can get these books?

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

I'm not sure exactly what I would do.

Transformer history is only a passing interest for me.

I would be glad to mail a letter if that's what you suggest, but not much more (sorry).

Google and post mail are accessible worldwide, right?

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RE: History of Transformer Factories.

By the way, I was not mocking the request.... just didn't quite understand it.

Now that I think about it, it's reasonable that if someone lived close by, they might have an advantage.  I live in Texas... 1500+ kilometers from Pittsfield.

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Eng-tips forums: The best place on the web for engineering discussions.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

Some weeks ago I had a chance to visit the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry ozmosis refers to. In the museum bookshop I found books on the History of Ferranti:

John F. Wilson: "Ferranti: A History", Crucible books

Two volumes, containing significant information on Ferrantis transformer business.

RE: History of Transformer Factories.

(OP)
electricpete, dont bother.What I was looking  was locating his phone number and putting in a word.Sitting in the opposite side of the globe,Icould not do that.

Fortunately,today I got the book from Blalock by really snail mail.He posted it on 16th September.It reached local post office two weeks back,waiting for me, as I was away in Europe getting two mamoth 400 KV  (260 MVA single phase generator and 200 MVA 3 phase Auto) transformers short circuit tested.

Mean while shaggy's posting on Resource for old books opened a goldmine for history buffs (thanks to microsoft).I came to know ( and read)  that the first book on transformers published was "History of Transformers" in 1889,just four years after the invention of transformer itself!

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