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Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

As much as I dread soliciting "the street" for assistance, I'm not having much luck in finding an answer.

My father was a product illustrator, draftsman, and later an executive at Thomson Electric Welder Company.

During the late 1950's, the company appeared to have been at the tail end of its original life started by Elihu.
The company began expanding into the automotive market and had established manufacturing facilities closer to the action in Michigan by the 1960s.

Among some of the original artwork and company literature that has survived from being discarded,
I have a pen and ink rendering of a coil that appears to be of Thomson's so called Demonstration Transformer.


Is the attached photo a rendering of Thomson's demonstration transformer?

If it is, does this device still exist somewhere?

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
Yes, initial searches easily find these links.


Among the info related to them, I'm not finding any hints as to if the item was indeed his first welding transformer,
a replica or where the item is located today.

One link refers to the device as a "Jew's Harp". Another site suggests it was Thomson's first welding transformer.
I'm guessing there's a story buried somewhere as to the history behind this device.

In poking around the Internet, I'm finding some great content... but nothing that answers my curiosity.

Still looking,

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Oh, sorry, didn't thoroughly read your OP. Ran across a bunch of photos of it:
https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/the-first-ele...

This site describes the demonstration unit, which appears to match your drawing and the photos
Link

This site shows something from the same 1885 time frame, but it looks different, although it is a "Thomson Electric Welder"
https://americanhistory.si.edu/object-project/bicy...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Aside from that last bit, I think the answer to your original question is no, since there are no images other than historical photos and drawings.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
A couple years ago, I was about to give up on finding the answer to a bridge construction date.
I found the answer buried in a PDF after about a year of searching.

There remains a limit to what can be located on the web. Until someone posts content
that can be accessed via the Internet, sometimes it means one must do things the old fashioned way.

In an unrelated search, I was able to find a Thomson welder being offered for sale
matching a rendering made when the item was in its product marketing phase sometime around 1958.


So, I am having luck seeking out some curiosities.

Thank you for your replies.

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Internet says, "Professor Elihu Thomson founded the Thomson-Houston Electric Company which is now the General Electric Company."

Try finding a GE Historian.

The apparent lack of any colour images hints that it's not seen the light of day since the start of the common use of colour film.

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
The URL below suggests the left oblique photo found on the web watermarked with "Getty Images" and also being offered as a printed poster exists at a museum in Schenectady.

https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/alternatin...

The photo of Thomson standing at the device in a right oblique position can be found at a couple
of sites highlighting spot welding history.

https://www.entroncontrols.com/images/downloads/70...

https://www.carolinacollisionequipment.com/automot...

When the above sources were created, the authors found that particular photo and "demonstration transformer" content from somewhere.

What is also interesting to me is the pen and ink rendering my father made sometime between 1956 and 1959 has a slightly different oblique position then the other photos found on the web.

That begs the question of, what source was he using to make the drawing?

As mentioned earlier about doing things the old fashioned way to find the answer... it likely means
having to travel to Lynn, and or Schenectady.

As this thread ages, perhaps someone stumbling upon it will have more insight.

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
The immense volume of scanned periodicals available to view at HATHI TRUST has been very helpful.

Volume 123 of The Journal of the Franklin Institute (1887) has detailed descriptions of Thomson's
welding apparatuses.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.3195100...




The reference to "Electrical World N.Y." on the drawings led me to that periodical only to discover
the window of dates from 1884 to 1889 are not available at HATHI TRUST.
So that's a temporary obstacle.

Among a couple of interesting discoveries in my amateur historian exercise so far... is learning that Edison used
the term "bug" in 1880 to describe difficulties. I had always understood the term had been coined by computer engineers
blaming insects getting into circuitry.



Another somewhat humorous finding was a letter Thomson wrote to the editor of Electrical World complaining published information in the January 24th, 1885 issue
was incorrect or misinterpreted which hits on a familiar theme of today's battle when it comes to information.



Still searching and Exploring the past...

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
One more post for a Saturday before focusing on something else for the day.



John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

That's a great find! Wondering now if Edison got it from someone else, and whether Grace Hopper got that from Edison. Note that the IEEE also shows an attribution to Edison, but IEEE's reference predates the other by a few years.
https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-histo...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
IRstuff, Thank you for contributing to the "bug" thing.

The IEEE source would obviously have Thomson material too.

Maybe someone reading this thread who has access to IEEE content will find something related to Thomson's welding transformer. (Maybe ; )

I did find the December 25, 1886 Electrical World volume describing his new welding apparatus.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.3901504...

At this point in my amateur exploration, welding text book material is the next place I'll be looking.
Authors on the subject of welding through the years referenced their sources.... so I suspect somewhere
in an OLD welding textbook there could possibly be the photo of Thomson standing next to his demonstration transformer.

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

I went through the IEEE articles I have access to, which is roughly about half of the hits for Thomson. The only thing of interest is a similar photo of Thomson with "his first (1886) electric welding transformer, with single turn secondary"

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

(OP)
One of the puzzling aspects to this search are the [technical] visual discrepancies.

The early illustrations of what I now accept as being labeled "Thomson's Demonstration Transformer" show an artist's impression of what they "see".

My interpretation of what earlier artists rendered... was of a device having a solid iron core.

The rendering my father made of the transformer in the late 1950s suggests the iron core was laminated and riveted stout.

Well, many of us know... an iron core was not made up of silicon steel laminations in 1885.

Artists alter images. We all know this. They fill in what they can't see with their "impression".
The laminations shown on my father's drawing is/was an expression or his impression of what he saw.

I have a "hunch" a replica was constructed for advertising purposes... and I'm hazarding it still exists
and has been forgotten about.

There are people in their 80s who may still be alive to help answer this question.

Put out the word.

I'm looking for Thomson's Demonstration Welding Transformer.

Ya. I'm smiling too.
If you have info. Send it.

John

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

I'm not convinced that what you're seeing as discrepancies are real. The drawing you posted maybe after the style many such artwork, prior to the days of gray-scale reproduction, when shading had to be done with overt drawing line thicknesses and densities. See https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/ec/b4/...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Does Elihu Thomson's Demonstration Transformer still exist?

Comparing the first picture posted with the image posted by IRstuff it appears as if what looks like a core extension may actually be a laminated and riveted extension of the secondary winding.


Another interesting point.
As I was reading this thread I was thinking about the buzz-box ignition coils used in the model "T"s.
The core was a bundle of iron wires.
Then I saw this:

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

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