A Non-Stop Run: The Electric Generator That Ran for Four Years with Only One 15 Minute Break

Posted By Richard Jefferson on 10 March 2015

Posted in The Vintage Machinery Almanac

This article was originally published in Electrochemical and Metallurgical Industry Publication of June 1907. Information within this article is therefore correct as of 1907. The publication of this material aims to provide historical insight on the subject and its place in industry.

Electrical generators have become such a standard product that attention is seldom called to that thoroughness of design and construction which results in such a record of reliability as that shown in the following statement concerning a 150-kw, three-phase, belt-driven alternator built by the General Electric Co. This electric generator ran more than four years, 24 hours a day, with a single stop of 15 minutes, due to a defective pulley. The details of the electric generators performance are given by Mr. Rhodes, assistant manager of the United States Smelting Co. West Jordan, Utah:

Alternator having made a non-stop run of more than four years

"The electric generator was received about June 1, 1902. Put in service October 15th for 11 hours per day until November 9th, when 24 hours per day service was required. January 25th, 1904, shortly after noon, the paper pulley on exciter went to pieces. A cast iron pulley being on hand a shut-down of 15 minutes was recorded. From June 13th to 18th, 1904, the switchboard was moved, and all feeder circuits were connected directly on the machine without switches or fuses by means of jumpers without a single mishap to cause a shut-down. Last Fall one of the screws worked out of one of the split oil rings on pulley end. Not being able to shut down we ran along with the remaining one till March 28, 1907, when the machine was shut down for three days, thoroughly cleaned out, new oil put in bearings, collector rings turned true, the broken oil ring fixed, and service commenced as usual, vacuoline oil being used during this run.

The alternator is belt-driven, and an engine located at either side with belt attached in case of emergency. Bearing in mind that this machine carries a continuous overload of 25 to 60% its record is truly wonderful."

Image Credit: Keene Public Library