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Adam, Brian and Jeff discuss the electrical grid in this episode of The Engineering Commons.
- The difference engine, conceived of by J. H. Müller in 1786, and designed by Charles Babbage in the 1820s, is often considered the world’s first computer.
- Brian notes that electric furnaces are increasingly used in steel production.
- Adam and Brian discuss “knob and tube” wiring, an early standard for electrifying residential buildings.
- The first central power station in the United States was New York City’s Pearl Street Station, which began generating electricity in 1882.
- DC electrical systems continued to operate in New York City until 2007.
- Political and technological wrangling over whether the U.S. electrical system should use direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) is known as the “War of the Currents.”
- Three-phase induction motors were introduced into the marketplace by General Electric in 1891.
- At one time, starting in the early 1900s, mercury-arc rectifiers were commonly used to convert high-voltage AC to DC. (YouTube)
- A polyphase arrangement is often used for electric power transmission.
- Once quite popular, synchronous electric clocks depend upon the AC power frequency to keep accurate time, requiring power utilities to maintain a precise average frequency.
- Electrical power grids have to respond to sudden changes in electrical demands, which may occur when large populations simultaneously take similar action due to the end of a sporting event or television show.
- A significant power outage, starting in Cleveland, Ohio, affected the Northeast United States in 2003.
- T. Boone Pickens has been promoting wind power in recent years.
Thanks to rik-shaw (blekky) for use of the photo titled “Bridgeport, CT Dec. 2012.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.