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Maine Memory Network

Transmission & Distribution: Meters & Tools

This Exhibit Contains 22 Items
1
Westinghouse Shallenberger ampere-hour meter, ca. 1897

Westinghouse Shallenberger ampere-hour meter, ca. 1897

Item 74514 info
Maine Historical Society

Over time, investors acquired and combined small firms, expanded their territories, and created what we now call "the electrical grid."

As electricity came to be seen as a necessity, government stepped in, regulating the supply and distribution of power to ensure equity in rates and access to power for all.

Today, electricity in Maine is distributed several small local utilities and four major ones – Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., Central Maine Power Co., Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative, and Maine Public Service. Central Maine Power Co. alone comprises more than 130 former companies such as gas distributors, street railways, and community power and light companies.

By its 60th year in 1959, CMP had 225,000 customers. Since 2000, the major utilities no longer own generating capacity, but take bids from the many companies that maintain power stations in Maine and beyond.


2
Fort Wayne-Duncan ampere-hour meter, 1895

Fort Wayne-Duncan ampere-hour meter, 1895

Item 74515 info
Maine Historical Society

Meters

Developed by Thomas Duncan for alternating current arc-lamp systems, this meter measures the number of amperes consumed by a series of 10 lamps over time.

Companies supplying electric power sought a meter that would accurately record all types of usage.


3
Stanley Model D electric meter, 1898

Stanley Model D electric meter, 1898

Item 74516 info
Maine Historical Society

William Stanley, who started a company in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, developed this meter that was attempted to eliminate friction caused by the jewel bearings.

The hollow steel shaft is mounted between two magnets, which are adjusted so that the disk "floats" between the magnets.


4
Westinghouse Round-type electric meter, 1904

Westinghouse Round-type electric meter, 1904

Item 74517 info
Maine Historical Society

Oliver Shallenberger had developed an integrating-type watt-hour meter for Westinghouse that fit well with the industry’s need for a watt-hour meter, but it was heavy and expensive.

H. P. Davis and Frank Conrad developed this lightweight and less expensive round-type meter.


5
Type C electric meter, ca. 1906

Type C electric meter, ca. 1906

Item 74526 info
Maine Historical Society

Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. produced this Type "C" watt-hour meter.

The meter had a stamped steel base and a porcelain terminal chamber.

Westinghouse used these only from 1906-1911.


6
Prepay electric meter, 1907

Prepay electric meter, 1907

Item 74520 info
Maine Historical Society

Usually, an electric meter is read and then the customer is billed for the electricity used.

In 1899, using the model of prepaid gas metering, General Electric adapted a Thomson Recording Wattmeter with an external collection device; the customer paid in advance.

Many manufactures followed with models of their own.


7
Sangamo Type H electric meter, 1911

Sangamo Type H electric meter, 1911

Item 74519 info
Maine Historical Society

This model had been in development for some time before its introduction in 1911, but Sangamo had to wait for the Tesla patents, owned by Westinghouse, to expire.

This induction-type meter uses fluctuations in magnetic fields to turn the rotating disk, while a drag, or lag, magnet keeps the disk turning at a rate proportional to the current.


8
Portable electric test meter, ca. 1912

Portable electric test meter, ca. 1912

Item 74522 info
Maine Historical Society

The portable rotating standard meter enclosed in the box was used to test watt-hour meters to ensure that customers' usage was reported accurately.


9
General Electric Type I electric meter, 1913

General Electric Type I electric meter, 1913

Item 74518 info
Maine Historical Society

The first meter to be mass-produced, this electric meter has many of the basic features and adjustments still found today.

Once introduced, it quickly became the utility standard meter and was so reliable, many were in use until the 1960s or later.


10
Westinghouse stamped steel meter, 1928

Westinghouse stamped steel meter, 1928

Item 74521 info
Maine Historical Society

Introduced in 1924, the Westinghouse OB meter was smaller than its predecessor, the OA (and most present-day meters), and, instead of cast iron, its housing was made out of stamped steel.


11
Lag-screw wrench, ca. 1903

Lag-screw wrench, ca. 1903

Item 74849 info
Maine Historical Society

Tools
Setting up utility poles and installing electrical cable are two of the primary duties of the lineman. Specialized tools such as wrenches, wire-splicing clamps, and insulated hammers and pliers, were developed to help the lineman make sure that electrical and mechanical connections on utility line are safe and strong.

The Klein Tools lag-screw wrench was manufactured specifically to fit the standard sizes of hardware common in the electrical industry and so was used frequently by Central Maine Power Co. linemen.


12
Electric meter seal crimper, ca. 1910

Electric meter seal crimper, ca. 1910

Item 74523 info
Maine Historical Society

The crimper was used to secure a lead seal on an electrical meter so the company could determine if the meter had been tampered with.


13
Crimped lead seal, ca. 1910

Crimped lead seal, ca. 1910

Item 74524 info
Maine Historical Society

The lead seal, used to determine if electric meters had been tampered with, is stamped "CMP" for Central Maine Power and "23" on the reverse.


14
Disconnected electric service tag, ca. 1910

Disconnected electric service tag, ca. 1910

Item 74525 info
Maine Historical Society

A warning tag used by Cumberland County Power & Light Company reads, "This meter is disconnected from service. We will be pleased to supply you with electric service. Kindly call at the office to make application."


15
Splicing sleeve, ca. 1910

Splicing sleeve, ca. 1910

Item 74844 info
Maine Historical Society

The splicing sleeve was used by linemen connecting electrical cables.

A special tool was then used to secure the sleeve on the two ends of cable.


16
Alligator wrench, ca. 1910

Alligator wrench, ca. 1910

Item 74848 info
Maine Historical Society

The Roebling Alligator wrench fit many different sizes of bolts and nuts and was one of many types of wrenches electrical linemen used in their daily work.


17
'McIntryre' splice, ca. 1913

'McIntryre' splice, ca. 1913

Item 74842 info
Maine Historical Society

The McIntyre splicing sleeve was invented in the 1880s, but did not become popular with Central Maine Power Co. linemen until the 1920s.

The copper or aluminum sleeves used in the McIntyre splice provided more surface area than other methods, and subsequently more friction, to the splice when it was placed under tension.

Wrapping one of the conductor strands at each end of the splice further secured the sleeve.


18
Western Union splice, ca. 1920

Western Union splice, ca. 1920

Item 74846 info
Maine Historical Society

Central Maine Power Company linemen used this cable-splicing method, named the "Western Union" splice until the 1920s, when McIntyre splicing method became more popular.

The round turns of the splice are designed to tighten as the two wires pull away from one another.


19
Hammer with insulated handle, ca. 1920

Hammer with insulated handle, ca. 1920

Item 74847 info
Maine Historical Society

An enterprising Central Maine Power lineman constructed his own insulated tool in about 1920 by replacing this hammer's wooden handle with a steel pipe, and then covering the pipe with braided fiberglass cloth and rubber insulation.

Safety equipment was especially important for the line workers who erected utility poles and strung cable.


20
Chance 'special' wrench, ca. 1928

Chance 'special' wrench, ca. 1928

Item 74850 info
Maine Historical Society

The Chance "Special" wrench includes a hammer, so electrical lineman would not have to switch tools when working high overhead.

It is one of many specialized tools developed for electric utility line workers.


21
Ratchet sleeve twister, ca. 1935

Ratchet sleeve twister, ca. 1935

Item 74843 info
Maine Historical Society

The ratchet sleeve twister is one of a number of specialized tools developed to help the lineman who install electrical cable ensure that both the electrical and mechanical connections on utility line are safe and strong.


22
Crimping-splicing tool, ca. 1935

Crimping-splicing tool, ca. 1935

Item 74845 info
Maine Historical Society

The adjustable wooden handle of this wire-splicing clamp allows the tool to be used in tight places.

Electrical line workers used the tool to connect two wires in sleeves.


This Exhibit Contains 22 Items