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You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Controllers and Air Brakes
See Also: General Electric Company

Schenectady Electrical Handbook
The Schenectady Works of the General Electric Company

Controllers and Air Brakes: Building No. 23

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[This information is from pp. 38-40 of the Schenectady Electrical Handbook by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. (Schenectady, NY: General Electric Press, 1904). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 621.3 A51s.]

The General Electric Company has manufactured to date over 139,000 controllers, embracing about 400 different forms, an evolution the history of which would form an exceedingly interesting story of research, experimentation, continual improvements, and final success in turning out a device which does its work thoroughly and can be entrusted to unskilled hands under exceedingly severe conditions of service.

Controllers manufactured for railway service are of two general classes. The first is the cylinder type of platform controller in which the main leads from the motors enter the controller, and a manually operated handle rotates a cylinder making the requisite resistance and motor combinations. The second form of control is the Sprague-General Electric multiple unit type, which was designed primarily for that class of service requiring the coupling together of a number of motor cars, with means for simultaneous control of all cars from the leading car.

[Engraving: Master Controller (C-26) for Sprague-General Electric Train Control: original size (9K) | 4x enlarged (30K)]

The multiple unit control has been in general use for several years, and has been adopted and over 800 equipments purchased by the four great underground electric railroads of the world, namely, the Interborough Rapid Transit, New York; the Boston Elevated, Boston; the Underground Electric Railway, London; and the Metropolitan Railway, Paris. In addition to these cquipments, there are over 2000 operating in many different places. The flexibility of this form of control is strikingly shown by its application to the Baltimore & Ohio locomotives described elsewhere.

Controllers are manufactured for the operation of direct current motors varying over the usual commercial voltages, and also for single-phase, two-phase and three-phase alternating circuits, for various classes of work.

Other purposes for which the controllers manufactured by this Company are used, include:

General Electric controllers are used with motors ranging in power from that required for the delicate operations of silk spinning to the control of locomotives capable of hauling the heaviest freight trains, and the controllers vary in weight from seven or eight pounds to nearly three tons each. The Controller Department manufactures and tests annually about 17,000 controllers, and a variety of special switches used in connection with them.

The General Electric Company manufactures complete air brake apparatus, including motor driven compressors, for the equipment of electrically propelled cars and trains for operation under all possible conditions and embodying many practical improvements. This apparatus includes both the "Straight Air" system for use on single cars and "Automatic Air" system which has become standard for use in regular train service. All this apparatus has been thoroughly standardized and much of it is interchangeable with similar pieces of apparatus mannfactured by other companies.

[Photo: Controller Department: original size (14K) | 9x enlarged (105K)]

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You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Controllers and Air Brakes
See Also: General Electric Company updated March 30, 2015

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