This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.


Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Wire and Cable Department
See Also: General Electric Company

Schenectady Electrical Handbook
The Schenectady Works of the General Electric Company

Wire and Cable Department: Buildings Nos. 93, 95, 97, 99, 101 and 103

Go back to: Electric Locomotives | ahead to: Searchlights

[This information is from pp. 45-47 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 Wire and Cable Department comprises a group of six buildings, having a total floor space of about 175,000 square feet and employing about 500 operatives.

The principal building, No. 93, three stories high and 460 feet x 90 feet, is of the type known as "Standard New England Mill Construction." All the stairways and the powerful elevators are in towers independent of the main building, so that the floors in the main building are unbroken by any opening.

The third floor is devoted to the manufacture of cotton and silk wrapped magnet wire ranging in size from .003" (.8 millimeter) to .325" (8 millimeters). The machines for the manufacture of this wire are driven in groups by shafts running across the building, the shafts being actuated by three-phase induction motors driven through high-speed silent chains. The machines are located so as to permit ready inspection and allow the maximum of light from the windows to reach the center of the room.

The second floor is devoted almost entirely to braiding or plaiting machines, which are arranged and driven in the same manner as those on the third floor. They are all fitted with automatic stop motions, so that a few operators are sufficient for a large number of machines. The rubber wire for interior use and rubber cables for the wiring of electric cars are braided on this floor. It will be noted that, contrary to European practice, practically all rubber insulated wire is finished with a braid, little or no tape finished wire being used in the United States.

[Photo: Section of Wire and Cable Department: original size (30K) | 4x enlarged (99K)]

On the first floor of the building, on the right-hand side, are the washers, mills, calenders, and other machinery for the manufacture of rubber insulating compounds. The direct electric drives, with which all this machinery is fitted, render the plant extremely compact, and do away with all noisy high-speed gearing and belts. The sheet rubber is cut into strips of various widths and delivered to the rubber covering machines, whose capacity is 1,500,000 feet weekly. On the opposite side of the building stranding machinery manufactures cable cores, which are afterwards insulated by various methods. Next to the stranding machinery is the special paper insulating machinery for applying paper to the copper cores.

[Engraving: Woman operating cable machine: original size (4K) | 9x enlarged (23K)]

The apparatus for drying and impregnating paper cables, the lead presses for leading all classes of cables, and the testing department which is fitted with various transformers for obtaining potentials up to 50,000 volts for purposes of test are located in Building No. 95. From the Testing Department the product proceeds to the packing department and is then loaded by means of overhead electric cranes into freight cars for transportation.

The pots for compounding and finishing braided wires, the annealing furnace for annealing special forms of cable, and the machine shop where are built the various types of underground fittings are among the interesting features of this building.

The Wire and Cable Department also includes buildings for the manufacture of special varnishes, japans and similar materials.

Go to top of page | back to: Electric Locomotives | ahead to: Searchlights

You are here: Home » Resources » Schenectady Electrical Handbook » General Electric Wire and Cable Department
See Also: General Electric Company updated March 30, 2015

Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library