Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/355

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349
ADDRESS BEFORE BRITISH ASSOCIATION

this misleading rule was applicable also to the dynamo. The dynamo makers discovered for themselves the fallacy of this idea, and strove to reduce the internal resistance of the armatures of their machines to a minimum. Then the genius of the lamented John Hopkinson led him to apply to the design of the magnetic structure of the dynamo abstract principles upon which a rational proportioning of the iron and copper could result. A similar investigation was independently made by Gisbert Kapp, and between these accomplished engineers the foundations of dynamo design were set upon a scientific basis. To the perfection of the design the magnetic studies of our ex-president, Professor Ewing, contributed a notable part, since they furnished a basis for calculating out the inevitable losses of energy in armature cores by hysteresis and parasitic currents in the iron when subjected to recurring cycles of magnetization. Able constructive engineers, Brown Mordey, Crompton and Kapp, perfected the structural development, and the dynamo within four or five years became, within its class, a far more highly efficient machine than any steam-engine. And as by the principle of reversibility every dynamo is also capable of acting as a motor, the perfection of the dynamo implied the perfection, both scientific and commercial, of the motor also. The solution in the eighties of the problem how to make a dynamo to deliver current at a constant voltage when driven at a constant speed, found its counterpart in the solution by Ayrton and Perry of the corresponding problem how to make a motor which would run at constant speed when supplied with current at a constant voltage. Both solutions depend upon the adoption of a suitable compound winding of the field magnets.

A little later alternating currents claimed the attention of engineers; and the alternating current generator, or "alternator," was developed to a high degree of perfection. To perfect a motor for alternating currents was not so simple a matter. But again pure science stepped in, in the suggestion by Galileo Ferraris of the extremely beautiful theorem of the rotatory magnetic field, due to the combination of two alternating magnetic fields equal in amplitude, identical in frequency and in quadrature in space, but differing from each other by a quarter-period in phase. To develop on this principle a commercial motor required the ingenuity of Tesla and the engineering skill of Dobrowolsky and of Brown; and so the three-phase induction motor, that triumph of applied science, came to perfection. Ever since 1891, when at the Frankfort Exhibition there was shown the tour de force of transmitting 100 horse-power to a distance of 100 miles with an inclusive efficiency of 73 per cent., the commercial possibility of the electric transmission of power on a large scale was assured. The modern developments of this branch of engineering and the erection of great power-stations for the economic distribution of electric power