Sale

hard to find late 19th century original and intact heavy ornamental cast bronze james j. wood-designed early electric switchboard ammeter with abundant foliated scrollwork along the face

Regular Price: $1,800.00

Special Price $700.00

Availability: In Stock

UR #:: UR-29912-18

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Product Description

highly sought after 19th century early electrical device in the form of a surface-mount switchboard ammeter, designed and patented beginning in 1889 by notable electrical engineer and inventory james j. wood of brooklyn, ny. the cylindrical-shaped ammeter is an electrical instrument used for measuring either direct or alternating current in amperes. the ammeter is capable of measuring a wide range of current values because only a small amount of electrical current is directed through the meter mechanism. ammeters are outfitted with shunts, thus allowing the majjor portion of the current to pass around to another point in the circuit. the decorative base is made entirely of heavy cast bronze with baked enameled inlay used to accentuate the casting detail and lettering. the rare mounting plate containing two large holes for threaded copper bolts is comprised of black enameled slate. the "wood" am-meter features a curved view port or opening retaining the original "wavy" clear glass. the linear scale is made of brass with lightly incised numbers and scale. the slightly raised lettering along the face plate identities the manufacturer along with patent dates and serial number. excellent overall condition. the fort wayne electric works - a division of the general electric company and manufacturer of standard electrical apparatus used throughout the world, had its beginning in 1881, when james a. jenney, inventor of an electric arc lamp and a small dynamo, came to fort wayne and installed his apparatus in the establishment of evans, mcdonald and company. on november 1, of this year, with an authorized capital of $100,000, ronald t. mcdonald organized the fort wayne jenney electric light company, that dealt in both manufacturing and selling of electrical goods. the original company occupied a building at the southwest corner of calhoun and superior streets used by john h. bass as a boiler shop, and later removed to a building on the south side of west superior street at the foot of wells street, a site afterward occupied by the first electric light plant. the third uptown building used by the company was a rented structure located on east columbia street. next the company purchased a small vacated plant of the gause agricultural works at broadway and the tracks of the pittsburgh, fort wayne and chicago railroad, which formed the nucleus of the building expansion of company's shops and offices. in 1885 m. m. m. slattery, of massachusetts, was engaged as chief electrician. the thompson-houston electric company, of lynn, massachusetts, secured a controlling interest in the stock in 1888, and at that time the word "jenney" was dropped from the name of the company. in november, 1888, the entire plant was destroyed by fire, but it was rebuilt, and operations were resumed in july, 1889. with the acquisition of the brooklyn factory of the thompson houston electric company in may, 1890, james j. wood, who had licensed the company to manufacture under his patents, was engaged to come to fort wayne to superintend the manufacture of arc lighting apparatus under his rights, and also the slattery incandescent apparatus. many expert workmen were added to the force. the "wood" systems would attain a nation-wide reputation shortly thereafter. financial difficulties resulted in june, 1894, in the leasing of the plant to the newly organized fort wayne electric corporation and again in january, 1899, when at that time, the plant was purchased by the general electric company, of schenectady, new york. mr. wood continued his services as factory manager and chief electrician. from this period onwards, but much of the success of the plant had been due to the efforts of mr. hunting and mr. wood, surrounded by an organization of progressive, capable men. in june, 1911, the fort wayne electric works was merged with the general electric company, but the business was carried on in much the same form as before, but under the name of the fort wayne electric works of the general electric company, in reality a department or division of the general electric company. Item measures 10.5"w x 3"d