Nikola Tesla: Chicago World's Fair
Alternating Current Power Plant at World's Fair, Chicago, 1893.
Four of the twelve 1000 horse-power two-phase generators
``Quite apart from the lighting plant, the Westinghouse Company showed at the
World's Fair a complete polyphase system. A large two-phase induction motor,
driven by current from the main generators, acted as the prime mover
in driving the exhibit. The exhibit, then, contained a polyphase
generator with transformers for raising the voltage for transmission;
a short transmission line; transformers for lowering the voltage;
the operation of induction motors; a synchronous motor; and a rotary
converter which supplied direct current, which in turn operated a
railway motor. In connection with the exhibit were meters and other
auxiliary devices of various kinds. The apparatus was in units of fair
commercial size and gave to the public a view of a universal power
system in which,
by polyphase current, power could be transmitted great distances,
and then be utilized for various purposes, including the supply
of direct current. It showed on a working scale a system upon
which Westinghouse and his company had been concentrating
their efforts; namely, the alternating-current and polyphase system.
It has been maintained with some plausibility that the most important
outcome of the Centennial Exposition of 1876 was that the people
of the United States there discovered bread. So it may be maintained
with even more plausibility, that the best result of the Columbian
Exposition of 1893 was that it removed the last serious doubt of the
usefulness to mankind of the polyphase alternating current.
The conclusive demonstration at Niagara
was yet to be made, but the Wolrd's Fair clinched the fact that
it would be made, and so it marked an epoch in industrial history.
Very few of those who looked at this machinery, who gazed
with admiration at the great switchboard, so ingenious
and complete, and who saw the beautiful lighting effects
could have realized that they were living in an historical
moment, that they were looking at the beginning of a revolution.''
Adopted from "A Life of George Westinghouse," by Henry G. Prout,
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