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New Videos For 2022

In the Fall of 2022 The Edison Tech Center based in Schenectady, New York continued its video production for the winter season.  The Edison celebrates its 15th year producing unique educational content on the history of technology from the people who built it.

Videos scheduled for release on our YouTube Channel include more from the Universe of Instrumentation series, some never before released lectures and an award winning historical documentary from the Wizards of Schenectady program.

Below is a list of what has been released, and planned releases in the next two months:

Discovery of the Solid State Laser: Lecture

From the archives, never before public video of one of the greatest innovators of General Electric in the post 1960 period, Robert N. Hall. “Bob” Hall as he was known around Schenectady was very articulate and creative, his talk at the Schenectady Public Library in 1990 is a real gem!  It covers his story of discovering the semiconductor laser while solid state technology was in its most exciting phase in its history.

Oscilloscope Cameras – Documenting Work:

How did engineers preserve test results for the future? During early physics and radio work engineers photographed the screen. Bill Kornrumpf, an electrical engineer describes how he and others used to document their EE work:

Oscilloscopes part III:

We plan on releasing our final video from the oscilloscope module soon. Part of the Universe of Instrumentation series – a series about the development of tools used by engineers. The overall evolution of technology in all of our lives is completely dependent on the quality of instrumentation, or ability to measure results.

Wizards of Schenectady: Guy Suits
Electric City Film Festival Winner

Leader of the GE Research Lab, physicist and manager Chauncy Guy Suits lead a successful life balancing work with hobbies such as seaplane flying, Adirondack 46er hiking, boomerang craft, expedition hunting and woodworking.  In an original Edison Tech Center documentary we interview important figures from General Electric who knew Dr. Suits. More on the Wizards of Schenectady Series >

Mystery Videos TBD:

We will release more lectures and interviews with engineers from interesting time periods to keep the flow of material going.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to stay current! >

Electrical Technology and Mining Gear

After our recent article on the lighting blog about lighting technology for caving I thought I’d check out the Argo Mill museum to see what artifacts they have. Despite the hostile environment of mines the “new” technology of electricity quickly lent itself to the industry of mining in the 1890s.

Oil-wick cap lamp and helmet on display

Oil and kerosene lamps were used by miners prior to the 1890s. These lamps produced heavy fumes and were a problem when tipped. Despite these problems early miners had to deal with this and were always looking for a better light source.

In 1891 Westinghouse built the Ames Power Plant near Telluride to light and power the Gold King Mine. While there were many problems to solve, the effort was generally a success and set an example of how electricity could revolutionize underground operations. Around the same time Thomas Willson sold his patent of the carbide lamp to Union Carbide and the carbide lamp took the world by storm as they were good for everything from bicycles to lighthouses to mining operations. These acetylene gas lamps were great in how they could be tipped at angles as people negotiated narrow passages and they’d still work great.

Different types of carbide lamps, these could be mounted on a helmet or there are hand held version with handles.
Dynamite detonation gear

The Argo Mill has some great artifacts on display of not only lighting technology but early telephone communications gear and dynamite detonation gear. Another way in which electricity revolutionized mining was the development of small powerful electric locomotives to haul carts of ore. These systems replaced the inhumane system of having donkeys drag the tons of rock out. Elihu Thompson and other pioneers of the time worked on cutting edge powerful electric motors to drive these devices. You can see an example of one of these small electric locomotives at the Argo Mill among other interesting artifacts of the 1800s.

Electric Mule and ore carts. These had a pole that connected to power lines located on the tunnel ceiling.
An electric mule motor designed by Elihu Thomson. These were DC motors powered by overhead wires (catenaries). The floor of the mines were often wet so the ceiling was the safest place to put the wires.
Electrical boxes located in the Argo Mill. Powerful electric motors turned belts that rotated machinery used to refine ore to extract the gold, silver, zinc, copper and other metals.
Control for the speed of the electric mule
An early electric headlamp for miners with battery pack.










Glass and ceramic insulators used for telegraph, telephone and utility power in the mines.
Large insulators for supplying AC power to the mill
Steam powered drill used for boring holes into rock, later dynamite would be inserted.
A telegraph key from the 1800s
Early telephones which connected the mine workers miles underground to the surface.
The classic Wheat Lamp used by miners after the 1980s
A durable double bulb incandescent handheld lamp used by miners

We recommend visiting the Argo Gold Mill as there are all kinds of engineering relics of the steam and electrical age. Their website is found at

Also see our article on caving lamp technology history which is related to mining lamp history on our lighting technology blog.

Tesla Model 3 Reservations

Next week reservations open for the anticipated Tesla Motors Model 3. The Model 3 will be smaller than the Model S but much cheaper at $35,000. This car will be the first car targeted at the middle class and will likely bring the same peppy performance as earlier models.

We have no photos of the car yet which indicates they are likely still working on design and safety testing. We can only hope it has the same low center of gravity and balanced weight as the Model S. You can learn more about the motor of the Model S in our video below shot for the “Iron in our Electrical World” video.

And here’s some more about the batteries and suspension:

This is an awesome car, if you’d like to learn about the rich and long history of electric cars (~120 years) visit our site on Electric Cars here.