DescriptionMitchell-Tyndall Northwestern Bell Toll Lead in its former glory on a county road north of Tyndall, South Dakota. Picture was taken looking south in the 1970s. The lines of openwire communications along streets, roads and highways used to be a common sight back in the early part of the 20th Century. Now, sights like this are impossible so see anymore.This is the Mitchell-Tyndall toll lead in South Dakota, just 15 miles north of Tyndall, South Dakota, where the first attempt in U. S. history was made to preserve an openwire technical artifact in situ. This was attempted during 1979-1982 by D. G. Schema and The Electric Orphanage. While the preservation of this particular lead in the photo was not accomplished, parts of this line were preserved and an entire lead in the Black Hills of South Dakota was preserved by D. G. Schema, Northwestern Bell, the Smithsonian Institution and interested parties at Tilford, South Dakota.
Douglas G. Schema, Topeka, Kansas Member Since November 2011 Artist Statement Administrator of The Electric Orphanage, a non-profit historical preservation project highlighting the technological evolution of the electric power distribution and transmission industry, street and highway lighting technologies. Open wire telecommunications technology, which provided the early foundation for power system design, is also a part.
Mr. Schema holds two master's degrees and has worked in the telecommunications industry. His dual electric power and telecom background has facilitated contacts throughout the United States in order to preserve the heritage of the industries for which he has worked.
Utilizing 20+ years of experience with library science and bibliographic research (in the medical, allied health, scientific, engineering, public policy and state and federal document divisions), he has a significant grasp of the technical literature sources.
His artwork topicality and specialties ARE the electric and telcom industries specifically; having devoted over 50 years of work to advance their aims. Each piece is constructed with both creative care and technical expertise, to guarantee a high degree of technical accuracy and authenticity. This is a hallmark of both his artwork and photography. His artwork takes the form of both pen and ink drawings or highly detailed renderings in pencil.
Among the many utilities for which his works have been commissioned or requisitioned, are the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Southwestern Public Service Company/Xcel Energy, Tri-County Telephone Association, Northwestern Bell and many other organizations. He has had continuous relationships with nearly all the U. S. investor-owned utilities and hundreds of smaller municipals, public power districts, electric distribution and G&T cooperatives since the 1960s. Every year, the artist attends major conventions of the IEEE/PES, IES of NA, Investment Recovery Association, and other industry-related groups.
"The Song of the Open Wire" will initiate a host of upcoming websites in this technological arena of the utilities. Anticipate additional sites which will envelope both outdoor lighting as well as T&D/Substation technical topics and processes.