Description This 73-kV pantograph switch is part of the Southern District of Westar Energy, east of Wichita, Kansas. The switch is known as a 'pantograph,' type unit which is recognized by most electrical engineers as the most effective switching method in the power industry.This particular switch is a tap from a substation for a 69-kV Z-structure line to serve some nearby western towns.The switch, controlled by a down pipe to a handle and each phase connected by an inter-phase drive linkage, uses gravity and weight to make an efficient and durable contact between the switch blades and jaws. Because of this highly reliable contact mechanism, such switches were among the first to be designed for early power distribution and transmission switching.The original switch sported 73-kV rated four-piece pin-style insulators, as seen on the stationary side (right) and adorned with replacement porcelain post insulators on the left and moveable portions of the switch phases.These switches are . . . very heavy . . . but worth the replacement of insulators as they are durable and will break ice easily. The conductor, or current carrying portion of the switch which pulls back and descends, is a copper braid of about four inches wide, 1/2' thick and about a yard in length.Nearly every switch manufacturer created and sold similar switchgear; some with three insulators such as McGraw-Edison's L.M.'s Division or Kearney's 'AT' type switches were they utilized two insulator style (one stationary; one moveable) in their designs.Today, there are no American designs of this nature being sold, which we are aware, but this design is being manufactured and sold in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa by foreign manufacturers who recognized the worthiness of this particular 'gravity' design.
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.