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1942 - in the hand of William Stussy (right) is the tattletale when lightning bolts are recorded


CD 1966036 E&MP28.004

Electric Lightning

October 1942

A tiny strip of magnet steel, shown here in the hand of William Stussy (right), superintendent of power for The Montana Power Company, is the "tattletale" when lightning bolts are recorded at the base of a 585-foot brick smelter stack in Anaconda, Mont.

The strip of steel is placed in the circuit near the fulchronograph or recording device shown in the center background. After a storm, if the strip is found to be magnetized engineers know that magnet steel fins on the wheel of the fulchronograph are also magnetized, hence contain another "biography" of a lightning stroke.

W.E. Lee, left, engineer for the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company at Butte, Mont. points to the tiny strip and holds a spare wheel for the fulchronograph.

The power company and the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. are cooperating with Westinghouse in a study which is shedding more light on lightning, hence is expected to point the way toward improved lightning protective devices for power lines and electrical apparatus. 

Original Caption by Science Service

National Museum of American History


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