PENCIL LEAD CONTROLS ELECTRICAL ARC
CD 1967005 E&MP43.005
MAY 17 1933
A pencil of lead has been found after 25 years of research, to be capable of initiating and controlling electric arcs.
The arc is started in less than five millions (5/1,000,000) of a second, Called the "ignitron", by its discoverers, Dr. Joseph Slepian and Leon R. Ludwig, research engineers of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, it is expected to revolutionize present methods of conversion and control of electrical energy.
Ludwig demonstrating the pencil "igniter" of this mercury control tube.
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Dr. Joseph Slepian and Leon R. Ludwig, Westinghouse research engineers, witness a laboratory model of their "ignitron" control, which may revolutionize present methods of conversion and control of electrical energy.
By means of a tiny current applied to a pencil "igniter", they are able to control currents a million times greater in an electric arc.
Dr. Joseph Slepian (left) and Leon R. Ludwig (right) with "Ignitron"
It is said that this is comparable to controlling with the flip of a house wall switch the enormous current that would be required by all the homes and industries of a city five times larger than New York (City).
They recently demonstrated the new device at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers' convention in New York.
Original Caption by Science Service