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Arcs and Sparks

Feb 01 2015 News >> Latest News

Arcs & SparksLast November FODMs helped the Discovery Science and Industry team to buy some new demonstration equipment for the Arcs & Sparks project, see photograph. The equipment is being used by the Discovery team and FODMs members Ed Dinning & Bob Heslop to explain basic electrical principles as part of the public tours around the new electrical collection store facility.

I was able to see the new equipment in action when I visited the store. The electrical collection store is a treasure trove of Tyneside electrical engineering  history. The tour rekindled my enthusiasm for all things electrical and reminded me of why I joined the electrical engineering profession. When I started as a Technical Apprentice at the Reyrolle works in Hebburn in the early 1960s a good number of the objects now held in the new store were still in use in the electrical generation and supply industry.

Most of the equipment in those days was electro-mechanical but we were just starting to see the application of electronic control. It is likely that some of the cabling examples on display are still giving good service today. To a modern electrical engineer used to working with computer and chip controlled equipment the items in the Arcs & Sparks store will seem like something from a distant age.

The TWAM Keeper of Science and Industry John Clayson reports that the Arcs & Sparks project store tours are very popular "With the help of the FODMs equipment we have been able to show visitors of all ages how the discovery of electro magnetism helped to change electricity from a laboratory novelty into a useful power and energy source.”

The Arcs & Sparks tours take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 11.00 am and are free of charge but booking is essential. To book onto a tour please phone 0191 2326789 or e-mail discoveryevents@twmuseums.org.uk and put Arcs & Sparks in the subject box.

Ian Burdon

Last changed: Dec 23 2015

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