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The International Electrical Exhibition of 1884: A Landmark for the Electrical Engineer

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The International Electrical Exhibition of 1884, sponsored by the Franklin Institute, was held in Philadelphia fromn September 2 to October 11, 1884. It recorded the past in a historical exhibit and bibliogaphical collection, displayed the present in exhibits of machinery and equipment for the production and use of electricity, and presaged the future in the first public display of a vacuum tube. In competitive tests, Edison's lamps burned for 1000 h but scrificed efficiency. The dynamos of Edison and Weston were tested and found to be equal in efficiency. Concurrent with the Exhibition, a quasi-governmental conference was held, attended by native and foreign scientists and engineer. At this National Conference of Electricans, the tension that existed between the pure scientist and the "practical electrician" becane evident. The science-technology relationship is suggested as one of the reasons for the founding of the American Institute of Electical Engineers (AIEE) in April 1884. The Exhibition is a convenient dividing line between a preelectrical wodd and one in which electric light and power became a fact of life in every aspect of our social and industril environment. It signaled the decline of the individual inventor as promoter of electricity and the begnning of dominance of the professional engineer within a corporate stucture, and showed the state of the electrical art at the time of the AIEE's first technical meetings. The need for a national society of electrdc engineers to receive "foreign electical savants, engineers and manufacturers" attending the Exhibition prompted N. S.

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IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 3 )