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In this three-part survey article, some of the demands that traditionally have been made upon switchgearÂ¿and how these demands are being metÂ¿are described. Part I covers the basic problems associated with current interruptions, arc phenomenons, arc mediums, and testing. In Part II, to be published in August, some of the more general design aspects will be discussed. Part III will treat specialized problems connected with the conception of certain physical principles of current interruption.