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Much that is new in protective devices will be presented; we shall hear of recent developments in the steam turbine; the gas engine will receive the attention it appears increasingly to deserve; and, in connection with the report of the committee on street-lighting specifications, we may expect to hear of the latest developments in incandescent and arc lamps and in other forms of artificial illumination. Upon these and other technical matters we shall hear from some of the country's highest authorities.
Examples of the new tungsten lamp, consuming slightly more than one watt per candle, will be on exhibition; metallized filaments may now be obtained in quantities with an efficiency of 2.5 watts, and we are given to understand that this lamp will soon be available with an efficiency of two watts per candle. In this room will be shown mercury, magnetite and other luminous arc lamps, and we hope the meeting will result in much available information concerning their illuminating power, adaptability and practical usefulness in commercial service. These higher efficiencies in incandescent lamps will introduce new problems in the management of central stations. Thus far the consumption of the lamp as a unit has been changed but little, the improvement being in increased illuminating power. More light may thus be obtained by the consumer without increase in the cost or material reduction in the load on the station.
The increase in the use of the incandescent lamp during the last five years may be of interest. In 1900 the number used was 21,191,131; in 1905, 88,333,285 lamps of 16 candles were used.
During the year the association's committees have rendered splendid service. To attend meetings, some of the members have traveled great distances. Their reports should be received with close attention. Perhaps passed over sometimes without much apparent notice, undoubtedly the reports of our committees have done much to mold the opinions and methods of our membership
Though not the time to consider in detail our committee work, I can not but refer to the success attending the efforts of the sub-committee of the committee on public policy, consisting of Messrs. Charles L. Edgar, chairman; Samuel Insull and J. W. Lieb, Jr., in securing a satisfactory adjustment of the differences between member companies at Lockport, N. Y.; nor should I fail to refer to the manner—thoroughly public-spirited and in the interest of our industry—in which the executives of these companies and their respective boards of directors have co-operated in every practicable way in making possible the satisfactory solution that has been reached.
The committee on public policy has accomplished another notable feature in securing closer relationship, for suggesting proper ways of maintaining more cordial relations with the public, between the other public service interests and our own. Representatives of the several associations met, at the invitation of the chairman, Mr. Everett W. Burdett, and at the suggestion of that gathering each of the represented associations has appointed, or will appoint, two members to form a joint working committee for the purpose of securing closer intercourse and more frequent exchange of views. So important has been the work of this committee that an entire evening has been assigned to the reception and consideration of its report.
Questions have recently arisen concerning the rating of the so-called 2000-cp municipal arc lamps. Those of our members who have occasion to refer to this matter would do well to consult the report of the special committee on the rating of arc lamps, appearing in the Proceedings of the 1894 convention, which will be referred to more fully in the report of the committee on street-lighting specifications. Recent improvements in arc lamps, and the possibility of their adoption for street illumination, have made it seem desirable to consider the practicability of returning in some form to a candle-power rating. It wa for this purpose that the committee was appointed of which our first vice-president, Mr. Dudley Farrand, is chairman. Several meetings were held during the year, each attended by every member, and the report should be awaited with a great deal of interest.
Corporation accounting is receiving widespread attention. That which is desirable for one con any would seem so for another-allowing for local differences. Your committee on this subject, of which Mr. H. M. Edwards is chairman, consists of eminent accountants; its report is most complete, and the efforts of our association should be toward its general adoption, at least basicly, throughout the accounting methods of our industry.
A report will be submitted by the committee on dues, of which Mr. W. H. Gardiner is chairman, looking to an increase in the revenue of the association. With the occupancy of the larger offices go increased expenses, and the work of the association as a whole is so broadening out that increased expenditure will be required. The object of the committee has been to provide additional revenue, placing the increase fairly on those best able to bear it.
It seems fitting to mention that but a part of our expenditures are made through the association's treasury. The contributions of some member companies—direct and indirectamount to large sums each year. Take, as an illustration, the member who travels hundreds of miles and gives several days of his time; as another, the subscriptions toward our convention expenses. In many other ways these expenditures may be large, but not the slightest complaint has been made, and each member seems to feel that more than an equivalent is returned through its connection with the association.
The committee on amendments to constitution and by-laws, of which Mr. Samuel Scovil is chairman, will make a report at one of the executive sessions. This report, while containing few, if any, radical changes, makes the constitution and by-laws more convenient and clear upon some points concerning which in the past doubt may have arisen.
Co-operation promises to be one of the keynotes of the century's progress. As elsewhere, it extends into the field of advertising. The committee appointed to consider the subject, of which Mr. W. W. Freeman is chairman, has worked in conjunction with the Co-operative Electrical Development Association, and a report of its conclusions will be made at a later session.
In the movement toward municipal socialism-which for a time threatened to sweep the country—there seems to have been a pause. As opposed to it, Chicago and London have won notable victories during the year. This appears to have been done entirely through an educational appeal to public reason. The facts for and against the movement have been fully and clearly stated, and the public was not slow in deciding between right and wrong, nor long in making known its decision.
Fair play may be expected from the American public. But it must have facts, not personal opinions with nothing behind
them other than "mere assertion.” For many years the public has heard only one side of the question, and therefore could not do otherwise than form a one-sided and-as subsequent events have proven—a wrong opinion. This pause should not be considered as a victory; rather as simply an indication that the public is willing to hear both sides and to render its opinion in favor of those who in their treatment of the public are in turn entitled to public support.
The power of public opinion, and the resistless force it exerts when centred upon a given subject, has been one of the object lessons of the year. It promises to become increasingly a predominant feature in the conduct of affairs-political, corporate and individual—of our American municipalities. It should be carefully studied, shaped where wrong, and always reckoned with.
Our own is one of the industries through which public opinion may be greatly affected. The men who are in attendance at this convention are in a position, personally and through their subordinates, to make an impression for good or for ill upon a large percentage of our eighty millions of population. Whether our rates are fair and made without discrimination; whether our representatives are competent and courteous; whether our service is of high standard,—all are elements that go to make public opinion favorable or unfavorable, and in this there is no detail too small, or seemingly too unimportant, to receive attention. We shall surely reap what we sow.
It would be desirable could our association agree upon some approximately common method, or methods, of charging for electric current. If one method can not be considered best, several eventually might be recommended, each possessing recognized elements of fairness to the public as well as to the supplying companies.
The "Sliding Scale," fixing a maximum price with a maximum dividend, is receiving increased attention. It seems to offer advantages in uniting the interests of the public with those of the supplying companies. Its application and range of usefulness may be considered in the report of the committee on public policy.
At the last convention in this city the question of pending legislation in the various states of the Union was given consideration. It is to-day a live question. To obtain and send this information to our members seemed almost impossible until one of the reports of the public policy committee became available, which showed not only the practicability of the plan, but how well it could be carried out. Central-station managers are usually much engaged with their work, and, without notice, hostile and unfair legislation may at any time be passed. Were there a method through which every member in a given state could be advised of such measures, combined and united action would go far toward preventing results harmful to the industry and, reactively, to the general public.
The relations with the insurance interests of the country continue pleasant. In expressing his regrets that he could not attend the convention, Mr. C. M. Goddard, secretary of the Underwriters' National Electrical Association, says he would enjoy the privilege of meeting many of the representatives of our members, because he "believes the relations between the National Electric Light Association and the members of the Underwriters who are particularly concerned in the matter of the National Electrical Code have become in the past few years more and more cordial."
During the year the offices of the association have been moved from 136 Liberty street to West Thirty-ninth street, near the Grand Central Station and but a block from the new public library. The offices are in the Engineering Societies Buildingmade possible through the generosity of Andrew Carnegie.
In closing, it is but fair to say that during the year the secretary's office has been conducted admirably. One not directly connected with the affairs of the association can not realize the amount of work done and the responsibility resting upon these officers. Warmest praise is due our secretary and treasurer, Mr. W. C. L. Eglin, and our assistant secretary and treasurer, Miss Harriet Billings, and the members of the office staff.
The secretary will report in detail, at a later meeting, upon the various matters considered by the executive committee during the year.