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knowledge of electricity. To-day, there are over fifty such institutions preparing the best young men of the nation to do scientific and practical work. American genius has proved of incalculable value to mankind and leads the world in electrical achievements. The members of this association should see to it that those who have developed this science occupy their rightful places of honor and receive acknowledgment for the wealth that their inventions have created. The benefits of their services are for all time, for future generations will continue the course we have begun, while human energy and force will go on forever. Zeus would admit that his prestige was gone and his thunderbolts harmless if he could see Professor Thomson congealing iron and steel with the quickness of thought, or arcing a 1,000-ampere current; or Edison bottling it up and sending its glow to light the paths of millions of people in every quarter of the globe; or Tesla scattering it around loose, and even swallowing 100,000 volts in a single dose. It seems almost beyond human possibility conception, yet nearly all of these developments have been made within the ten years the National Electric Light Association has existed. There is only one parallel case in history, and that occurred about 7,000 years ago, when the world was created from nothing in six days.
Have we not reason to congratulate ourselves that we are gathered here to-day as the representatives of these vast industries that have so revolutionized the civilized world? The beginning of electrical industries has been recorded on the pages of history. We cannot measure the limits of future developments, but if we are to judge by the records of the past ten years, what will the next decade show? Even those
who have been the most active pioneers in the business cannot but stand aghast with wonder at the rush of the car of progress.
We may yet see electricity generated without the aid of steam, or the Empire State express flying across the continent at the rate of 150 miles per hour; our letters mailed in New York in the morning read at the dinner table on the Pacific coast; the "Electrical Special," under an arrangement made by our master of transportation, may sail over the rugged peaks of the Alleghanies or the snow-capped summits of the Rocky Mountains, as we speed on our aerial voyage to the San Francisco Convention; may even defy the laws of nature by nature by germinating plants and fruit regardless of the sun's rays or its influence; no more ships crushed by polar ice as we fly across the wide expanse of ocean on our way to the long-sought north pole; the wild western prairies made to blossom like the rose by the aid of the electric plough and irrigator, while the electric reaper and thresher gather in the products that the electric train delivers in the far-distant marts of commerce. Through its benign influence, all mankind will be at peace; the Jap and Heathen Chinee embrace each other, and the smiles of the Russian bear beguile the "sick man of the East." And, finally, it may be that the time may come when all it is necessary for an electric light man to do is to press the electric button, and the gold for which man has toiled for generations shall rush forth with a current of a thousand amperes.
A recent craze has been developed for "municipal ownership," and some aldermen of various municipalities. have heard a rumor that there is one instance where something is created from nothing. Therefore they believe that electric lights can and ought to be
produced in the same way, especially if there is a prospect that the benefits to be derived from this style of production are to revert to themselves.
Your Committee on Data have worked energetically, and I think their report will prove of great practical value to all our members. The papers to be read and the topics for discussion embody the live issues of the day, and I trust will be carefully and thoroughly discussed; as in this way the practical knowledge and experience of men who have devoted their lives to the business is furnished to every member of the Association, and in many cases may enable them to avoid the shoals and quicksands that have wrecked many electrical enterprises.
The membership and financial condition of the association never was in so flourishing a condition as at the present time, and your secretary deserves credit for his able and energetic work.
There is another subject which should receive immediate attention; that is, so amending the constitution as to arrange the time of the annual meeting at a more convenient, as well as a more seasonable, time of the year. Other rules relating to various plans of doing business should be changed to apply to our present style of work.
Among the subjects that have had the attention. of the National Electric Light Association since it was organized, none has called for more investigation and discussion than that of underground wires. I trust we shall have an able analysis of the subject at this convention, as it is a question of vast importance to many companies, and one upon which no company can afford the chance of a failure caused by improper construction or useless experiments.
The relations between central station companies
and manufacturers have been discussed by this association at every convention. The time has arrived when the plan adopted by manufacturers for destroying the business of a local company, by establishing competing plants in places where there is only business sufficient for one, must be abandoned. This has been done with the intention of compelling the local company to either buy them off or see their own business ruined. The infamous scheme of forcing a sale of apparatus upon a city plant by representing to city officials that the price charged by local companies is far in excess of the cost if the city owned its own plant, needs the search-light of electricity thrown upon it by this association. is a question of vital importance to every central station in the United States, for sooner or later their own business will be attacked, and it may be through the influence of the very manufacturer whose apparatus they are using.
During the past ten years, many who have met with us and taken an active part in the development of electricity have crossed the river that leads to the far-off shores of eternity, there to await the coming of their fellow-workers. They have won release from their labors, while to us remain
'Pain of pleasure not yet won,
Still, in the bright empyrean above us hang the eternal lights once set by powers invisible, to which we have added, where "sable-vested night once held full sway," millions of arc and incandescent lights that flash back their signal code,
"Hail, holy light, offspring of Heav'n-first born!"
The following communications were read by the president :
"LONDON, E. C., December 29th, 1894.
"DEAR SIR: I have duly received your courteous invitation of 3d instant to attend the convention at Cleveland in February. Though it is quite impossible for me to have the pleasure of attending, I wish you cordially a successful meeting.
"MY DEAR MR. PORTER: Many thanks for your kind attention in inviting me to join the meeting of the association at Cleveland. I would be certainly much interested in the proceedings, especially as there are so many able men to be present.
"I would be particularly interested in Mr. Brush's early reminiscences. There is no man in the profession whose experiences in the early attempts of