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Oral-History:Charles Wagner

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== About Charles L. Wagner  ==
 
== About Charles L. Wagner  ==
  
Charles L. Wagner was born 23 November, 1925 in Pittsburgh. He studied at Carnegie-Mellon in the early 1940s before completing his EE degree in 1945. He later earned an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent most of his career at Westinghouse, where he worked on high voltage electric equipment and computers for automation and design applications. Wagner traveled extensively, both as a Westinghouse engineer and a representative of the IEEE and other service organizations.  
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<p>[[Image:2888 - Charles L. Wagner.jpg|thumb|left]] </p>
  
The interview focuses on Wagner's career from the 1950s to the 1970s. He relates a number of anecdotes about high voltage power engineering, the changes in utilities' dealings with Westinghouse engineers, and technology transfer between the United States and foreign nations.  
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<p>Charles L. Wagner was born 23 November, 1925 in Pittsburgh. He studied at Carnegie-Mellon in the early 1940s before completing his EE degree in 1945. He later earned an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent most of his career at Westinghouse, where he worked on high voltage electric equipment and computers for automation and design applications. Wagner traveled extensively, both as a Westinghouse engineer and a representative of the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] and other service organizations. </p>
  
For more information, see Charles L. Wagner [http://www.ieeeghn.com/wiki/index.php/Charles_F._Wagner biography].
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<p>The interview focuses on Wagner's career from the 1950s to the 1970s. He relates a number of anecdotes about high voltage power engineering, the changes in utilities' dealings with Westinghouse engineers, and technology transfer between the United States and foreign nations. </p>
 
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<br>  
+
  
 
== About the Interview  ==
 
== About the Interview  ==
  
Charles L. Wagner: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, February 3, 1994  
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<p>Charles L. Wagner: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, February 3, 1994 </p>
  
Interview # 188 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.  
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<p>Interview # 188 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. </p>
  
 
== Copyright Statement  ==
 
== Copyright Statement  ==
  
This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.  
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<p>This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. </p>
  
Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.  
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<p>Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. </p>
  
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:  
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<p>It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: </p>
  
Charles L. Wagner, an oral history conducted in 1994 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.  
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<p>Charles L. Wagner, an oral history conducted in 1994 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. </p>
 
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<br>  
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== Interview  ==
 
== Interview  ==
  
Interview: Charles L. Wagner<br>Interviewer: Frederik Nebeker<br>Date: February 3, 1994<br>Place: New York, NY  
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<p>Interview: Charles L. Wagner </p>
 +
 
 +
<p>Interviewer: Frederik Nebeker </p>
 +
 
 +
<p>Date: February 3, 1994 </p>
 +
 
 +
<p>Place: New York, NY </p>
  
 
=== Background, Education and World War II  ===
 
=== Background, Education and World War II  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
This is the third of February, 1994. I'm talking with Charles Wagner at the Power Engineering Society's meeting in New York. This is Rik Nebeker. Where did you grow up?  
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<p>This is the third of February, 1994. I'm talking with Charles Wagner at the Power Engineering Society's meeting in New York. This is Rik Nebeker. Where did you grow up? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
In Pittsburgh.  
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<p>In Pittsburgh. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
In Pittsburgh. I saw you went to Bucknell?  
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<p>In Pittsburgh. I saw you went to Bucknell? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes. I started out at Carnegie-Mellon, and then the Navy got me and sent me to Bucknell, so I graduated from Bucknell in '45. I took my master's at the University of Pittsburgh.  
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<p>Yes. I started out at Carnegie-Mellon, and then the Navy got me and sent me to Bucknell, so I graduated from Bucknell in '45. I took my master's at the University of Pittsburgh. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So you started college during World War II, and then you got drafted?  
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<p>So you started college during World War II, and then you got drafted? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I enlisted in the Navy. They had this so-called V12 program, and I was in that.  
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<p>I enlisted in the Navy. They had this so-called V12 program, and I was in that. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Yes, I've heard of that. Were you interested in engineering from an early age? Was it clear that that was what you were going into?  
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<p>Yes, I've heard of that. Were you interested in engineering from an early age? Was it clear that that was what you were going into? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes. In fact, the reason is that my father was [[Charles F. Wagner|Charles F. Wagner]]. You've probably heard of him. I really got interested by listening to him and everything. He used to take high speed movie film of lightning, from my bedroom, when I was a little boy. My bedroom happened to be the only room in the house that had a clear shot of the sky. Every time that a storm came up, he would dash in and put his camera up at the window, and of course this woke me up, so I got interested in that too. So I followed his type of work, and was interested in it.  
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<p>Oh yes. In fact, the reason is that my father was [[Charles F. Wagner|Charles F. Wagner]]. You've probably heard of him. I really got interested by listening to him and everything. He used to take high speed movie film of lightning, from my bedroom, when I was a little boy. My bedroom happened to be the only room in the house that had a clear shot of the sky. Every time that a storm came up, he would dash in and put his camera up at the window, and of course this woke me up, so I got interested in that too. So I followed his type of work, and was interested in it. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And what were you doing in the Navy? What were you assigned to?  
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<p>And what were you doing in the Navy? What were you assigned to? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
After I got my degree I went to the Gunnery Officers Ordinance School, but the war was over by this time. It had just been over, and I spent I guess nine months as a gunnery officer.  
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<p>After I got my degree I went to the Gunnery Officers Ordinance School, but the war was over by this time. It had just been over, and I spent I guess nine months as a gunnery officer. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
You enlisted for a few years?  
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<p>You enlisted for a few years? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, we had to, yes. Back in World War II, it really wasn't for a period; it was for the duration of the war. They discharged you based on the amount of service — we called it points, the number of points you had. Sea duty got so many, and so forth. By the time my points came up, that's when I got out.  
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<p>Well, we had to, yes. Back in World War II, it really wasn't for a period; it was for the duration of the war. They discharged you based on the amount of service — we called it points, the number of points you had. Sea duty got so many, and so forth. By the time my points came up, that's when I got out. </p>
  
 
=== Work on Anacom  ===
 
=== Work on Anacom  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see, and at that point you had your bachelor's in EE. Did you then get a master's degree?  
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<p>I see, and at that point you had your bachelor's in EE. Did you then get a master's degree? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
No, I then went to work for Westinghouse. They offered me a job while I was still in the Navy. Of course, this was back when they were looking for people right after the war. That was in '46.  
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<p>No, I then went to work for Westinghouse. They offered me a job while I was still in the Navy. Of course, this was back when they were looking for people right after the war. That was in '46. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see. Was that the kind of power engineering you were interested in?  
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<p>I see. Was that the kind of power engineering you were interested in? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Actually, I wanted to do just like my father, and he happened to be the manager of Central Station Engineering. Well, I couldn't go there then, you know, with my father there, so I went into the engineering labs and then after my father retired, I moved into his old department. But while I was in the labs, I helped develop the first general purpose analog computer — we call it the Westinghouse Anacom.  
+
<p>Actually, I wanted to do just like my father, and he happened to be the manager of Central Station Engineering. Well, I couldn't go there then, you know, with my father there, so I went into the engineering labs and then after my father retired, I moved into his old department. But while I was in the labs, I helped develop the first general purpose analog computer — we call it the Westinghouse Anacom. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Oh yes, we have talked with Edwin Harder about that.  
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<p>Oh yes, [[Oral-History:Edwin Harder|we have talked with Edwin Harder]] about that. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I worked for Ed. He wasn't exactly my boss, because he was still in Central Station Engineering. But he was responsible for the development under the engineering labs department, so in effect I was working for him, helping him develop the thing.  
+
<p>I worked for Ed. He wasn't exactly my boss, because he was still in Central Station Engineering. But he was responsible for the development under the engineering labs department, so in effect I was working for him, helping him develop the thing. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And that was your first assignment?  
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<p>And that was your first assignment? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes. After my father retired, the new manager knew that I wanted to get into his department, and he knew I had been working with on same kind of problems, but on the computer. So then he offered me a job in Central Station.  
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<p>Yes. After my father retired, the new manager knew that I wanted to get into his department, and he knew I had been working with on same kind of problems, but on the computer. So then he offered me a job in Central Station. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see. And when was that?  
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<p>I see. And when was that? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
1950.  
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<p>1950. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So you worked for four years on the Anacom?  
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<p>So you worked for four years on the Anacom? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes. Actually the first few months or I was on the General Westinghouse Graduate Student program, in which you visited various people and divisions in the company; a form of orientation program. I guess that was for about three or four months.  
+
<p>Yes. Actually the first few months or I was on the General Westinghouse Graduate Student program, in which you visited various people and divisions in the company; a form of orientation program. I guess that was for about three or four months. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How was working with Edwin Harder?  
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<p>How was working with Edwin Harder? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Great! There were two people involved with the Anacom at that time — Gordon McCann was one of the first ones on this analog computer, and then Ed took it over when McCann moved out to California. McCann and Harder were just two entirely different people. They were both good — excellent. McCann would get these flashes of what was the right answer, or what should be done, and most of the time he was right; but sometimes he wasn't. Ed was just the opposite: he would start back from the very beginning, “E=IR,” and develop the answer. He was almost always right. They were entirely different, and I learned from both of them. Primarily, I learned more from Ed's method.  
+
<p>Great! There were two people involved with the Anacom at that time — Gordon McCann was one of the first ones on this analog computer, and then Ed took it over when McCann moved out to California. McCann and Harder were just two entirely different people. They were both good — excellent. McCann would get these flashes of what was the right answer, or what should be done, and most of the time he was right; but sometimes he wasn't. Ed was just the opposite: he would start back from the very beginning, “E=IR,” and develop the answer. He was almost always right. They were entirely different, and I learned from both of them. Primarily, I learned more from Ed's method. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I don't remember the story of the Anacom well enough. Was it in the development stage at that point, or was it being used?  
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<p>I don't remember the story of the Anacom well enough. Was it in the development stage at that point, or was it being used? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It was in the development stage. It was a real small device when I first started working on it. In fact, it was an adjunct of the AC Board, the AC network calculator. They had a synchronous switch that would generate the transients using the elements primarily of the AC board, and then they made some special elements for mechanical transacts, just a small number of them. When I came aboard with several other people, they were going to make it into a big device, similar in size to the network calculator. That's where I helped the development of that.  
+
<p>It was in the development stage. It was a real small device when I first started working on it. In fact, it was an adjunct of the AC Board, the AC network calculator. They had a synchronous switch that would generate the transients using the elements primarily of the AC board, and then they made some special elements for mechanical transacts, just a small number of them. When I came aboard with several other people, they were going to make it into a big device, similar in size to the network calculator. That's where I helped the development of that. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And did you like that work?  
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<p>And did you like that work? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes! I liked more working problems on it, of course, rather than designing parts for it.  
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<p>Oh yes! I liked more working problems on it, of course, rather than designing parts for it. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I guess in those years, a lot of people thought that the analog computer was the thing of the future. There was a lot of development on analog computers.... when you changed positions in 1950, what did you go to?  
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<p>I guess in those years, a lot of people thought that the analog computer was the thing of the future. There was a lot of development on analog computers.... when you changed positions in 1950, what did you go to? </p>
  
 
=== Work as Sponsor Engineer  ===
 
=== Work as Sponsor Engineer  ===
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Westinghouse at that time had job positions called sponsor engineers, and there were eight of us assigned to eight geographical areas of the country. We would go out and help the utilities solve their particular problems. We'd go out roughly one week a month, come back and work on the problems, and then send results back to them.  
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<p>Westinghouse at that time had job positions called sponsor engineers, and there were eight of us assigned to eight geographical areas of the country. We would go out and help the utilities solve their particular problems. We'd go out roughly one week a month, come back and work on the problems, and then send results back to them. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Were these problems with Westinghouse equipment?  
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<p>Were these problems with Westinghouse equipment? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Any power systems problems.  
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<p>Any power systems problems. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
It could just be general assistance with problems on the prospect that you'd sell Westinghouse equipment.  
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<p>It could just be general assistance with problems on the prospect that you'd sell Westinghouse equipment. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
In those days, the utilities would give credit for the help manufacturers gave them. After a while all purchases were based only on price and delivery, and a little bit after that they did away with this job. When they did that, we (the sponsor engineers) more or less worked with the actual manufacturing divisions and helped them in their planning of equipment. Knowing the systems, we would help them decide what the new equipment should be. If they had any failures in the field we would also help them solve them.  
+
<p>In those days, the utilities would give credit for the help manufacturers gave them. After a while all purchases were based only on price and delivery, and a little bit after that they did away with this job. When they did that, we (the sponsor engineers) more or less worked with the actual manufacturing divisions and helped them in their planning of equipment. Knowing the systems, we would help them decide what the new equipment should be. If they had any failures in the field we would also help them solve them. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So you were in a sense a field worker, keeping in touch with how it was going.  
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<p>So you were in a sense a field worker, keeping in touch with how it was going. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
We were more or less the interface between the customers, the power systems themselves and the equipment manufacturers.  
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<p>We were more or less the interface between the customers, the power systems themselves and the equipment manufacturers. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What part of the country did you represent?  
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<p>What part of the country did you represent? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I started in the Southeast, which was south of Virginia and East of the Mississippi, and I was there for four years. From there I went to the so-called Mid-Atlantic, which was primarily Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, that area.  
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<p>I started in the Southeast, which was south of Virginia and East of the Mississippi, and I was there for four years. From there I went to the so-called Mid-Atlantic, which was primarily Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, that area. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
This involved a lot of traveling, I imagine?  
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<p>This involved a lot of traveling, I imagine? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
About one week a month.  
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<p>About one week a month. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Did you like this work?  
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<p>Did you like this work? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes, it was the best job in the world.  
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<p>Oh yes, it was the best job in the world. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
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<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
It was trouble-shooting?  
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<p>It was trouble-shooting? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
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<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes, and you had different problems practically every day. You got to meet people, and you got to help people. It was really nice. I was disappointed when they did away with that job.  
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<p>Yes, and you had different problems practically every day. You got to meet people, and you got to help people. It was really nice. I was disappointed when they did away with that job. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And so you were four years representing the Southeast and then how long with the Mid Atlantic?  
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<p>And so you were four years representing the Southeast and then how long with the Mid Atlantic? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
The dates get away from me...I think I have something listing that...  
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<p>The dates get away from me...I think I have something listing that... </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
One listing says you were a sponsor engineer from 1950 to 1967.  
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<p>One listing says you were a sponsor engineer from 1950 to 1967. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes... '50 to '54 in the Southeast, and '54 to '65 or '67 in the Mid-Atlantic region.  
+
<p>Yes... '50 to '54 in the Southeast, and '54 to '65 or '67 in the Mid-Atlantic region. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
That was quite a while then that you were doing that. Can you give me an idea of the types of problems that would come up? The kinds of advice that you'd give?  
+
<p>That was quite a while then that you were doing that. Can you give me an idea of the types of problems that would come up? The kinds of advice that you'd give? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
If they thought they had a circuit breaker that was or was not adequate for the installation, I would help them decide whether it was big enough. I made fault calculations for them. They might have had a failure on their system, and we might have had to make a computer study, a transients study to show what transients were involved, to see what was the cause of the failure. I remember one of my first ones, a transformer failure, and the customer thought it was due to a defective transformer. They sent me out, and I had just come from analog computers, so I made a study of their particular application. In those days, instead of using lightning arrestors to protect the [[Transformers|transformers]], they used rod gaps. From my study, I showed that they could have got a lightning stroke in there of short enough front (high rate-of-visa) that the rod gap would not protect the transformer. So it turned out that we split the cost of the repair. They said, "Well, it's probably not what happened, but it's possible, and we might be at fault," so they split the cost with us. Things like that. Mainly it was application, but sometimes it was unselling Westinghouse equipment. I remember one time our salesman almost killed me. I showed the customer how he could eliminate one of the breakers by using a different type of relay. After the meeting, he said "I already had the order for those two breakers! Now you took one away!" But again, the customer appreciated it enough that they gave us additional business.  
+
<p>If they thought they had a circuit breaker that was or was not adequate for the installation, I would help them decide whether it was big enough. I made fault calculations for them. They might have had a failure on their system, and we might have had to make a computer study, a transients study to show what transients were involved, to see what was the cause of the failure. I remember one of my first ones, a transformer failure, and the customer thought it was due to a defective transformer. They sent me out, and I had just come from analog computers, so I made a study of their particular application. In those days, instead of using lightning arrestors to protect the [[Transformers|transformers]], they used rod gaps. From my study, I showed that they could have got a lightning stroke in there of short enough front (high rate-of-visa) that the rod gap would not protect the transformer. So it turned out that we split the cost of the repair. They said, "Well, it's probably not what happened, but it's possible, and we might be at fault," so they split the cost with us. Things like that. Mainly it was application, but sometimes it was unselling Westinghouse equipment. I remember one time our salesman almost killed me. I showed the customer how he could eliminate one of the breakers by using a different type of relay. After the meeting, he said "I already had the order for those two breakers! Now you took one away!" But again, the customer appreciated it enough that they gave us additional business. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
This was the 1950s and early 1960s. That was a period of rapid growth for the utilities. I assume Westinghouse was selling a lot of equipment, and all of these utilities were increasing their generating capacity. I remember reading that right after the war, in the 1940s anyway, excess capacity was very low in some places. Do you remember problems relating to that?  
+
<p>This was the 1950s and early 1960s. That was a period of rapid growth for the utilities. I assume Westinghouse was selling a lot of equipment, and all of these utilities were increasing their generating capacity. I remember reading that right after the war, in the 1940s anyway, excess capacity was very low in some places. Do you remember problems relating to that? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I don't specifically remember any brownouts or anything like that.  
+
<p>I don't specifically remember any brownouts or anything like that. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But a lot of your work would be advising them when they needed more capacity and how to do it?  
+
<p>But a lot of your work would be advising them when they needed more capacity and how to do it? </p>
  
 
=== 1962 VEPCO 500kV Project  ===
 
=== 1962 VEPCO 500kV Project  ===
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
A little bit of that, but once they decided they needed more, I would help them in how to do it: what kind of transmission lines, and so forth. Another project I was involved in was the 1962 VEPCO 500kV Project when Virginia Electric decided with Westinghouse to develop the first 500 kV system. And since at the time I was the sponsor engineer for Virginia, I worked with them initially, and then they made me Project Manager for Westinghouse. I was to coordinate all the engineering studies responsible for the design of those lines and equipment. So I was more or less the project manager from Westinghouse — there was an additional one for VEPCO and one for Stone Webster. So that was a first.  
+
<p>A little bit of that, but once they decided they needed more, I would help them in how to do it: what kind of transmission lines, and so forth. Another project I was involved in was the 1962 VEPCO 500kV Project when Virginia Electric decided with Westinghouse to develop the first 500 kV system. And since at the time I was the sponsor engineer for Virginia, I worked with them initially, and then they made me Project Manager for Westinghouse. I was to coordinate all the engineering studies responsible for the design of those lines and equipment. So I was more or less the project manager from Westinghouse — there was an additional one for VEPCO and one for Stone Webster. So that was a first. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What was Stone Webster?  
+
<p>What was Stone Webster? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
They were the contractors and they made the mechanical design for the transmission towers and the substations. They also designed and constructed the generating stations. I headed a team to make the engineering studies with VEPCO, and a little bit with Stone Webster. And I worked with our manufacturing divisions in their equipment design, since no 500 kV equipment had been built in those days.  
+
<p>They were the contractors and they made the mechanical design for the transmission towers and the substations. They also designed and constructed the generating stations. I headed a team to make the engineering studies with VEPCO, and a little bit with Stone Webster. And I worked with our manufacturing divisions in their equipment design, since no 500 kV equipment had been built in those days. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Is that right? That was the first?  
+
<p>Is that right? That was the first? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
That was the first. The VEPCO Project was probably my most interesting experience.  
+
<p>That was the first. The VEPCO Project was probably my most interesting experience. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How did that all go?  
+
<p>How did that all go? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
There are arguments between VEPCO and TVA, as to who had the first. They went into service at about the same time, we were the first ones to build it.  
+
<p>There are arguments between VEPCO and TVA, as to who had the first. They went into service at about the same time, we were the first ones to build it. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Who was doing the TVA one?  
+
<p>Who was doing the TVA one? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
They did it themselves.  
+
<p>They did it themselves. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see.  
+
<p>I see. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
What was interesting was that this was a truly joint project. We had some problems at first; first equipment always would have problems, but VEPCO didn't blame us and say we had made a lousy design. We were both interested in finding out what the problem was and how to fix it, and it was a very close working relationship, very soundly engineered, based on VEPCO’S. They design philosophy wanted no more fat in the thing than necessary. We had some of the lowest 500kV equipment insulation levels, for example. Subsequently, they’ve been raised, because other people wanted more margins in their equipment. But engineering, it was a sound engineering job; there was no fat in the thing.  
+
<p>What was interesting was that this was a truly joint project. We had some problems at first; first equipment always would have problems, but VEPCO didn't blame us and say we had made a lousy design. We were both interested in finding out what the problem was and how to fix it, and it was a very close working relationship, very soundly engineered, based on VEPCO’S. They design philosophy wanted no more fat in the thing than necessary. We had some of the lowest 500kV equipment insulation levels, for example. Subsequently, they’ve been raised, because other people wanted more margins in their equipment. But engineering, it was a sound engineering job; there was no fat in the thing. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Yes, I have also heard as a generalization of the post-war period that as the calculating skills improved one could lower those margins of safety.  
+
<p>Yes, I have also heard as a generalization of the post-war period that as the calculating skills improved one could lower those margins of safety. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
And equipment. Lightning arrestors got better.  
+
<p>And equipment. Lightning arrestors got better. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Were you responsible for system design?  
+
<p>Were you responsible for system design? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I headed up the team. Again from the Central Station Engineering Department, the other sponsor engineers and some of the other groups would do different parts of it. Harder would do lightning line design and so forth. I did some of the work, but primarily I headed up the team of engineers from Westinghouse.  
+
<p>I headed up the team. Again from the Central Station Engineering Department, the other sponsor engineers and some of the other groups would do different parts of it. Harder would do lightning line design and so forth. I did some of the work, but primarily I headed up the team of engineers from Westinghouse. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see. And what exactly did Westinghouse deliver on this?  
+
<p>I see. And what exactly did Westinghouse deliver on this? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
All of the equipment. Transformers, breakers, disconnect switches, even relays. The VEPCO relay engineers had always used with General Electric relays, and they didn't like this business of having to take our relays, but that was part of the contract. We would supply the engineering specifications, and then they would buy the equipment. We gave them good prices on it, of course.  
+
<p>All of the equipment. Transformers, breakers, disconnect switches, even relays. The VEPCO relay engineers had always used with [[General Electric (GE)|General Electric]] relays, and they didn't like this business of having to take our relays, but that was part of the contract. We would supply the engineering specifications, and then they would buy the equipment. We gave them good prices on it, of course. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
A lot of this equipment was especially designed?  
+
<p>A lot of this equipment was especially designed? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, it was a first design.  
+
<p>Well, it was a first design. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I mean all the relays and so on had to be brand new?  
+
<p>I mean all the relays and so on had to be brand new? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well some of the relays were special too but mostly they were standard. All the 500 equipment had never been built before.  
+
<p>Well some of the relays were special too but mostly they were standard. All the 500 equipment had never been built before. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Were there major problems that stand out in your mind as you look back on it? Can you tell me about them?  
+
<p>Were there major problems that stand out in your mind as you look back on it? Can you tell me about them? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes! Like the breakers, for example, the first breakers failed up in Mt. Storm, which is up in the West Virginia mountains. We had cold weather, and we had two or three failures. It took a while, jointly investigating. It had to do with SF6 breakers. The problem was called cryogenic pumping. Moisture got up into the head and then condensed and trickled down. This caused a flashover. Well, we'd never run into that before; no one had.  
+
<p>Oh yes! Like the breakers, for example, the first breakers failed up in Mt. Storm, which is up in the West Virginia mountains. We had cold weather, and we had two or three failures. It took a while, jointly investigating. It had to do with SF6 breakers. The problem was called cryogenic pumping. Moisture got up into the head and then condensed and trickled down. This caused a flashover. Well, we'd never run into that before; no one had. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And that was the size of the transformer?  
+
<p>And that was the size of the transformer? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It was the type. It was a new type of our first so-called live tank breaker, where the interrupter is way up in the air, at line potential, and then separated from ground by a big porcelain. All the other ones had been so-called dead tank breakers, in which everything was down on the ground. You used high pressure gas up in the head, so it was a new type of design that hadn't been run into.  
+
<p>It was the type. It was a new type of our first so-called live tank breaker, where the interrupter is way up in the air, at line potential, and then separated from ground by a big porcelain. All the other ones had been so-called dead tank breakers, in which everything was down on the ground. You used high pressure gas up in the head, so it was a new type of design that hadn't been run into. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So you expected unforeseen circumstances.  
+
<p>So you expected unforeseen circumstances. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes. The transformers also failed, but again, working together, the cause and solutions were found. But by this time other people were ordering equipment and starting up their own 500. Two of the guys from Muncie, which was our transformer division and I, would go around to these different customers, telling them what happened. Jack Oliver, who was Marketing Manager, would start our discussion and say "I'm here to tell you we blew it, we made a mistake on this,” and we would go on from there." We were very forthright, we at Westinghouse. It seemed to me that every time we would go around and have another failure and talk about this, we would get another order. It just hurts me the way things are now. I don't mean to digress, but everything now is so price and delivery, bottom-line stuff. There's no jointly working between manufacturers and users, and it's not decisions by engineering anymore. It's more purchasing now.  
+
<p>Oh yes. The transformers also failed, but again, working together, the cause and solutions were found. But by this time other people were ordering equipment and starting up their own 500. Two of the guys from Muncie, which was our transformer division and I, would go around to these different customers, telling them what happened. Jack Oliver, who was Marketing Manager, would start our discussion and say "I'm here to tell you we blew it, we made a mistake on this,” and we would go on from there." We were very forthright, we at Westinghouse. It seemed to me that every time we would go around and have another failure and talk about this, we would get another order. It just hurts me the way things are now. I don't mean to digress, but everything now is so price and delivery, bottom-line stuff. There's no jointly working between manufacturers and users, and it's not decisions by engineering anymore. It's more purchasing now. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So nowadays if they have a failure, they sue you rather than call.  
+
<p>So nowadays if they have a failure, they sue you rather than call. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
That's right, and they don't give you any advantage for any help you give them.  
+
<p>That's right, and they don't give you any advantage for any help you give them. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
"We'll give you the job if you give us the low price."  
+
<p>"We'll give you the job if you give us the low price." </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It's unfortunate.  
+
<p>It's unfortunate. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What years were you working on that system?  
+
<p>What years were you working on that system? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It's roughly '62 to '65, something like that. I'm not sure of the exact dates. It was before '67.  
+
<p>It's roughly '62 to '65, something like that. I'm not sure of the exact dates. It was before '67. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
That was a success and Westinghouse sold a lot more of that equipment?  
+
<p>That was a success and Westinghouse sold a lot more of that equipment? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes, I think we were the leaders in 500 kV equipment at that time.  
+
<p>Yes, I think we were the leaders in 500 kV equipment at that time. </p>
  
 
=== Advances in Transmission Systems  ===
 
=== Advances in Transmission Systems  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What did you do when you stopped being a sponsor engineer?  
+
<p>What did you do when you stopped being a sponsor engineer? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, for a while, we worked directly with the divisions. In 1967, I forget why, they did away with this. First it was Central Station Engineering, then it was Electric Utility Engineering — they changed the name — and then in 1967 they split up the department into four new groups. Those new departments would handle generation, transmission, distribution and planning. I was put into the transmission group and was made manager of the Control and Protection Group of this Transmission System Engineering.  
+
<p>Well, for a while, we worked directly with the divisions. In 1967, I forget why, they did away with this. First it was Central Station Engineering, then it was Electric Utility Engineering — they changed the name — and then in 1967 they split up the department into four new groups. Those new departments would handle generation, transmission, distribution and planning. I was put into the transmission group and was made manager of the Control and Protection Group of this Transmission System Engineering. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Can you explain the technological advances in that branch of engineering in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s? What were the main advances?  
+
<p>Can you explain the technological advances in that branch of engineering in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s? What were the main advances? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I guess it was going to the higher voltages, dealing with 500 and 800kV, in that area. In development, breaker designs went from the oil breakers, into the SF6. The SF6 had been used earlier; I think it first started in 1950, but it really came into its own primarily just before we went to 500kV. The SF6 came into being somewhere in the late 1950s, early 1960s and that was a big change. In those days there were the so-called two pressure designs, which used a reservoir of say 200 lb. gas. They blew that into a lower-pressured gas volume to extinguish the arc. This design meant that you had to have compressors that could pump up to 200 lbs. Compressors, as you know, like refrigerators and so forth, were notorious for failing. We had more failure there than in the rest of the equipment. Then we went to the so-called puffer breaker, which actually by its movement generated a high-pressure gas to blow the arc out. That was another big development. Now, practically every breaker, at least high-voltage breakers, are the SF6 puffer types.  
+
<p>I guess it was going to the higher voltages, dealing with 500 and 800kV, in that area. In development, breaker designs went from the oil breakers, into the SF6. The SF6 had been used earlier; I think it first started in 1950, but it really came into its own primarily just before we went to 500kV. The SF6 came into being somewhere in the late 1950s, early 1960s and that was a big change. In those days there were the so-called two pressure designs, which used a reservoir of say 200 lb. gas. They blew that into a lower-pressured gas volume to extinguish the arc. This design meant that you had to have compressors that could pump up to 200 lbs. Compressors, as you know, like refrigerators and so forth, were notorious for failing. We had more failure there than in the rest of the equipment. Then we went to the so-called puffer breaker, which actually by its movement generated a high-pressure gas to blow the arc out. That was another big development. Now, practically every breaker, at least high-voltage breakers, are the SF6 puffer types. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
And that was a Westinghouse development?  
+
<p>And that was a Westinghouse development? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
GE at the time had high-pressure air, whereas we had this two pressure SF6, and they used 2,000 lb. air. Those are big compressors. I hate to say. Westinghouse was one of the pioneers in SF6 for circuit breakers. I don't like to make any total claims, because somebody might say, "Oh, no no, we did it."  
+
<p>GE at the time had high-pressure air, whereas we had this two pressure SF6, and they used 2,000 lb. air. Those are big compressors. I hate to say. Westinghouse was one of the pioneers in SF6 for circuit breakers. I don't like to make any total claims, because somebody might say, "Oh, no no, we did it." </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
In this country it was Westinghouse and GE and I guess Allis Chalmers was in some of this earlier, but what about European manufacturers? Was there much looking at European developments, do you think?  
+
<p>In this country it was Westinghouse and [[General Electric (GE)|GE]] and I guess Allis Chalmers was in some of this earlier, but what about European manufacturers? Was there much looking at European developments, do you think? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Most of us, like Westinghouse, had joint working arrangements, for example, with Siemens. In the 1950s, for example, I know that I worked with some. We also worked with Mitsubishi on joint patent kind of investigations and so forth. I'm not that familiar with GE's practices.  
+
<p>Most of us, like Westinghouse, had joint working arrangements, for example, with Siemens. In the 1950s, for example, I know that I worked with some. We also worked with Mitsubishi on joint patent kind of investigations and so forth. I'm not that familiar with GE's practices. </p>
  
 
=== International Contacts &amp; Comparisons  ===
 
=== International Contacts &amp; Comparisons  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Is it your impression that the Europeans or the Japanese were advanced in some of those areas?  
+
<p>Is it your impression that the Europeans or the Japanese were advanced in some of those areas? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Back in those days, and maybe it's my pride, but I think it was more our giving them help. Certainly, after the war, Germany had nothing. My dad went over there to help them rebuild, and he was one of the liaisons Westinghouse had with Siemens. I remember working with one of the Siemens people, who later turned out to be heading up their Circuit Breaker Department, but he came and worked in Trafford, where our circuit breakers were manufactured. I think the SF6 technology, which Siemens now has, came from Westinghouse originally. I don't want people to think that I'm bragging for Westinghouse or anything. I may be wrong, too.  
+
<p>Back in those days, and maybe it's my pride, but I think it was more our giving them help. Certainly, after the war, Germany had nothing. My dad went over there to help them rebuild, and he was one of the liaisons Westinghouse had with Siemens. I remember working with one of the Siemens people, who later turned out to be heading up their Circuit Breaker Department, but he came and worked in Trafford, where our circuit breakers were manufactured. I think the SF6 technology, which Siemens now has, came from Westinghouse originally. I don't want people to think that I'm bragging for Westinghouse or anything. I may be wrong, too. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
No, you're being awfully cautious. Well, I'm just wondering. We're always trying to take an international perspective, and I know Swedish power engineering has been very advanced. I'm just wondering if, in your career, you saw that sort of transfer of technology to this country from European companies.  
+
<p>No, you're being awfully cautious. Well, I'm just wondering. We're always trying to take an international perspective, and I know Swedish power engineering has been very advanced. I'm just wondering if, in your career, you saw that sort of transfer of technology to this country from European companies. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
To the effect that we always worked with the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission. CIGRE in their various technical committees always in some force. We always had some representatives, not just from Westinghouse but also from other manufacturers and users, so we would get their inputs in that regard. As far as the specific technologies, it probably was transferred to and from individual companies such as I mentioned previously between Westinghouse and Siemens.  
+
<p>To the effect that we always worked with the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission. CIGRE in their various technical committees always in some force. We always had some representatives, not just from Westinghouse but also from other manufacturers and users, so we would get their inputs in that regard. As far as the specific technologies, it probably was transferred to and from individual companies such as I mentioned previously between Westinghouse and Siemens. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I thought with the DC.  
+
<p>I thought with the DC. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, Westinghouse was never in the DC business. That's one area where the Swedes were top-notch, and I think GE got a lot of their stuff from them. But Westinghouse was never in DC, so we didn't get any technology from there! We tried a couple of times, but we never got any jobs or anything.  
+
<p>Well, Westinghouse was never in the DC business. That's one area where the Swedes were top-notch, and I think GE got a lot of their stuff from them. But Westinghouse was never in DC, so we didn't get any technology from there! We tried a couple of times, but we never got any jobs or anything. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I gather from what you've said that you were happy with Westinghouse.  
+
<p>I gather from what you've said that you were happy with Westinghouse. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes. They used to be a very good company, until they sold everything but power generation. It was an excellent company. I don't like the stock now. We had some unfortunate financial problems with the credit corp., etc. that we are still suffering from, but that's neither here nor there.  
+
<p>Yes. They used to be a very good company, until they sold everything but power generation. It was an excellent company. I don't like the stock now. We had some unfortunate financial problems with the credit corp., etc. that we are still suffering from, but that's neither here nor there. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So to follow your career again: you became head of this group...  
+
<p>So to follow your career again: you became head of this group... </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It was called Manager of Control and Protection, under then Transmission Systems Engineering.  
+
<p>It was called Manager of Control and Protection, under then Transmission Systems Engineering. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see. What period was this?  
+
<p>I see. What period was this? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
That was from July '67 until the end of '71. It was then made Transmission and manager of Distribution Systems. It had been only transmission, and then they combined distribution. Then I was made Manager of the Transmission Systems part, and another man was the Distribution Systems, all under the manager of T&amp;D Systems.  
+
<p>That was from July '67 until the end of '71. It was then made Transmission and manager of Distribution Systems. It had been only transmission, and then they combined distribution. Then I was made Manager of the Transmission Systems part, and another man was the Distribution Systems, all under the manager of T&amp;D Systems. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What sort of work was that? Was it development work?  
+
<p>What sort of work was that? Was it development work? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
No, it was the same thing as before. We would work with the manufacturing divisions, to help them in planning; we would go out and call on customers with them; to try to sell them from an engineering standpoint. It was essentially similar to sponsor engineering except that they split us in the three areas. As a sponsor engineer I used to have generation, transmission, and distribution the whole bit, and now it was only the transmission area.  
+
<p>No, it was the same thing as before. We would work with the manufacturing divisions, to help them in planning; we would go out and call on customers with them; to try to sell them from an engineering standpoint. It was essentially similar to sponsor engineering except that they split us in the three areas. As a sponsor engineer I used to have generation, transmission, and distribution the whole bit, and now it was only the transmission area. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
You would go call on places in this country and overseas as well?  
+
<p>You would go call on places in this country and overseas as well? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes.  
+
<p>Yes. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Was Westinghouse selling a lot overseas?  
+
<p>Was Westinghouse selling a lot overseas? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes. Well, it was enough! I made too many trips.  
+
<p>Oh yes. Well, it was enough! I made too many trips. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Were there special problems outside of this country that you encountered in your work?  
+
<p>Were there special problems outside of this country that you encountered in your work? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Probably the same kind of problems we had over here. In addition to committee work, whether for IEEE or Standards, my overseas trips were more sales oriented. I would go with different people from the divisions, and I would make presentations, telling what systems engineering kind of capability Westinghouse had and what we could offer them, so that they would buy the equipment and so forth.  
+
<p>Probably the same kind of problems we had over here. In addition to committee work, whether for IEEE or Standards, my overseas trips were more sales oriented. I would go with different people from the divisions, and I would make presentations, telling what systems engineering kind of capability Westinghouse had and what we could offer them, so that they would buy the equipment and so forth. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How international is power engineering? Is it possible for Europeans to buy some of their equipment from Westinghouse, and the rest from Siemens? Are there real compatibility problems?  
+
<p>How international is power engineering? Is it possible for Europeans to buy some of their equipment from Westinghouse, and the rest from Siemens? Are there real compatibility problems? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, in most cases there are. We get into trade barriers. Westinghouse could never sell anything in France.  
+
<p>Well, in most cases there are. We get into trade barriers. Westinghouse could never sell anything in France. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Is that because of formal barriers?  
+
<p>Is that because of formal barriers? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
They just wouldn't do it. The government said no way. There were all government utilities. But as far as compatibility, yes. IEC standards are different in some respects than ANSI standards, but if they would go by IEC standards, we would build equipment for them.  
+
<p>They just wouldn't do it. The government said no way. There were all government utilities. But as far as compatibility, yes. IEC standards are different in some respects than ANSI standards, but if they would go by IEC standards, we would build equipment for them. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So you would build it specifically for them.  
+
<p>So you would build it specifically for them. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Specifically to fit their tests. But most of the time we would try to take the worst kind of tests between IEC and ANSI and build equipment, and therefore it would be universally available. Applicable.  
+
<p>Specifically to fit their tests. But most of the time we would try to take the worst kind of tests between IEC and ANSI and build equipment, and therefore it would be universally available. Applicable. </p>
  
 
=== IEEE Work on System Relay Standards  ===
 
=== IEEE Work on System Relay Standards  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
You'd meet both standards. I'd noticed that you were involved in standards. Can you tell me about that involvement over the years?  
+
<p>You'd meet both standards. I'd noticed that you were involved in standards. Can you tell me about that involvement over the years? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
That started around 1970, I guess. Since about early 1950, I was a member of the IEEE Power System Relay Committee, and a bunch of other committees.  
+
<p>That started around 1970, I guess. Since about early 1950, I was a member of the IEEE Power System Relay Committee, and a bunch of other committees. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Is that a Standards committee?  
+
<p>Is that a Standards committee? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
No, this is a technical committee under the old AIEE and the now IEEE Power Engineering Society. In 1968 I became a member of the Switchgear Committee — again, a technical committee. Later I was Chairman, actually. The Switchgear Committee does primarily all standard work. Relay didn’t do that much standard work, but did more application work. I was a member of the Switchgear Committee in 1968, I still am a member, but in '71 they asked me to be the chairman of the ANSI C37 Power Switchgear Committee, and I was chairman of that for many years, until I retired. They were responsible for the approval of all the Switchgear standards, whether it's written by IEEE, NEMA or any of the electric light and power groups.  
+
<p>No, this is a technical committee under the old [[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] and the now IEEE Power Engineering Society. In 1968 I became a member of the Switchgear Committee — again, a technical committee. Later I was Chairman, actually. The Switchgear Committee does primarily all standard work. Relay didn’t do that much standard work, but did more application work. I was a member of the Switchgear Committee in 1968, I still am a member, but in '71 they asked me to be the chairman of the ANSI C37 Power Switchgear Committee, and I was chairman of that for many years, until I retired. They were responsible for the approval of all the Switchgear standards, whether it's written by IEEE, NEMA or any of the electric light and power groups. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Isn't that an unusually long time to be the chairman of one of those committees?  
+
<p>Isn't that an unusually long time to be the chairman of one of those committees? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It wasn't that big a job. It was more of a coordinating job. I didn't have to know the details of all these things, because it covered all switchgear equipment; handled fuses, circuit breakers, the whole bit.  
+
<p>It wasn't that big a job. It was more of a coordinating job. I didn't have to know the details of all these things, because it covered all switchgear equipment; handled fuses, circuit breakers, the whole bit. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Weren't there controversies in that period about particular standards?  
+
<p>Weren't there controversies in that period about particular standards? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, see, most of the switchgear standards are generated by the IEEE. It used to be that the IEEE Switchgear Committee would develop one particular standard, and then submit it to the C37 ANSI committee, and in the meantime IEEE would ballot all the way up to the main committee. Then the C37 would take a look at it, and have a C37 subcommittee, which were other experts in this particular field, look at it to make sure that it's all right, and ballot it, and if that was so then it would go to the main C37 committee, which again would ballot it. Here, they were also different people. See, different people were members of these different groups, which was good, because it was like a check and balance. Westinghouse had three different people doing the same thing. One was on IEEE, one was on NEMA, one was on C37. So they had three cracks at it. A lot of companies such as GE had the same thing.  
+
<p>Well, see, most of the switchgear standards are generated by the IEEE. It used to be that the IEEE Switchgear Committee would develop one particular standard, and then submit it to the C37 ANSI committee, and in the meantime IEEE would ballot all the way up to the main committee. Then the C37 would take a look at it, and have a C37 subcommittee, which were other experts in this particular field, look at it to make sure that it's all right, and ballot it, and if that was so then it would go to the main C37 committee, which again would ballot it. Here, they were also different people. See, different people were members of these different groups, which was good, because it was like a check and balance. Westinghouse had three different people doing the same thing. One was on IEEE, one was on NEMA, one was on C37. So they had three cracks at it. A lot of companies such as GE had the same thing. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Was this good in your view?  
+
<p>Was this good in your view? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
We caught things! We caught things way up at the very end that somebody forgot about! Mainly at the top end it was more like the fuse people might find something that the circuit breaker people had not. "Aha! That doesn't seem right, it won't work with our fuse," for example, and things like that. So they would catch things like that. It had checks and balances. The IEEE claims now that they do the same thing: they're representing of all these different things. They are — but in only one area. They have one man say, "We'll do this." But here we had checks and balances.  
+
<p>We caught things! We caught things way up at the very end that somebody forgot about! Mainly at the top end it was more like the fuse people might find something that the circuit breaker people had not. "Aha! That doesn't seem right, it won't work with our fuse," for example, and things like that. So they would catch things like that. It had checks and balances. The IEEE claims now that they do the same thing: they're representing of all these different things. They are — but in only one area. They have one man say, "We'll do this." But here we had checks and balances. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I am very interested to hear you express that view, because just a couple of weeks ago I was talking to an engineer who was bemoaning all of this bureaucracy in standards and saying how much better it was in the early days when it was kind of one company ''de facto'' setting a standard. This was in a completely different technical area, but his view now was that it takes forever to get anything adopted as an official standard.  
+
<p>I am very interested to hear you express that view, because just a couple of weeks ago I was talking to an engineer who was bemoaning all of this bureaucracy in standards and saying how much better it was in the early days when it was kind of one company ''de facto'' setting a standard. This was in a completely different technical area, but his view now was that it takes forever to get anything adopted as an official standard. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
This is where I got involved being the chairman. There was a period that IEEE for example had a cost reduction. They didn't have enough people at headquarters, and so that slowed things down. Gee, we raised heck, and finally they put more people in. Then NEMA would go through a period like this, and they would slow things down. Finally we ended up with parallel balloting. In other words, when one group, say the subcommittee, would ballot, it would go over to C37 ballot. We would have problems with individuals, and they were always fighting, and they're still fighting now, so I'm not involved anymore. But it worked! The actual rules are that a standard can be adopted if 75% of the balloting approves it. Now, you have to look at what the negative ballots are, but if you can't resolve them you can still pass if 75% of the ballots are for approval. Now we never allowed that. In my whole term at C37, there was only one standard that we ever let go without unanimous approval, and it only got one negative ballot. We made darn sure that something wasn't wrong. Now, IEEE tries to do this, but they say, "Well it holds things up." Heck, if it's wrong, hold it up!  
+
<p>This is where I got involved being the chairman. There was a period that IEEE for example had a cost reduction. They didn't have enough people at headquarters, and so that slowed things down. Gee, we raised heck, and finally they put more people in. Then NEMA would go through a period like this, and they would slow things down. Finally we ended up with parallel balloting. In other words, when one group, say the subcommittee, would ballot, it would go over to C37 ballot. We would have problems with individuals, and they were always fighting, and they're still fighting now, so I'm not involved anymore. But it worked! The actual rules are that a standard can be adopted if 75% of the balloting approves it. Now, you have to look at what the negative ballots are, but if you can't resolve them you can still pass if 75% of the ballots are for approval. Now we never allowed that. In my whole term at C37, there was only one standard that we ever let go without unanimous approval, and it only got one negative ballot. We made darn sure that something wasn't wrong. Now, IEEE tries to do this, but they say, "Well it holds things up." Heck, if it's wrong, hold it up! </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I don't know about this branch of technology, but I can imagine cases where it's simply that one company has decided to do it one way, and another company has decided to do it another way.  
+
<p>I don't know about this branch of technology, but I can imagine cases where it's simply that one company has decided to do it one way, and another company has decided to do it another way. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh no, we don't allow that; Switchgear isn't that way. It has to be a sound technical reason, and the people involved are all technical people.  
+
<p>Oh no, we don't allow that; Switchgear isn't that way. It has to be a sound technical reason, and the people involved are all technical people. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Right, but there might be two technically sound solutions or ways of doing one thing.  
+
<p>Right, but there might be two technically sound solutions or ways of doing one thing. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, if they're equal, then we would put them down as equivalent. Then we would thrash it out in these committee meetings, so you didn't let anybody get away with this! I don't think there's been anything like that — well, maybe some, but it wasn't a big problem.  
+
<p>Well, if they're equal, then we would put them down as equivalent. Then we would thrash it out in these committee meetings, so you didn't let anybody get away with this! I don't think there's been anything like that — well, maybe some, but it wasn't a big problem. </p>
  
 
=== IEEE Power Engineering Society  ===
 
=== IEEE Power Engineering Society  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What has been your involvement with IEEE over the years, or the AIEE? I know you've been President of the Power Engineering Society.  
+
<p>What has been your involvement with IEEE over the years, or the AIEE? I know you've been President of the Power Engineering Society. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I've been a member of various committees, but primarily the Relay Committee and the Switchgear Committee. I was Chairman of the Switchgear Committee, and from there I went to be Chairman of what's now called the Technical Council of PES. I was Chairman of that for five years, and then Vice-President of PES and then President of PES. I've never been a Director; I've never wanted to. Usually the chain of command is president and then director, but that job was too political, and I'm a technical man, strictly, so I said, "No, I don't want that." But I stayed on in PES system planning or long range planning for a couple more years.  
+
<p>I've been a member of various committees, but primarily the Relay Committee and the Switchgear Committee. I was Chairman of the Switchgear Committee, and from there I went to be Chairman of what's now called the Technical Council of PES. I was Chairman of that for five years, and then Vice-President of PES and then President of PES. I've never been a Director; I've never wanted to. Usually the chain of command is president and then director, but that job was too political, and I'm a technical man, strictly, so I said, "No, I don't want that." But I stayed on in PES system planning or long range planning for a couple more years. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How was it being Vice-President and President of PES?  
+
<p>How was it being Vice-President and President of PES? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
All right, except for the politics. I call it politics, or the administrative kind of thing, like going to the Technical Activities Board meetings, and listening to the more administrative problems usually that really didn't involve me anyhow. But they're all good people, and I enjoyed working with them and the other people they call the Executive Board now.  
+
<p>All right, except for the politics. I call it politics, or the administrative kind of thing, like going to the Technical Activities Board meetings, and listening to the more administrative problems usually that really didn't involve me anyhow. But they're all good people, and I enjoyed working with them and the other people they call the Executive Board now. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So what was not appealing to you was getting involved in some of these administrative decisions.  
+
<p>So what was not appealing to you was getting involved in some of these administrative decisions. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
When I was President, they said that I should write this message for the monthly newsletter, this President's Message for the ''Power Engineering Review'', and that was terrible. These months, I think, only had five days in them!  
+
<p>When I was President, they said that I should write this message for the monthly newsletter, this President's Message for the ''Power Engineering Review'', and that was terrible. These months, I think, only had five days in them! </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Right, because suddenly you had to write another one!  
+
<p>Right, because suddenly you had to write another one! </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Now they don't do this anymore! After I left, the next guy didn't do it and I don't know why! The orders came from on high that I was supposed to do this, and for two years I wrote twenty four of those doggone things! That was the hardest part of the whole business.  
+
<p>Now they don't do this anymore! After I left, the next guy didn't do it and I don't know why! The orders came from on high that I was supposed to do this, and for two years I wrote twenty four of those doggone things! That was the hardest part of the whole business. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How has the Power Engineering Society been in the many years you've been associated with it? Has it thrived or not or what are your views on that?  
+
<p>How has the Power Engineering Society been in the many years you've been associated with it? Has it thrived or not or what are your views on that? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, it's thrived, except the whole power industry has been severely reduced, and so even before these big reductions now, it didn't grow in the way the Computer Society took off like a big bird. The power industry was more stable. Our membership went up a little bit, you know, but a lot of people complained, "How come the Computer Society got so big?" Well, it’s a more burgeoning thing. Then the cutbacks came and all this. It used to be that the power industry was managed by engineers, and then the legal and financial people came in — I'm not knocking it, but they didn't see the value of the societies as much, so it was harder to get membership.  
+
<p>Well, it's thrived, except the whole power industry has been severely reduced, and so even before these big reductions now, it didn't grow in the way the Computer Society took off like a big bird. The power industry was more stable. Our membership went up a little bit, you know, but a lot of people complained, "How come the Computer Society got so big?" Well, it’s a more burgeoning thing. Then the cutbacks came and all this. It used to be that the power industry was managed by engineers, and then the legal and financial people came in — I'm not knocking it, but they didn't see the value of the societies as much, so it was harder to get membership. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Because the companies wouldn't pay for membership?  
+
<p>Because the companies wouldn't pay for membership? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Either that, or it wouldn't pay for them to come to the meetings, or things like that — it didn't give an engineer any brownie points for becoming a member of the societies. When I was President, we tried to generate interest by writing letters to the CEOs, and I think they still are doing that now.  
+
<p>Either that, or it wouldn't pay for them to come to the meetings, or things like that — it didn't give an engineer any brownie points for becoming a member of the societies. When I was President, we tried to generate interest by writing letters to the CEOs, and I think they still are doing that now. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
That's something you've seen in the last thirty years or so, that utilities are run more by business, legal, and financial people?  
+
<p>That's something you've seen in the last thirty years or so, that utilities are run more by business, legal, and financial people? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I would say in the last twenty to thirty years.  
+
<p>I would say in the last twenty to thirty years. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But when you started in the field it was with engineers running the utilities? How does one explain that change?  
+
<p>But when you started in the field it was with engineers running the utilities? How does one explain that change? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Maybe it's the bottom line kind of thing — more pressure to make money, for the stockholders, I don't know.  
+
<p>Maybe it's the bottom line kind of thing — more pressure to make money, for the stockholders, I don't know. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But you've noticed that.  
+
<p>But you've noticed that. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes, very definitely. That was one of the reasons why my favorite job, the sponsor engineers, was done away with.  
+
<p>Oh yes, very definitely. That was one of the reasons why my favorite job, the sponsor engineers, was done away with. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So the Power Engineering Society hasn't grown the way that some of the others have, but what about the kind of feeling within the Society? Has it been good, has it been activities that the members value?  
+
<p>So the Power Engineering Society hasn't grown the way that some of the others have, but what about the kind of feeling within the Society? Has it been good, has it been activities that the members value? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh, I think so. Certainly the ones who are involved, that are allowed to come to the technical committee meetings, and members of the technical committees. They are active, but not as much as they would like, in the local chapters. None of the societies get the membership out as much as they'd like. Pittsburgh has, let me just pick a rough number, 500 members, and yet they may only get thirty or forty out for a meeting. There are a lot more engineers who aren’t even members, so there are those people who say, "Well, what do I get for it?" There's a lot more pension worries now with the whole IEEE than there used to be. That used to be secondary. I never even knew what they were when I was a member; my interests were strictly technical. But now members are more interested in portability of pension and I'm not knocking it! It's very important to these young fellows. I was lucky: I never had to worry about a job or anything like that. I was appreciated, I felt, but I can see some of the cutbacks that are going on now, and it's a darn shame. I can see why they would be worried about things like this.  
+
<p>Oh, I think so. Certainly the ones who are involved, that are allowed to come to the technical committee meetings, and members of the technical committees. They are active, but not as much as they would like, in the local chapters. None of the societies get the membership out as much as they'd like. Pittsburgh has, let me just pick a rough number, 500 members, and yet they may only get thirty or forty out for a meeting. There are a lot more engineers who aren’t even members, so there are those people who say, "Well, what do I get for it?" There's a lot more pension worries now with the whole IEEE than there used to be. That used to be secondary. I never even knew what they were when I was a member; my interests were strictly technical. But now members are more interested in portability of pension and I'm not knocking it! It's very important to these young fellows. I was lucky: I never had to worry about a job or anything like that. I was appreciated, I felt, but I can see some of the cutbacks that are going on now, and it's a darn shame. I can see why they would be worried about things like this. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I noticed that you won the prize paper award of the Power Engineering Society on two occasions, separated by quite a few years. What were those two papers?  
+
<p>I noticed that you won the prize paper award of the Power Engineering Society on two occasions, separated by quite a few years. What were those two papers? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
One of them had to do with insulation, I think, of gas insulated equipment. Let me see if I have it. One was just recent. I've written eighty-five papers. Well, in 1976, I was made a consulting engineer; that was just a title kind of thing. Then I retired in what, '85?  
+
<p>One of them had to do with insulation, I think, of gas insulated equipment. Let me see if I have it. One was just recent. I've written eighty-five papers. Well, in 1976, I was made a consulting engineer; that was just a title kind of thing. Then I retired in what, '85? </p>
  
 
=== Consulting Work  ===
 
=== Consulting Work  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Was that a real change in your job when you were named a consulting engineer?  
+
<p>Was that a real change in your job when you were named a consulting engineer? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
As I remember now, they used to have Transmission Engineering and Distribution Engineering, and I think, marketing. They changed it, they combined them, and they cut back some people. The old manager of Distribution was made Advisor of Engineering, and I was made Consulting Engineer.  
+
<p>As I remember now, they used to have Transmission Engineering and Distribution Engineering, and I think, marketing. They changed it, they combined them, and they cut back some people. The old manager of Distribution was made Advisor of Engineering, and I was made Consulting Engineer. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But was it the same sort of work?  
+
<p>But was it the same sort of work? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes, except that I didn't have people working for me. I was advising.  
+
<p>Yes, except that I didn't have people working for me. I was advising. </p>
  
 
=== Early Digital System Relay Program (1950s)  ===
 
=== Early Digital System Relay Program (1950s)  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
In this period of the 1970s, to your retirement in 1985, were there any things that stand out as noteworthy or special?  
+
<p>In this period of the 1970s, to your retirement in 1985, were there any things that stand out as noteworthy or special? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
 
<p><flashmp3>188_-_wagner_-_clip_1.mp3</flashmp3></p>
 
<p><flashmp3>188_-_wagner_-_clip_1.mp3</flashmp3></p>
  
Back in the early 1950s, I was involved with heading up a group that was writing a digital computer program to set and apply system relays. That was one of the first times that this was attempted. George Rockefeller and myself would supply the logic, or nowadays the system part, and then we had programmers to put it in a machine language and so forth. That was a case where the program worked, but we had trouble selling the thing. First, it cost a lot of money,  
+
<p>Back in the early 1950s, I was involved with heading up a group that was writing a digital computer program to set and apply system relays. That was one of the first times that this was attempted. George Rockefeller and myself would supply the logic, or nowadays the system part, and then we had programmers to put it in a machine language and so forth. That was a case where the program worked, but we had trouble selling the thing. First, it cost a lot of money, </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Can you tell me exactly what this did?  
+
<p>Can you tell me exactly what this did? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
All right, well, a customer would say, "Here's my system: I have a system of transmission lines, generation, and so forth, and I want to relay it." So we would run short circuit studies and then based on certain parameters, the output of the computer program would say, "This type of relay would be good at this point, and it should be set this way so that it coordinates with all the other relays." That was the grand and glorious way; most of the time it would be that they would give us a system with the relays they had, and then we would check and see if the settings were correct or not.  
+
<p>All right, well, a customer would say, "Here's my system: I have a system of transmission lines, generation, and so forth, and I want to relay it." So we would run short circuit studies and then based on certain parameters, the output of the computer program would say, "This type of relay would be good at this point, and it should be set this way so that it coordinates with all the other relays." That was the grand and glorious way; most of the time it would be that they would give us a system with the relays they had, and then we would check and see if the settings were correct or not. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
So it was a systems analysis tool.  
+
<p>So it was a systems analysis tool. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes. In those days and even now a relay engineer would have to look at his system, say two line sections in series and make sure that for all fault conditions, only the calculations, a lot of day work, to make sure the proper relay operates. It's called coordination. This program, we said, would eliminate a lot of that dog work. The relay engineers, however, said, "You're putting me out of a job!" They always say that to computer people. They didn't buy a thing with it. We would try to tell them, "No, you have to put the logic in it to see which relays you want to use, and this is just going to take the dog work out of it," but it never sold. Now, there's a whole bunch of similar programs available!  
+
<p>Yes. In those days and even now a relay engineer would have to look at his system, say two line sections in series and make sure that for all fault conditions, only the calculations, a lot of day work, to make sure the proper relay operates. It's called coordination. This program, we said, would eliminate a lot of that dog work. The relay engineers, however, said, "You're putting me out of a job!" They always say that to computer people. They didn't buy a thing with it. We would try to tell them, "No, you have to put the logic in it to see which relays you want to use, and this is just going to take the dog work out of it," but it never sold. Now, there's a whole bunch of similar programs available! </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I see. But the one you did was in the early 1950s? That's very early. What kind of a computer was it?  
+
<p>I see. But the one you did was in the early 1950s? That's very early. What kind of a computer was it? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It was one of the old IBM ones, one of the big mainframes.  
+
<p>It was one of the old IBM ones, one of the big mainframes. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I've forgotten those names, but Univac came out in '51 and IBM soon thereafter with these mainframes. So, that's interesting.  
+
<p>I've forgotten those names, but Univac came out in '51 and IBM soon thereafter with these mainframes. So, that's interesting. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
There's still this same program — it's been modified over the years, but it's still available. In fact, Westinghouse, ABB, or whoever owned it then, just sold it to a firm up in Michigan someplace, but that was an interesting job, too.  
+
<p>There's still this same program — it's been modified over the years, but it's still available. In fact, Westinghouse, ABB, or whoever owned it then, just sold it to a firm up in Michigan someplace, but that was an interesting job, too. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
With the greater connectedness of power networks, I can imagine that there's much greater need for such tools. Is that right?  
+
<p>With the greater connectedness of power networks, I can imagine that there's much greater need for such tools. Is that right? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Actually, for this type of program, I think it is more necessary for industrial systems or distribution systems. The big interconnections use more pilot relaying. You don't use coordination, one over the other — you have a chunk, like one transmission line, with so-called pilot protection, and it just operates for faults in that line section. It's not that big a deal to apply and set them. The program was used a lot in industrial systems.  
+
<p>Actually, for this type of program, I think it is more necessary for industrial systems or distribution systems. The big interconnections use more pilot relaying. You don't use coordination, one over the other — you have a chunk, like one transmission line, with so-called pilot protection, and it just operates for faults in that line section. It's not that big a deal to apply and set them. The program was used a lot in industrial systems. </p>
  
 
=== Trends in High Voltage Engineering  ===
 
=== Trends in High Voltage Engineering  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Then in the 1970s and 1980s, what things you were involved with?  
+
<p>Then in the 1970s and 1980s, what things you were involved with? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
A lot of it I guess was IEEE, and just the general type of work.  
+
<p>A lot of it I guess was IEEE, and just the general type of work. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
There weren't major equipment changes that you recall from that period?  
+
<p>There weren't major equipment changes that you recall from that period? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
No, just different types of breakers.  
+
<p>No, just different types of breakers. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Was there a continuing trend in those years to higher voltage and higher capacity generation?  
+
<p>Was there a continuing trend in those years to higher voltage and higher capacity generation? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, we did make studies, and I forget the date, of going to 1,000 or 1100 kV. We made studies I was involved with — Westinghouse had an EPRI contract to develop a 1000 kV circuit breaker. It was never built, and no one in this country has put in 1,000kV. I think they have it in Russia, and I think they have some in Italy, but we never saw a need for it in this country.  
+
<p>Well, we did make studies, and I forget the date, of going to 1,000 or 1100 kV. We made studies I was involved with — Westinghouse had an EPRI contract to develop a 1000 kV circuit breaker. It was never built, and no one in this country has put in 1,000kV. I think they have it in Russia, and I think they have some in Italy, but we never saw a need for it in this country. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But you were involved in a study, of the circuit breaker?  
+
<p>But you were involved in a study, of the circuit breaker? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Again, it was not as extensive a study as the 500 kV, but similar — you know, what kind of insulation we should use, that kind of stuff. This was strictly internal for Westinghouse — we didn't work with anybody, and didn't develop any equipment.  
+
<p>Again, it was not as extensive a study as the 500 kV, but similar — you know, what kind of insulation we should use, that kind of stuff. This was strictly internal for Westinghouse — we didn't work with anybody, and didn't develop any equipment. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
If one were to look at electrical insulation in this application over your career, in the 1950s you were able to better calculate what was required in certain situations. Were there new insulating materials that came in, or were there other advances in that aspect of it that you can think of?  
+
<p>If one were to look at electrical insulation in this application over your career, in the 1950s you were able to better calculate what was required in certain situations. Were there new insulating materials that came in, or were there other advances in that aspect of it that you can think of? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Instead of using porcelain for bushings in some circuit breakers we use a composite. Westinghouse had some — I don't know when it was, but the early 1970s maybe. I don't know if it was more expensive, but now we're using it. The circuit breaker people are now using it especially for the bigger, longer bushings, say for the 500kV, using composite bushings.  
+
<p>Instead of using porcelain for bushings in some circuit breakers we use a composite. Westinghouse had some — I don't know when it was, but the early 1970s maybe. I don't know if it was more expensive, but now we're using it. The circuit breaker people are now using it especially for the bigger, longer bushings, say for the 500kV, using composite bushings. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But for lower voltage systems, there haven't been major changes in insulation?  
+
<p>But for lower voltage systems, there haven't been major changes in insulation? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I don't know; personally I'm not that familiar with that.  
+
<p>I don't know; personally I'm not that familiar with that. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
I'm just interested myself in cases where the technology seems to be mature and doesn't change very much.  
+
<p>I'm just interested myself in cases where the technology seems to be mature and doesn't change very much. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, I'll beg off on this then; I'm not that knowledgeable on that.  
+
<p>Well, I'll beg off on this then; I'm not that knowledgeable on that. </p>
  
 
=== IEEE Visit to China  ===
 
=== IEEE Visit to China  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Are there other things that you'd like to mention, that you've been involved with? You've received quite a few awards from the IEEE and other groups.  
+
<p>Are there other things that you'd like to mention, that you've been involved with? You've received quite a few awards from the IEEE and other groups. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
One of my most interesting things for IEEE was being Vice-Director of the first IEEE visit to China. Jack Barkla was the head of it, and I was second in command.  
+
<p>One of my most interesting things for IEEE was being Vice-Director of the first IEEE visit to China. Jack Barkla was the head of it, and I was second in command. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
What year was that?  
+
<p>What year was that? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I knew you'd ask that. I know, it was the year my wife died, 1978. That was real interesting, because that was right after Nixon first went in there.  
+
<p>I knew you'd ask that. I know, it was the year my wife died, 1978. That was real interesting, because that was right after Nixon first went in there. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
It was the ping-pong diplomacy shortly before that.  
+
<p>It was the ping-pong diplomacy shortly before that. </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
It was interesting to visit these different places, and we were the first “round eyes” that a lot of the Chinese people had seen. We saw technical parts of power plants, and breaker, and transformer plants, but also then saw the factories, where they made silk from silkworms, and all this sort of stuff, plus porcelain.  
+
<p>It was interesting to visit these different places, and we were the first “round eyes” that a lot of the Chinese people had seen. We saw technical parts of power plants, and breaker, and transformer plants, but also then saw the factories, where they made silk from silkworms, and all this sort of stuff, plus porcelain. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Did you get a chance to look at power engineering?  
+
<p>Did you get a chance to look at power engineering? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Yes.  
+
<p>Yes. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
How did it appear to you?  
+
<p>How did it appear to you? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Well, it certainly wasn't advanced as ours. But I met some of the people, a couple which knew my father; in fact. The Chinese, back before Mao, had sent people over to Westinghouse to work there for a year or two, and this one, Mr. Mong, had become the engineering manager of the generator plant at Shanghai. He was very interesting, and I knew one other guy who had been working in our department, at Central Station Engineering, so that was interesting. We took these Polaroid cameras, and the Chinese had never seen that. We would take a picture and after removing the picture from the camera the people would say they'd want to look, and nothing was there. I remember we would say, "You'll be looking better," and they'd watch. Their eyes would get so big as the picture formed, so that was a lot of fun.  
+
<p>Well, it certainly wasn't advanced as ours. But I met some of the people, a couple which knew my father; in fact. The Chinese, back before Mao, had sent people over to Westinghouse to work there for a year or two, and this one, Mr. Mong, had become the engineering manager of the generator plant at Shanghai. He was very interesting, and I knew one other guy who had been working in our department, at Central Station Engineering, so that was interesting. We took these Polaroid cameras, and the Chinese had never seen that. We would take a picture and after removing the picture from the camera the people would say they'd want to look, and nothing was there. I remember we would say, "You'll be looking better," and they'd watch. Their eyes would get so big as the picture formed, so that was a lot of fun. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Did it succeed in doing what the IEEE hoped it would? Were you trying to make some contacts there?  
+
<p>Did it succeed in doing what the IEEE hoped it would? Were you trying to make some contacts there? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Oh yes. They had a CSEE, Chinese Society of Electrical Engineers, so we made contacts with them. In fact, I went back later, to their fiftieth anniversary. I think this was when I was President of PES. I went back to their fiftieth anniversary of their society, and represented IEEE. I met this guy Li Peng, you know, the guy that's Premier now? He's an electrical engineer. He and I sat together, of course talking through interpreters, so I knew the Premier, and he was a nice guy then. You wouldn't know it now, the way he gets written up in the newspaper. I made a couple of other trips with Westinghouse to put on seminars, to help educate them, plus hopefully have joint ventures with them — I don't know what the status of it is.  
+
<p>Oh yes. They had a CSEE, Chinese Society of Electrical Engineers, so we made contacts with them. In fact, I went back later, to their fiftieth anniversary. I think this was when I was President of PES. I went back to their fiftieth anniversary of their society, and represented IEEE. I met this guy Li Peng, you know, the guy that's Premier now? He's an electrical engineer. He and I sat together, of course talking through interpreters, so I knew the Premier, and he was a nice guy then. You wouldn't know it now, the way he gets written up in the newspaper. I made a couple of other trips with Westinghouse to put on seminars, to help educate them, plus hopefully have joint ventures with them — I don't know what the status of it is. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Did that come about?  
+
<p>Did that come about? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I know we had a generation group — they sent ten to twenty engineers who worked with our generating plants, our turbine and generation divisions, and I know that went through. I don't know any other stuff; I wasn't involved that much in it.  
+
<p>I know we had a generation group — they sent ten to twenty engineers who worked with our generating plants, our turbine and generation divisions, and I know that went through. I don't know any other stuff; I wasn't involved that much in it. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
Would that happen often rather than Westinghouse just selling a system to some country, a joint venture?  
+
<p>Would that happen often rather than Westinghouse just selling a system to some country, a joint venture? </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
Again, I'm not that familiar with marketing. It seems to me that you had to have some kind of joint venture. I'm not sure of this now.  
+
<p>Again, I'm not that familiar with marketing. It seems to me that you had to have some kind of joint venture. I'm not sure of this now. </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
But certainly there are a lot of countries trying to develop their own engineering  
+
<p>But certainly there are a lot of countries trying to develop their own engineering </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''  
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
I think that was primarily what they wanted. If not, they would buy one piece of equipment and copy it. But that was a lot of fun too.  
+
<p>I think that was primarily what they wanted. If not, they would buy one piece of equipment and copy it. But that was a lot of fun too. </p>
  
 
=== Outstanding Colleagues  ===
 
=== Outstanding Colleagues  ===
  
'''Nebeker:'''  
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
 +
 
 +
<p>What outstanding engineers have you come across in your career? </p>
  
What outstanding engineers have you come across in your career?
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''
+
<p>Millions! </p>
  
Millions!
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''
+
<p>Are there one or two that sort of stand out? </p>
  
Are there one or two that sort of stand out?
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''
+
<p>Well, you mentioned [[Oral-History:Edwin Harder|Ed Harder]]; [[Oral-History:Lee Kilgore|Lee Kilgore]]; of course you will excuse my pride, but [[Charles F. Wagner|my father]]. </p>
  
Well, you mentioned Ed Harder; [[Lee Kilgore Oral History|Lee Kilgore]]; of course you will excuse my pride, but my father.
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''
+
<p>How did you come across Lee Kilgore? </p>
  
How did you come across Lee Kilgore?
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''
+
<p>At Westinghouse. </p>
  
At Westinghouse.
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''
+
<p>In working with him? </p>
  
In working with him?
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''
+
<p>Yes, working with him. Oh, there's so many: John Butchulor, Bob Lawrence. I asked Bob what this interview was all about, and he said he's already gone through this. In fact, he was my boss for this T&amp;D systems group. I could list the old Central Station engineers; all of those first sponsor engineers. A.C. Montieth </p>
  
Yes, working with him. Oh, there's so many: John Butchulor, Bob Lawrence. I asked Bob what this interview was all about, and he said he's already gone through this. In fact, he was my boss for this T&amp;D systems group. I could list the old Central Station engineers; all of those first sponsor engineers. A.C. Montieth
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''
+
<p>Yes, Ed Harder talked a lot about Montieth. </p>
  
Yes, Ed Harder talked a lot about Montieth.
+
<p>'''Wagner:''' </p>
  
'''Wagner:'''
+
<p>Well, there's so many — C.M. Lafoon, Gene Whitney, many of the circuit breaker engineers — so many that I would hate to single any one or two out. Not only Westinghouse people, but I know a lot of good people at GE and the utilities. </p>
  
Well, there's so many — C.M. Lafoon, Gene Whitney, many of the circuit breaker engineers — so many that I would hate to single any one or two out. Not only Westinghouse people, but I know a lot of good people at GE and the utilities.
+
<p>'''Nebeker:''' </p>
  
'''Nebeker:'''
+
<p>Well, I thank you very much. </p>
  
Well, I thank you very much.
+
<p></p>
  
[[Category:People_and_organizations]] [[Category:Engineers]] [[Category:Inventors]] [[Category:Corporations]] [[Category:Business,_management_&_industry|Category:Business,_management_&amp;_industry]] [[Category:Business]] [[Category:Customer_relationship_management]] [[Category:Research_and_development_management]] [[Category:International_trade]] [[Category:International_collaboration]] [[Category:Power_industry]] [[Category:Power,_energy_&_industry_application|Category:Power,_energy_&amp;_industry_application]] [[Category:High-voltage_techniques]] [[Category:Power_transmission]] [[Category:Power_generation]] [[Category:Power_distribution]] [[Category:Power_generation_planning]] [[Category:Components,_circuits,_devices_&_systems|Category:Components,_circuits,_devices_&amp;_systems]] [[Category:Circuit_types]] [[Category:Analog_circuits]] [[Category:Computers_and_information_processing]] [[Category:Analog_computers]] [[Category:Standardization]] [[Category:Standards_organizations]] [[Category:IEEE]] [[Category:Governance]] [[Category:Boards]] [[Category:Staff]] [[Category:Historical_activities]] [[Category:History_&_heritage|Category:History_&amp;_heritage]] [[Category:Technical_units]] [[Category:Societies]] [[Category:News]]
+
[[Category:People and organizations|Wagner]] [[Category:Engineers|Wagner]] [[Category:Inventors|Wagner]] [[Category:Corporations|Wagner]] [[Category:Business, management & industry|Wagner]] [[Category:Business|Wagner]] [[Category:Customer relationship management|Wagner]] [[Category:Research and development management|Wagner]] [[Category:International trade|Wagner]] [[Category:International collaboration|Wagner]] [[Category:Power industry|Wagner]] [[Category:Power, energy & industry application|Wagner]] [[Category:High-voltage techniques|Wagner]] [[Category:Power transmission|Wagner]] [[Category:Power generation|Wagner]] [[Category:Power distribution|Wagner]] [[Category:Power generation planning|Wagner]] [[Category:Components, circuits, devices & systems|Wagner]] [[Category:Circuit types|Wagner]] [[Category:Analog circuits|Wagner]] [[Category:Computers and information processing|Wagner]] [[Category:Analog computers|Wagner]] [[Category:Standardization|Wagner]] [[Category:Standards organizations|Wagner]] [[Category:IEEE|Wagner]] [[Category:Governance|Wagner]] [[Category:Boards|Wagner]] [[Category:Staff|Wagner]] [[Category:Historical activities|Wagner]] [[Category:History & heritage|Wagner]] [[Category:Technical units|Wagner]] [[Category:Societies|Wagner]] [[Category:News|Wagner]]

Revision as of 18:28, 26 March 2012

Contents

About Charles L. Wagner

Charles L. Wagner was born 23 November, 1925 in Pittsburgh. He studied at Carnegie-Mellon in the early 1940s before completing his EE degree in 1945. He later earned an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent most of his career at Westinghouse, where he worked on high voltage electric equipment and computers for automation and design applications. Wagner traveled extensively, both as a Westinghouse engineer and a representative of the IEEE and other service organizations.

The interview focuses on Wagner's career from the 1950s to the 1970s. He relates a number of anecdotes about high voltage power engineering, the changes in utilities' dealings with Westinghouse engineers, and technology transfer between the United States and foreign nations.

About the Interview

Charles L. Wagner: An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, February 3, 1994

Interview # 188 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Charles L. Wagner, an oral history conducted in 1994 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: Charles L. Wagner

Interviewer: Frederik Nebeker

Date: February 3, 1994

Place: New York, NY

Background, Education and World War II

Nebeker:

This is the third of February, 1994. I'm talking with Charles Wagner at the Power Engineering Society's meeting in New York. This is Rik Nebeker. Where did you grow up?

Wagner:

In Pittsburgh.

Nebeker:

In Pittsburgh. I saw you went to Bucknell?

Wagner:

Yes. I started out at Carnegie-Mellon, and then the Navy got me and sent me to Bucknell, so I graduated from Bucknell in '45. I took my master's at the University of Pittsburgh.

Nebeker:

So you started college during World War II, and then you got drafted?

Wagner:

I enlisted in the Navy. They had this so-called V12 program, and I was in that.

Nebeker:

Yes, I've heard of that. Were you interested in engineering from an early age? Was it clear that that was what you were going into?

Wagner:

Oh yes. In fact, the reason is that my father was Charles F. Wagner. You've probably heard of him. I really got interested by listening to him and everything. He used to take high speed movie film of lightning, from my bedroom, when I was a little boy. My bedroom happened to be the only room in the house that had a clear shot of the sky. Every time that a storm came up, he would dash in and put his camera up at the window, and of course this woke me up, so I got interested in that too. So I followed his type of work, and was interested in it.

Nebeker:

And what were you doing in the Navy? What were you assigned to?

Wagner:

After I got my degree I went to the Gunnery Officers Ordinance School, but the war was over by this time. It had just been over, and I spent I guess nine months as a gunnery officer.

Nebeker:

You enlisted for a few years?

Wagner:

Well, we had to, yes. Back in World War II, it really wasn't for a period; it was for the duration of the war. They discharged you based on the amount of service — we called it points, the number of points you had. Sea duty got so many, and so forth. By the time my points came up, that's when I got out.

Work on Anacom

Nebeker:

I see, and at that point you had your bachelor's in EE. Did you then get a master's degree?

Wagner:

No, I then went to work for Westinghouse. They offered me a job while I was still in the Navy. Of course, this was back when they were looking for people right after the war. That was in '46.

Nebeker:

I see. Was that the kind of power engineering you were interested in?

Wagner:

Actually, I wanted to do just like my father, and he happened to be the manager of Central Station Engineering. Well, I couldn't go there then, you know, with my father there, so I went into the engineering labs and then after my father retired, I moved into his old department. But while I was in the labs, I helped develop the first general purpose analog computer — we call it the Westinghouse Anacom.

Nebeker:

Oh yes, we have talked with Edwin Harder about that.

Wagner:

I worked for Ed. He wasn't exactly my boss, because he was still in Central Station Engineering. But he was responsible for the development under the engineering labs department, so in effect I was working for him, helping him develop the thing.

Nebeker:

And that was your first assignment?

Wagner:

Yes. After my father retired, the new manager knew that I wanted to get into his department, and he knew I had been working with on same kind of problems, but on the computer. So then he offered me a job in Central Station.

Nebeker:

I see. And when was that?

Wagner:

1950.

Nebeker:

So you worked for four years on the Anacom?

Wagner:

Yes. Actually the first few months or I was on the General Westinghouse Graduate Student program, in which you visited various people and divisions in the company; a form of orientation program. I guess that was for about three or four months.

Nebeker:

How was working with Edwin Harder?

Wagner:

Great! There were two people involved with the Anacom at that time — Gordon McCann was one of the first ones on this analog computer, and then Ed took it over when McCann moved out to California. McCann and Harder were just two entirely different people. They were both good — excellent. McCann would get these flashes of what was the right answer, or what should be done, and most of the time he was right; but sometimes he wasn't. Ed was just the opposite: he would start back from the very beginning, “E=IR,” and develop the answer. He was almost always right. They were entirely different, and I learned from both of them. Primarily, I learned more from Ed's method.

Nebeker:

I don't remember the story of the Anacom well enough. Was it in the development stage at that point, or was it being used?

Wagner:

It was in the development stage. It was a real small device when I first started working on it. In fact, it was an adjunct of the AC Board, the AC network calculator. They had a synchronous switch that would generate the transients using the elements primarily of the AC board, and then they made some special elements for mechanical transacts, just a small number of them. When I came aboard with several other people, they were going to make it into a big device, similar in size to the network calculator. That's where I helped the development of that.

Nebeker:

And did you like that work?

Wagner:

Oh yes! I liked more working problems on it, of course, rather than designing parts for it.

Nebeker:

I guess in those years, a lot of people thought that the analog computer was the thing of the future. There was a lot of development on analog computers.... when you changed positions in 1950, what did you go to?

Work as Sponsor Engineer

Wagner:

Westinghouse at that time had job positions called sponsor engineers, and there were eight of us assigned to eight geographical areas of the country. We would go out and help the utilities solve their particular problems. We'd go out roughly one week a month, come back and work on the problems, and then send results back to them.

Nebeker:

Were these problems with Westinghouse equipment?

Wagner:

Any power systems problems.

Nebeker:

It could just be general assistance with problems on the prospect that you'd sell Westinghouse equipment.

Wagner:

In those days, the utilities would give credit for the help manufacturers gave them. After a while all purchases were based only on price and delivery, and a little bit after that they did away with this job. When they did that, we (the sponsor engineers) more or less worked with the actual manufacturing divisions and helped them in their planning of equipment. Knowing the systems, we would help them decide what the new equipment should be. If they had any failures in the field we would also help them solve them.

Nebeker:

So you were in a sense a field worker, keeping in touch with how it was going.

Wagner:

We were more or less the interface between the customers, the power systems themselves and the equipment manufacturers.

Nebeker:

What part of the country did you represent?

Wagner:

I started in the Southeast, which was south of Virginia and East of the Mississippi, and I was there for four years. From there I went to the so-called Mid-Atlantic, which was primarily Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, that area.

Nebeker:

This involved a lot of traveling, I imagine?

Wagner:

About one week a month.

Nebeker:

Did you like this work?

Wagner:

Oh yes, it was the best job in the world.

Nebeker:

It was trouble-shooting?

Wagner:

Yes, and you had different problems practically every day. You got to meet people, and you got to help people. It was really nice. I was disappointed when they did away with that job.

Nebeker:

And so you were four years representing the Southeast and then how long with the Mid Atlantic?

Wagner:

The dates get away from me...I think I have something listing that...

Nebeker:

One listing says you were a sponsor engineer from 1950 to 1967.

Wagner:

Yes... '50 to '54 in the Southeast, and '54 to '65 or '67 in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Nebeker:

That was quite a while then that you were doing that. Can you give me an idea of the types of problems that would come up? The kinds of advice that you'd give?

Wagner:

If they thought they had a circuit breaker that was or was not adequate for the installation, I would help them decide whether it was big enough. I made fault calculations for them. They might have had a failure on their system, and we might have had to make a computer study, a transients study to show what transients were involved, to see what was the cause of the failure. I remember one of my first ones, a transformer failure, and the customer thought it was due to a defective transformer. They sent me out, and I had just come from analog computers, so I made a study of their particular application. In those days, instead of using lightning arrestors to protect the transformers, they used rod gaps. From my study, I showed that they could have got a lightning stroke in there of short enough front (high rate-of-visa) that the rod gap would not protect the transformer. So it turned out that we split the cost of the repair. They said, "Well, it's probably not what happened, but it's possible, and we might be at fault," so they split the cost with us. Things like that. Mainly it was application, but sometimes it was unselling Westinghouse equipment. I remember one time our salesman almost killed me. I showed the customer how he could eliminate one of the breakers by using a different type of relay. After the meeting, he said "I already had the order for those two breakers! Now you took one away!" But again, the customer appreciated it enough that they gave us additional business.

Nebeker:

This was the 1950s and early 1960s. That was a period of rapid growth for the utilities. I assume Westinghouse was selling a lot of equipment, and all of these utilities were increasing their generating capacity. I remember reading that right after the war, in the 1940s anyway, excess capacity was very low in some places. Do you remember problems relating to that?

Wagner:

I don't specifically remember any brownouts or anything like that.

Nebeker:

But a lot of your work would be advising them when they needed more capacity and how to do it?

1962 VEPCO 500kV Project

Wagner:

A little bit of that, but once they decided they needed more, I would help them in how to do it: what kind of transmission lines, and so forth. Another project I was involved in was the 1962 VEPCO 500kV Project when Virginia Electric decided with Westinghouse to develop the first 500 kV system. And since at the time I was the sponsor engineer for Virginia, I worked with them initially, and then they made me Project Manager for Westinghouse. I was to coordinate all the engineering studies responsible for the design of those lines and equipment. So I was more or less the project manager from Westinghouse — there was an additional one for VEPCO and one for Stone Webster. So that was a first.

Nebeker:

What was Stone Webster?

Wagner:

They were the contractors and they made the mechanical design for the transmission towers and the substations. They also designed and constructed the generating stations. I headed a team to make the engineering studies with VEPCO, and a little bit with Stone Webster. And I worked with our manufacturing divisions in their equipment design, since no 500 kV equipment had been built in those days.

Nebeker:

Is that right? That was the first?

Wagner:

That was the first. The VEPCO Project was probably my most interesting experience.

Nebeker:

How did that all go?

Wagner:

There are arguments between VEPCO and TVA, as to who had the first. They went into service at about the same time, we were the first ones to build it.

Nebeker:

Who was doing the TVA one?

Wagner:

They did it themselves.

Nebeker:

I see.

Wagner:

What was interesting was that this was a truly joint project. We had some problems at first; first equipment always would have problems, but VEPCO didn't blame us and say we had made a lousy design. We were both interested in finding out what the problem was and how to fix it, and it was a very close working relationship, very soundly engineered, based on VEPCO’S. They design philosophy wanted no more fat in the thing than necessary. We had some of the lowest 500kV equipment insulation levels, for example. Subsequently, they’ve been raised, because other people wanted more margins in their equipment. But engineering, it was a sound engineering job; there was no fat in the thing.

Nebeker:

Yes, I have also heard as a generalization of the post-war period that as the calculating skills improved one could lower those margins of safety.

Wagner:

And equipment. Lightning arrestors got better.

Nebeker:

Were you responsible for system design?

Wagner:

I headed up the team. Again from the Central Station Engineering Department, the other sponsor engineers and some of the other groups would do different parts of it. Harder would do lightning line design and so forth. I did some of the work, but primarily I headed up the team of engineers from Westinghouse.

Nebeker:

I see. And what exactly did Westinghouse deliver on this?

Wagner:

All of the equipment. Transformers, breakers, disconnect switches, even relays. The VEPCO relay engineers had always used with General Electric relays, and they didn't like this business of having to take our relays, but that was part of the contract. We would supply the engineering specifications, and then they would buy the equipment. We gave them good prices on it, of course.

Nebeker:

A lot of this equipment was especially designed?

Wagner:

Well, it was a first design.

Nebeker:

I mean all the relays and so on had to be brand new?

Wagner:

Well some of the relays were special too but mostly they were standard. All the 500 equipment had never been built before.

Nebeker:

Were there major problems that stand out in your mind as you look back on it? Can you tell me about them?

Wagner:

Oh yes! Like the breakers, for example, the first breakers failed up in Mt. Storm, which is up in the West Virginia mountains. We had cold weather, and we had two or three failures. It took a while, jointly investigating. It had to do with SF6 breakers. The problem was called cryogenic pumping. Moisture got up into the head and then condensed and trickled down. This caused a flashover. Well, we'd never run into that before; no one had.

Nebeker:

And that was the size of the transformer?

Wagner:

It was the type. It was a new type of our first so-called live tank breaker, where the interrupter is way up in the air, at line potential, and then separated from ground by a big porcelain. All the other ones had been so-called dead tank breakers, in which everything was down on the ground. You used high pressure gas up in the head, so it was a new type of design that hadn't been run into.

Nebeker:

So you expected unforeseen circumstances.

Wagner:

Oh yes. The transformers also failed, but again, working together, the cause and solutions were found. But by this time other people were ordering equipment and starting up their own 500. Two of the guys from Muncie, which was our transformer division and I, would go around to these different customers, telling them what happened. Jack Oliver, who was Marketing Manager, would start our discussion and say "I'm here to tell you we blew it, we made a mistake on this,” and we would go on from there." We were very forthright, we at Westinghouse. It seemed to me that every time we would go around and have another failure and talk about this, we would get another order. It just hurts me the way things are now. I don't mean to digress, but everything now is so price and delivery, bottom-line stuff. There's no jointly working between manufacturers and users, and it's not decisions by engineering anymore. It's more purchasing now.

Nebeker:

So nowadays if they have a failure, they sue you rather than call.

Wagner:

That's right, and they don't give you any advantage for any help you give them.

Nebeker:

"We'll give you the job if you give us the low price."

Wagner:

It's unfortunate.

Nebeker:

What years were you working on that system?

Wagner:

It's roughly '62 to '65, something like that. I'm not sure of the exact dates. It was before '67.

Nebeker:

That was a success and Westinghouse sold a lot more of that equipment?

Wagner:

Yes, I think we were the leaders in 500 kV equipment at that time.

Advances in Transmission Systems

Nebeker:

What did you do when you stopped being a sponsor engineer?

Wagner:

Well, for a while, we worked directly with the divisions. In 1967, I forget why, they did away with this. First it was Central Station Engineering, then it was Electric Utility Engineering — they changed the name — and then in 1967 they split up the department into four new groups. Those new departments would handle generation, transmission, distribution and planning. I was put into the transmission group and was made manager of the Control and Protection Group of this Transmission System Engineering.

Nebeker:

Can you explain the technological advances in that branch of engineering in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s? What were the main advances?

Wagner:

I guess it was going to the higher voltages, dealing with 500 and 800kV, in that area. In development, breaker designs went from the oil breakers, into the SF6. The SF6 had been used earlier; I think it first started in 1950, but it really came into its own primarily just before we went to 500kV. The SF6 came into being somewhere in the late 1950s, early 1960s and that was a big change. In those days there were the so-called two pressure designs, which used a reservoir of say 200 lb. gas. They blew that into a lower-pressured gas volume to extinguish the arc. This design meant that you had to have compressors that could pump up to 200 lbs. Compressors, as you know, like refrigerators and so forth, were notorious for failing. We had more failure there than in the rest of the equipment. Then we went to the so-called puffer breaker, which actually by its movement generated a high-pressure gas to blow the arc out. That was another big development. Now, practically every breaker, at least high-voltage breakers, are the SF6 puffer types.

Nebeker:

And that was a Westinghouse development?

Wagner:

GE at the time had high-pressure air, whereas we had this two pressure SF6, and they used 2,000 lb. air. Those are big compressors. I hate to say. Westinghouse was one of the pioneers in SF6 for circuit breakers. I don't like to make any total claims, because somebody might say, "Oh, no no, we did it."

Nebeker:

In this country it was Westinghouse and GE and I guess Allis Chalmers was in some of this earlier, but what about European manufacturers? Was there much looking at European developments, do you think?

Wagner:

Most of us, like Westinghouse, had joint working arrangements, for example, with Siemens. In the 1950s, for example, I know that I worked with some. We also worked with Mitsubishi on joint patent kind of investigations and so forth. I'm not that familiar with GE's practices.

International Contacts & Comparisons

Nebeker:

Is it your impression that the Europeans or the Japanese were advanced in some of those areas?

Wagner:

Back in those days, and maybe it's my pride, but I think it was more our giving them help. Certainly, after the war, Germany had nothing. My dad went over there to help them rebuild, and he was one of the liaisons Westinghouse had with Siemens. I remember working with one of the Siemens people, who later turned out to be heading up their Circuit Breaker Department, but he came and worked in Trafford, where our circuit breakers were manufactured. I think the SF6 technology, which Siemens now has, came from Westinghouse originally. I don't want people to think that I'm bragging for Westinghouse or anything. I may be wrong, too.

Nebeker:

No, you're being awfully cautious. Well, I'm just wondering. We're always trying to take an international perspective, and I know Swedish power engineering has been very advanced. I'm just wondering if, in your career, you saw that sort of transfer of technology to this country from European companies.

Wagner:

To the effect that we always worked with the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission. CIGRE in their various technical committees always in some force. We always had some representatives, not just from Westinghouse but also from other manufacturers and users, so we would get their inputs in that regard. As far as the specific technologies, it probably was transferred to and from individual companies such as I mentioned previously between Westinghouse and Siemens.

Nebeker:

I thought with the DC.

Wagner:

Well, Westinghouse was never in the DC business. That's one area where the Swedes were top-notch, and I think GE got a lot of their stuff from them. But Westinghouse was never in DC, so we didn't get any technology from there! We tried a couple of times, but we never got any jobs or anything.

Nebeker:

I gather from what you've said that you were happy with Westinghouse.

Wagner:

Yes. They used to be a very good company, until they sold everything but power generation. It was an excellent company. I don't like the stock now. We had some unfortunate financial problems with the credit corp., etc. that we are still suffering from, but that's neither here nor there.

Nebeker:

So to follow your career again: you became head of this group...

Wagner:

It was called Manager of Control and Protection, under then Transmission Systems Engineering.

Nebeker:

I see. What period was this?

Wagner:

That was from July '67 until the end of '71. It was then made Transmission and manager of Distribution Systems. It had been only transmission, and then they combined distribution. Then I was made Manager of the Transmission Systems part, and another man was the Distribution Systems, all under the manager of T&D Systems.

Nebeker:

What sort of work was that? Was it development work?

Wagner:

No, it was the same thing as before. We would work with the manufacturing divisions, to help them in planning; we would go out and call on customers with them; to try to sell them from an engineering standpoint. It was essentially similar to sponsor engineering except that they split us in the three areas. As a sponsor engineer I used to have generation, transmission, and distribution the whole bit, and now it was only the transmission area.

Nebeker:

You would go call on places in this country and overseas as well?

Wagner:

Yes.

Nebeker:

Was Westinghouse selling a lot overseas?

Wagner:

Oh yes. Well, it was enough! I made too many trips.

Nebeker:

Were there special problems outside of this country that you encountered in your work?

Wagner:

Probably the same kind of problems we had over here. In addition to committee work, whether for IEEE or Standards, my overseas trips were more sales oriented. I would go with different people from the divisions, and I would make presentations, telling what systems engineering kind of capability Westinghouse had and what we could offer them, so that they would buy the equipment and so forth.

Nebeker:

How international is power engineering? Is it possible for Europeans to buy some of their equipment from Westinghouse, and the rest from Siemens? Are there real compatibility problems?

Wagner:

Well, in most cases there are. We get into trade barriers. Westinghouse could never sell anything in France.

Nebeker:

Is that because of formal barriers?

Wagner:

They just wouldn't do it. The government said no way. There were all government utilities. But as far as compatibility, yes. IEC standards are different in some respects than ANSI standards, but if they would go by IEC standards, we would build equipment for them.

Nebeker:

So you would build it specifically for them.

Wagner:

Specifically to fit their tests. But most of the time we would try to take the worst kind of tests between IEC and ANSI and build equipment, and therefore it would be universally available. Applicable.

IEEE Work on System Relay Standards

Nebeker:

You'd meet both standards. I'd noticed that you were involved in standards. Can you tell me about that involvement over the years?

Wagner:

That started around 1970, I guess. Since about early 1950, I was a member of the IEEE Power System Relay Committee, and a bunch of other committees.

Nebeker:

Is that a Standards committee?

Wagner:

No, this is a technical committee under the old AIEE and the now IEEE Power Engineering Society. In 1968 I became a member of the Switchgear Committee — again, a technical committee. Later I was Chairman, actually. The Switchgear Committee does primarily all standard work. Relay didn’t do that much standard work, but did more application work. I was a member of the Switchgear Committee in 1968, I still am a member, but in '71 they asked me to be the chairman of the ANSI C37 Power Switchgear Committee, and I was chairman of that for many years, until I retired. They were responsible for the approval of all the Switchgear standards, whether it's written by IEEE, NEMA or any of the electric light and power groups.

Nebeker:

Isn't that an unusually long time to be the chairman of one of those committees?

Wagner:

It wasn't that big a job. It was more of a coordinating job. I didn't have to know the details of all these things, because it covered all switchgear equipment; handled fuses, circuit breakers, the whole bit.

Nebeker:

Weren't there controversies in that period about particular standards?

Wagner:

Well, see, most of the switchgear standards are generated by the IEEE. It used to be that the IEEE Switchgear Committee would develop one particular standard, and then submit it to the C37 ANSI committee, and in the meantime IEEE would ballot all the way up to the main committee. Then the C37 would take a look at it, and have a C37 subcommittee, which were other experts in this particular field, look at it to make sure that it's all right, and ballot it, and if that was so then it would go to the main C37 committee, which again would ballot it. Here, they were also different people. See, different people were members of these different groups, which was good, because it was like a check and balance. Westinghouse had three different people doing the same thing. One was on IEEE, one was on NEMA, one was on C37. So they had three cracks at it. A lot of companies such as GE had the same thing.

Nebeker:

Was this good in your view?

Wagner:

We caught things! We caught things way up at the very end that somebody forgot about! Mainly at the top end it was more like the fuse people might find something that the circuit breaker people had not. "Aha! That doesn't seem right, it won't work with our fuse," for example, and things like that. So they would catch things like that. It had checks and balances. The IEEE claims now that they do the same thing: they're representing of all these different things. They are — but in only one area. They have one man say, "We'll do this." But here we had checks and balances.

Nebeker:

I am very interested to hear you express that view, because just a couple of weeks ago I was talking to an engineer who was bemoaning all of this bureaucracy in standards and saying how much better it was in the early days when it was kind of one company de facto setting a standard. This was in a completely different technical area, but his view now was that it takes forever to get anything adopted as an official standard.

Wagner:

This is where I got involved being the chairman. There was a period that IEEE for example had a cost reduction. They didn't have enough people at headquarters, and so that slowed things down. Gee, we raised heck, and finally they put more people in. Then NEMA would go through a period like this, and they would slow things down. Finally we ended up with parallel balloting. In other words, when one group, say the subcommittee, would ballot, it would go over to C37 ballot. We would have problems with individuals, and they were always fighting, and they're still fighting now, so I'm not involved anymore. But it worked! The actual rules are that a standard can be adopted if 75% of the balloting approves it. Now, you have to look at what the negative ballots are, but if you can't resolve them you can still pass if 75% of the ballots are for approval. Now we never allowed that. In my whole term at C37, there was only one standard that we ever let go without unanimous approval, and it only got one negative ballot. We made darn sure that something wasn't wrong. Now, IEEE tries to do this, but they say, "Well it holds things up." Heck, if it's wrong, hold it up!

Nebeker:

I don't know about this branch of technology, but I can imagine cases where it's simply that one company has decided to do it one way, and another company has decided to do it another way.

Wagner:

Oh no, we don't allow that; Switchgear isn't that way. It has to be a sound technical reason, and the people involved are all technical people.

Nebeker:

Right, but there might be two technically sound solutions or ways of doing one thing.

Wagner:

Well, if they're equal, then we would put them down as equivalent. Then we would thrash it out in these committee meetings, so you didn't let anybody get away with this! I don't think there's been anything like that — well, maybe some, but it wasn't a big problem.

IEEE Power Engineering Society

Nebeker:

What has been your involvement with IEEE over the years, or the AIEE? I know you've been President of the Power Engineering Society.

Wagner:

I've been a member of various committees, but primarily the Relay Committee and the Switchgear Committee. I was Chairman of the Switchgear Committee, and from there I went to be Chairman of what's now called the Technical Council of PES. I was Chairman of that for five years, and then Vice-President of PES and then President of PES. I've never been a Director; I've never wanted to. Usually the chain of command is president and then director, but that job was too political, and I'm a technical man, strictly, so I said, "No, I don't want that." But I stayed on in PES system planning or long range planning for a couple more years.

Nebeker:

How was it being Vice-President and President of PES?

Wagner:

All right, except for the politics. I call it politics, or the administrative kind of thing, like going to the Technical Activities Board meetings, and listening to the more administrative problems usually that really didn't involve me anyhow. But they're all good people, and I enjoyed working with them and the other people they call the Executive Board now.

Nebeker:

So what was not appealing to you was getting involved in some of these administrative decisions.

Wagner:

When I was President, they said that I should write this message for the monthly newsletter, this President's Message for the Power Engineering Review, and that was terrible. These months, I think, only had five days in them!

Nebeker:

Right, because suddenly you had to write another one!

Wagner:

Now they don't do this anymore! After I left, the next guy didn't do it and I don't know why! The orders came from on high that I was supposed to do this, and for two years I wrote twenty four of those doggone things! That was the hardest part of the whole business.

Nebeker:

How has the Power Engineering Society been in the many years you've been associated with it? Has it thrived or not or what are your views on that?

Wagner:

Well, it's thrived, except the whole power industry has been severely reduced, and so even before these big reductions now, it didn't grow in the way the Computer Society took off like a big bird. The power industry was more stable. Our membership went up a little bit, you know, but a lot of people complained, "How come the Computer Society got so big?" Well, it’s a more burgeoning thing. Then the cutbacks came and all this. It used to be that the power industry was managed by engineers, and then the legal and financial people came in — I'm not knocking it, but they didn't see the value of the societies as much, so it was harder to get membership.

Nebeker:

Because the companies wouldn't pay for membership?

Wagner:

Either that, or it wouldn't pay for them to come to the meetings, or things like that — it didn't give an engineer any brownie points for becoming a member of the societies. When I was President, we tried to generate interest by writing letters to the CEOs, and I think they still are doing that now.

Nebeker:

That's something you've seen in the last thirty years or so, that utilities are run more by business, legal, and financial people?

Wagner:

I would say in the last twenty to thirty years.

Nebeker:

But when you started in the field it was with engineers running the utilities? How does one explain that change?

Wagner:

Maybe it's the bottom line kind of thing — more pressure to make money, for the stockholders, I don't know.

Nebeker:

But you've noticed that.

Wagner:

Oh yes, very definitely. That was one of the reasons why my favorite job, the sponsor engineers, was done away with.

Nebeker:

So the Power Engineering Society hasn't grown the way that some of the others have, but what about the kind of feeling within the Society? Has it been good, has it been activities that the members value?

Wagner:

Oh, I think so. Certainly the ones who are involved, that are allowed to come to the technical committee meetings, and members of the technical committees. They are active, but not as much as they would like, in the local chapters. None of the societies get the membership out as much as they'd like. Pittsburgh has, let me just pick a rough number, 500 members, and yet they may only get thirty or forty out for a meeting. There are a lot more engineers who aren’t even members, so there are those people who say, "Well, what do I get for it?" There's a lot more pension worries now with the whole IEEE than there used to be. That used to be secondary. I never even knew what they were when I was a member; my interests were strictly technical. But now members are more interested in portability of pension and I'm not knocking it! It's very important to these young fellows. I was lucky: I never had to worry about a job or anything like that. I was appreciated, I felt, but I can see some of the cutbacks that are going on now, and it's a darn shame. I can see why they would be worried about things like this.

Nebeker:

I noticed that you won the prize paper award of the Power Engineering Society on two occasions, separated by quite a few years. What were those two papers?

Wagner:

One of them had to do with insulation, I think, of gas insulated equipment. Let me see if I have it. One was just recent. I've written eighty-five papers. Well, in 1976, I was made a consulting engineer; that was just a title kind of thing. Then I retired in what, '85?

Consulting Work

Nebeker:

Was that a real change in your job when you were named a consulting engineer?

Wagner:

As I remember now, they used to have Transmission Engineering and Distribution Engineering, and I think, marketing. They changed it, they combined them, and they cut back some people. The old manager of Distribution was made Advisor of Engineering, and I was made Consulting Engineer.

Nebeker:

But was it the same sort of work?

Wagner:

Yes, except that I didn't have people working for me. I was advising.

Early Digital System Relay Program (1950s)

Nebeker:

In this period of the 1970s, to your retirement in 1985, were there any things that stand out as noteworthy or special?

Wagner:

Back in the early 1950s, I was involved with heading up a group that was writing a digital computer program to set and apply system relays. That was one of the first times that this was attempted. George Rockefeller and myself would supply the logic, or nowadays the system part, and then we had programmers to put it in a machine language and so forth. That was a case where the program worked, but we had trouble selling the thing. First, it cost a lot of money,

Nebeker:

Can you tell me exactly what this did?

Wagner:

All right, well, a customer would say, "Here's my system: I have a system of transmission lines, generation, and so forth, and I want to relay it." So we would run short circuit studies and then based on certain parameters, the output of the computer program would say, "This type of relay would be good at this point, and it should be set this way so that it coordinates with all the other relays." That was the grand and glorious way; most of the time it would be that they would give us a system with the relays they had, and then we would check and see if the settings were correct or not.

Nebeker:

So it was a systems analysis tool.

Wagner:

Yes. In those days and even now a relay engineer would have to look at his system, say two line sections in series and make sure that for all fault conditions, only the calculations, a lot of day work, to make sure the proper relay operates. It's called coordination. This program, we said, would eliminate a lot of that dog work. The relay engineers, however, said, "You're putting me out of a job!" They always say that to computer people. They didn't buy a thing with it. We would try to tell them, "No, you have to put the logic in it to see which relays you want to use, and this is just going to take the dog work out of it," but it never sold. Now, there's a whole bunch of similar programs available!

Nebeker:

I see. But the one you did was in the early 1950s? That's very early. What kind of a computer was it?

Wagner:

It was one of the old IBM ones, one of the big mainframes.

Nebeker:

I've forgotten those names, but Univac came out in '51 and IBM soon thereafter with these mainframes. So, that's interesting.

Wagner:

There's still this same program — it's been modified over the years, but it's still available. In fact, Westinghouse, ABB, or whoever owned it then, just sold it to a firm up in Michigan someplace, but that was an interesting job, too.

Nebeker:

With the greater connectedness of power networks, I can imagine that there's much greater need for such tools. Is that right?

Wagner:

Actually, for this type of program, I think it is more necessary for industrial systems or distribution systems. The big interconnections use more pilot relaying. You don't use coordination, one over the other — you have a chunk, like one transmission line, with so-called pilot protection, and it just operates for faults in that line section. It's not that big a deal to apply and set them. The program was used a lot in industrial systems.

Trends in High Voltage Engineering

Nebeker:

Then in the 1970s and 1980s, what things you were involved with?

Wagner:

A lot of it I guess was IEEE, and just the general type of work.

Nebeker:

There weren't major equipment changes that you recall from that period?

Wagner:

No, just different types of breakers.

Nebeker:

Was there a continuing trend in those years to higher voltage and higher capacity generation?

Wagner:

Well, we did make studies, and I forget the date, of going to 1,000 or 1100 kV. We made studies I was involved with — Westinghouse had an EPRI contract to develop a 1000 kV circuit breaker. It was never built, and no one in this country has put in 1,000kV. I think they have it in Russia, and I think they have some in Italy, but we never saw a need for it in this country.

Nebeker:

But you were involved in a study, of the circuit breaker?

Wagner:

Again, it was not as extensive a study as the 500 kV, but similar — you know, what kind of insulation we should use, that kind of stuff. This was strictly internal for Westinghouse — we didn't work with anybody, and didn't develop any equipment.

Nebeker:

If one were to look at electrical insulation in this application over your career, in the 1950s you were able to better calculate what was required in certain situations. Were there new insulating materials that came in, or were there other advances in that aspect of it that you can think of?

Wagner:

Instead of using porcelain for bushings in some circuit breakers we use a composite. Westinghouse had some — I don't know when it was, but the early 1970s maybe. I don't know if it was more expensive, but now we're using it. The circuit breaker people are now using it especially for the bigger, longer bushings, say for the 500kV, using composite bushings.

Nebeker:

But for lower voltage systems, there haven't been major changes in insulation?

Wagner:

I don't know; personally I'm not that familiar with that.

Nebeker:

I'm just interested myself in cases where the technology seems to be mature and doesn't change very much.

Wagner:

Well, I'll beg off on this then; I'm not that knowledgeable on that.

IEEE Visit to China

Nebeker:

Are there other things that you'd like to mention, that you've been involved with? You've received quite a few awards from the IEEE and other groups.

Wagner:

One of my most interesting things for IEEE was being Vice-Director of the first IEEE visit to China. Jack Barkla was the head of it, and I was second in command.

Nebeker:

What year was that?

Wagner:

I knew you'd ask that. I know, it was the year my wife died, 1978. That was real interesting, because that was right after Nixon first went in there.

Nebeker:

It was the ping-pong diplomacy shortly before that.

Wagner:

It was interesting to visit these different places, and we were the first “round eyes” that a lot of the Chinese people had seen. We saw technical parts of power plants, and breaker, and transformer plants, but also then saw the factories, where they made silk from silkworms, and all this sort of stuff, plus porcelain.

Nebeker:

Did you get a chance to look at power engineering?

Wagner:

Yes.

Nebeker:

How did it appear to you?

Wagner:

Well, it certainly wasn't advanced as ours. But I met some of the people, a couple which knew my father; in fact. The Chinese, back before Mao, had sent people over to Westinghouse to work there for a year or two, and this one, Mr. Mong, had become the engineering manager of the generator plant at Shanghai. He was very interesting, and I knew one other guy who had been working in our department, at Central Station Engineering, so that was interesting. We took these Polaroid cameras, and the Chinese had never seen that. We would take a picture and after removing the picture from the camera the people would say they'd want to look, and nothing was there. I remember we would say, "You'll be looking better," and they'd watch. Their eyes would get so big as the picture formed, so that was a lot of fun.

Nebeker:

Did it succeed in doing what the IEEE hoped it would? Were you trying to make some contacts there?

Wagner:

Oh yes. They had a CSEE, Chinese Society of Electrical Engineers, so we made contacts with them. In fact, I went back later, to their fiftieth anniversary. I think this was when I was President of PES. I went back to their fiftieth anniversary of their society, and represented IEEE. I met this guy Li Peng, you know, the guy that's Premier now? He's an electrical engineer. He and I sat together, of course talking through interpreters, so I knew the Premier, and he was a nice guy then. You wouldn't know it now, the way he gets written up in the newspaper. I made a couple of other trips with Westinghouse to put on seminars, to help educate them, plus hopefully have joint ventures with them — I don't know what the status of it is.

Nebeker:

Did that come about?

Wagner:

I know we had a generation group — they sent ten to twenty engineers who worked with our generating plants, our turbine and generation divisions, and I know that went through. I don't know any other stuff; I wasn't involved that much in it.

Nebeker:

Would that happen often rather than Westinghouse just selling a system to some country, a joint venture?

Wagner:

Again, I'm not that familiar with marketing. It seems to me that you had to have some kind of joint venture. I'm not sure of this now.

Nebeker:

But certainly there are a lot of countries trying to develop their own engineering

Wagner:

I think that was primarily what they wanted. If not, they would buy one piece of equipment and copy it. But that was a lot of fun too.

Outstanding Colleagues

Nebeker:

What outstanding engineers have you come across in your career?

Wagner:

Millions!

Nebeker:

Are there one or two that sort of stand out?

Wagner:

Well, you mentioned Ed Harder; Lee Kilgore; of course you will excuse my pride, but my father.

Nebeker:

How did you come across Lee Kilgore?

Wagner:

At Westinghouse.

Nebeker:

In working with him?

Wagner:

Yes, working with him. Oh, there's so many: John Butchulor, Bob Lawrence. I asked Bob what this interview was all about, and he said he's already gone through this. In fact, he was my boss for this T&D systems group. I could list the old Central Station engineers; all of those first sponsor engineers. A.C. Montieth

Nebeker:

Yes, Ed Harder talked a lot about Montieth.

Wagner:

Well, there's so many — C.M. Lafoon, Gene Whitney, many of the circuit breaker engineers — so many that I would hate to single any one or two out. Not only Westinghouse people, but I know a lot of good people at GE and the utilities.

Nebeker:

Well, I thank you very much.