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Niles, Donald E. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 48, Number 7 (March 1944)

St. Pat was an engineer,   pp. 8-9

Page 9

by John Tanghe, e'44
TYPICAL      of those organizations that work silently
   and faithfully for the public with little thanks or rec-
ognition is the University's Electrical Standards Labora-
tory. Judging from its out-of-the-way location (second
and third floors of the Electrical Laboratory Building)
and its quiet atmosphere, one would hardly guess that in
this laboratory are carried out some of the finest and
most delicate tests and calibrations made in the state and
  The Electrical Standards Laboratory was founded about
1 908. It is operated jointly by the University and the
Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to serve the
utilities and industries throughout the state in the precise
calibration of electrical instruments and meters. To do
this, use is made of standards certified by the Bureau of
Standards in Washington, D. C., and measurements are
accurate to the nearest 0.05'/c to 0.1ß(.
  A typical example of the type of work done by the
laboratory is the periodic checking of watthour meters,
wattmeters, voltmeters, standard cells, resistances, etc., for
various electric utilities. These companies are required
by law to have their equipment calibrated frequently, and
this laboratory, operated on a non-competitive self-sup-
porting basis, is the only one within a fairly large radius
of Madison having adequate facilities to do such work.
The following samples of work done during 1943 illus-
trate in part the numerical extent of such work:
  Apparatus                           Number Tested
  Linemen's rubber gloves and blankets          1437
  Portable watthour meters                    -   47
  Instruments, instrument transformers, etc.      87
  Electric fence controllers                      21
  State institution projects, spec's.              9
                        etc., etc.
  Electric fence controllers are tested for the Industrial
Commission to determine if safe for human beings. Such
tests require the use of an oscillograph in observing the
time of shock, peak current, total charge, etc. Such tests
often require a week to obtain data and another week or
two to prepare the report.
  Much credit is due Professor Royce E. Johnson who
expanded the work of the laboratory for several years
prior to 1943. Mr. Johnson accepted opportunity to
work for the Barber-Colman Co. at Rockford, Illinois, on
Jan. 1, 1943. He is their chief electrical engineer, devel-
opment section. Professor Ludvig C. Larson "inherited"
the job from Professor Johnson and
work for the past 14 months.
has carried on the
  Part of the work of the laboratory is done by a small
group of electrical engineering students employed by the
laboratory under the supervision of Professor Larson. At
present six students are so employed: Clarence Riederer
(EE 3), Joseph Marsh (EE 4), Otto Schreiber (EE 4),
Gerald Keppert (EE 2), and Alvin Vick (ME 2). Corre-
spondence, filing, and secretarial duties are handled by
Miss Dareen Goetsch (BA 2). Besides the financial aid
derived from such work, these students gain valuable
knowledge and experience which, as has often happened
in the past, forms a basis for their future work in indus-
The accuracy of instruments such as these are maintained by
                  the Standards Lab.
  The laboratory has a policy of calling upon other
members in the department of electrical engineering when
tests call for the services which can best be given by those
whose major field is, say, high voltage testing, testing of
dielectrics, radio equipment, and power apparatus.
  The director of the laboratory is required to teach stu-
dents, and ordinarily gives courses in electrical measure-
                 (continued on page 18)

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