New York’s First Subway

Lead: New York needed a subway. Alfred Beach was ready to supply it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1870 the need to move people quickly around the City of New York was apparent to all. The streets were clogged with pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles and the steam and smoke put out by locomotives. Alfred Ley Beach, editor of the Scientific American and an inventor in his own right, had been experimenting with pneumatic propul-sion, the use of air pressure to force a cylinder through a tightly sealed tube.

Video Gets Memory

Lead: In the early days, television was very exciting. It had one major problem. No memory. Once broadcast, a live television program was gone.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The networks had devised a way of filming live telecasts. The machine was a kinescope, actually a 35 mm movie camera which filmed live East Coast television for rebroadcast programs three hours later in the West. “Kines” were grainy, had trouble getting the television picture in sync with the movie camera, and were very expensive. By 1954 the networks were using more movie film than Hollywood.

Edison vs. Westinghouse II

Lead: In the 1880s, two of America’s great entrepreneurial innovators, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, were locked in a battle over electric distribution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Edison was an advocate of direct current, DC, which sent power at low voltage, much like a battery in a flashlight, down the circuit from generator to appliance. It was expensive and cumbersome. Westinghouse was promoting a new type of electrical distribution system, which sent very high power back and forth between the power plant and the electrical application. To solve the high-voltage problem, Westinghouse acquired the inventions of two European engineers, Lucien Gaulard and John Dixon, and lured away from Edison the creative genius, Nikola Tesla. Soon he had perfected the distribution system for alternating current (AC). Power would leave the station at 500 volts, hit transformers along the line, and be reduced to 100 volts, sufficient for distribution to customer’s homes.