The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 14, 1902, Page 4, Image 4

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' r f 1
T- t
tMt i
k nrippr deroted to the lntarsiti of kht
University of Nobra ska.
Published nt 184 Nortli llth 8t , by
J. W Crnbtree, President
O. L Towne, -ccrctnry-TrcnMtrcr.
J. I. Wyer, T J Hewitt, It W Wnshtnirn
The Hcsperlnti, Vol XXXI
'I he Nehrnsknii, XI
The Scnrlet and Crcnm, Vol III
Sterling II McCnw,
R. W. Hnrbor, -Chns
I. Inylor)
Chnii E Wells J
R. T Hill,
MnniiKin Hditor
KdUor In Chief
Iluslncss MnniiRcrs
Assistant Editor
AuRoclnte Editors,
v r Untie. R A McNown. II G Nelson,
Wm Cnse,
Dun Gutlctien
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Address all communication! to the Daily Ne
braakaa, Ui N. llth Bt., Lincoln, Nebraska.
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Entered nt the post office nt I.iiicoln, Neb , ns
second clnfis mail matter
In today's edition of tho Nebraskan,
devoted to the Interests of tho oloc
trlcal engineering department, It may
be fitting to call attention to the re
markable success of tho graduates of
that department In tho great world
of business, as shown by tho s
mont presented. A careful lnvestlga
tlon shows that practically every
former studont of the department
who proporly prepared himself, Is
now drawing good wages and Is doing
work in a responsible position. The
conclusion can fairly be drawn from
tho data given that there la work
along these lines to bo done by all
who fit themselves for it. Probauiy
there is no other calling in life in
which there is better opportunity for
advancement afforded to tho ambitious
young man.
Tho universal success that has fallen
to tho lot of tho graduates of the de
partment can not but be a criterion
of the work done In that department.
Wo commend to our readers, and es
pecially to those who are contemplat
ing a course In electricity, a careful
perusal of the matter presented here
with. 4 The Young Mnn and the New
(Abstract from article by Prof.
Francis B. Crocker, In Saturday Ev
ening Post.)
Speaking of the quick Buccess of
electrical engineers, Professor Crocker
I have personally followed the ca
reers of several hundred men who
havo entered tho field, and am con
vinced that in most instances they
have gone ahead more rapidly than
would have been possible In any other
lino of human effort. Where the men
possessed exceptional ability, their
-advaneea-have been much nore rapid
than that likely to occur in any other
There are probably two reasons foi
this. In the 'first place the business
Is so new and has expanded so enor
mously that opportunities for promo
tion havo been created almost more
rapidly than they could be filled. Thus
many men have actually been forcoi
ahead by circumstances. The other
reason Is the fact that oloctriclty Ib n
peculiar subject. In its pursuit goner
al Intelligence or knowledge 1b not
sufficient for pronounced success. A
man possessing special tasto for it
soon differentiates himself from the
others working alongside who may not
bo endowed with tho samo advantages.
Such a man will forgo ahead of his
fellows at a rate that Is absolutely
impossible In any other calling in tin.
Tho successful electrical engineer
has more than mero ability. Ho is
gifted with a special talent, liko the
successful artist or the musician.
Electricity is to my mind tho only me
chanical pursuit which has "soul."
Tho successful electrician is born.
Many of the qualities that are his are
intanglblo, Just as tho lino musician'
qualities are.
But there must also bo tangible
qualities, certain fixed mental trails.
Ho must havo great moutul alertness,
the ability to think quickly, to graBp
a given situation at once. He must
bo of tho analytical turn of mind
that is, able to reason from cause to
effect, or vice versa. In electricity
one thing follows from another with
absolute certainty, For example, It Is
possible to calculate within a frac
tion of a per cent, boforo an electrical
machine is built, exactly what it will
do. This is impossible in any other
branch of mechanics. The idea bo
common, that electricity is vague and
not capable of being definitely con
trolled, arises from tho fact that we
do not know what electricity is. But
in point of fact, we know as much 01
the ultimate nature of electricity as
wo do of gravitation or heat.
We know already what are tho laws
of both electricity and gravitation, as
well as tho results that they produce,
and it is very doubtful if our ability
to control, measure, and utilize these
agencies would be improved even 11
wo understood their exact nature. Tho
laws and applications of hydraulics
would be Just as definite and success
ful even though tho facts were not
known that water is composed of two
atoms of hydrogen and ono of oxy
gen. It is possible that methods of
generating electricity may bo ad
vanced when its real character is dis
covered, but it is not likely that this
knowledge will greatly affect the
methods of handling and using it.
But in tho popular mind tne ab
sence of tho ultimato knowledge, has
left the impression that electricity Is
not only something unknown, but 1111
knowable. Its Bubtlety, extreme ra
pidity of action and astonishing
achievements make it appear most
mysterious and occult in comparison
with tho ordinary forms of energy.
The experience of the electrical en
gineer is supposed to consist of a
series of surprises and shocks to his
mind as well as to his body. This no
tion is not confined to tho ignorant,
but is possessed by many educated
persons, including non-electrical en
gineers. This Idea has sometimes been
the cause of actual harm to the prog
ress of electrical engineering. The
profession' has been considered to be
hardly legitimate, thoso who practiced
It being regarded as either wizards or
charlatans, or a combination of tho
two. N
Yet, as I have said, there Is hardly
another science or profession where
f-the conditions are so exactrns-ln elec
tricity. Known results are figured out
with a decree of accuracy that Is
truly amazing. Many of these results
are so unique and astonishing that we
still regard them with wonder even
after we have become familiar with
them. Some of tho most striking of
these examples are the locating of
faults on. aubmarlna cables telephon-
lng a thousand miles or more, trans-
mitting power over ono hundred miles,
sending simultaneously a number of
messages on one wire, utilizing the
power of Niagara, producing the
Roentgen ray, and telegraphing with
out wires. Thoso and hundreds of
other wonderful feats aro not accom
plished by chance, or by groping in
the dark.
And, great as thoso facts are, new
and almost equally startling results
aro coming up almost every week, it
1b the first duty of an electrical work
er to fall In with rapid advances and
radical departures. Therefore, a nee
osBary qualification for tho succossful
olectrician is an interest in things
that are now becauso they are new.
Any one with a strong conservative
tendency would bo at a disadvantage
In tho electrical field. This Is prob
ably tho reason why Americans have
got along faster thadany other nation
in the development and uso of olectric
ity. An American prefers a thing that
Is now, whereas a foreigner considers
newness in itself an objection. The
man who is interested in ancient lit
erature or in archaology cares little
for electricity. This Is a fact I havo
observed among my own friends.
Thoso who havo gono into olectric
ity with tho idea of saving themselves
labor havo made a great mistake, be
causo electricity requires fully as
much application and intensity of pur
pose as any other lino of work. Mr.
Edison was once asked to advlso a
young man how to succeed In electric
ity, and his characteristic reply was,
"Don't watch tho clock." What he
meant was that a time server, ono who
simply worka so many hours a day for
so much in the way of compensation,
would never riso high in the electrical
business. Electricity requires that
high order of interest which Is tho de
votion to art for art's Bake. Edison
considers that his own success is due
to tho fact that ho tried harder and
worked more hours a day than his
In regard to physical qualifications,
it is, of course, an advantage to have
a strong body, but so long as one is
sufficiently well to bo able to keep at
his work, tho mere possession of
physical strength is rather less of on
advantage in electrical pursuits than
in almost any other. This is due to
the fact that It 1b essentially lntelloc
tual; it exemplifies the control of mind
over niatter. One can control thou
sands of horse-power by an electrical
push-button. This 1b true In no other
branch of industry. Even the control
of a steam engine by tho working of a
valve requires a certain strength.
Given tho inborn qualities I havo
mentioned, tho next question is in re
gard to the best preparation or train
lng to bo followed. Ten or fifteen
years ago there were no schools giv
ing a course of study In electricity ex
cept of a very elementary character.
Therefore all thoso who entered the
profession at that time were obliged
to pick up their knowledge as they
went along. At tho present time, how
ever, there are many first class Insti
tutions all over tho world teaching
electrical engineering very thoroughly
and giving it a prominent place in
their curriculum. The large compa
nies, such as the General .Electric and
Westlnghouse, In most cases require,
and in all cases prefer, that a young
man entering their employ should be
-agraduate of some electrical courso of
study. This is in itself a very Big
nificant fact.
In engineering departments of the
various companies, and in all positions
Involving the design, construction, in
stallation, and operation of electrical
machinery, it would seom that a bc1
ontific and technical knowledge is
practically essential. There aro, of
course, many prominent examples of
self-made electrical men; In fact, as
was pointed out, all tho older elec
tricians must havo been self-taUght.
If we look around on tho younger
men, however, wo find with few excep
tions thoso coming to the fVont aro
graduates of technical schools. The
case Is similar to that existing In the
relation of West Point to tho army.
Almost without exception tho great
generals havo been West Point mon,
but there are a few Funstons and
Mllsos. The bulk of tho army officers
have boon, and aro, West Point men,
however, and on them we depend.
Of course, succoss is a somewhat
relative term, and It Is rather hard to
say what proportion of men succeed,
as success may bo measured in variouB
ways. But it is probably fair to say
that nearly all electricians make a
good living within a year or two after
they graduate. It is probably a fact
that at least half of tho men make
what can be called a substantial suc
cess within three or four years after
graduation. 1 havo in mind several
young men who havo reached prom
inent positions, and won a national
reputation in their profession, within
five yearB after graduating from Co
lumbia University. Ono of them is
chief electrical engineer in tho Niag
ara plant, the largest in tho world.
Anothor Is professor of electrical en
gineering in a prominent university.
Anothor became chief engineer of a
well known manufacturing company
in less than two years alter gradua
tion. Tho large number of startling and
valuable inventions that havo beon
made in electricity during tho last
twenty years have brought many men
to tho iront, and they have been hand
somely rewarded for their iuuois. lirveii
during tho present year several im
portant inventions havo been brought
out and undoubtedly this will con
Unue. But thougn great progress win
bo made, It is a fact that many of the
fundamental principles have been
However, the application ot electric
ity will uudoubteuiy extend even moro
rapidly in the future than it has in
tho past. In electric railways there
will bo constructed not only the pres
ent trolley cars for local passengor
service, but high speed railways lor
long distances between large cities.
There is practically no limit to the
speed of an electric locomotive, since
its armature may rotate at a thousand
or more revolutions a minute. With
steam, on tho other hand, it has not
been found practicable to run a loco
motive faster than about three hun
dred and fifty revolutions a minute,
and, since we are practically limited
in the sizo of tho driving wheel, wo
can evidently expect no great increase
in Bpeed with tho present steam ser
vice. An electric railroad between
Berlin and Hamburg is now being do
signed and constructed, on which it is
hoped that the trains will run at a
speed of a hundred and fifty miles an
hour. Of course, at such high speed
there is considerable danger of tho
train leaving 'the track, but some posi
tive means to avoid this danger wi.i
undoubtedly be provided.
The transmission and distribution
of electrical power to motors In mines,
factories, and mills is anothor field
which Is nqv being, and will be, rapidly-extended.
In fact, it-looks as it
practically all mining, metallurgical,
chemical, and manufacturing establish
ments will bo operated by electricity
in the near future. Tho advantages
apply to mines of all kinds, iron
works, machine shops, cotton, woollen,
and other textile mills, chemical
works, printing establishments, and
almost QYjery Industry in which power-
driven machinery is used. The oppor-