The Evolution of High Tension

More Power, Longer Lines, Higher Voltage

Carver Mead and Barbara Smith

One of the most remarkable cases of technological evolution ever experienced by the human race occurred just over a hundred years ago. It involved the most creative minds, the boldest entrepreneurs

and a spirit of adventure that put the gold rush to shame. Electrical power started as a few small, local plants with lines running just a mile or two. In just 20 years, huge amounts of power were being transmitted hundreds of miles.

To send more power a greater distance required either much larger wire or much higher voltage. Huge wire was too heavy and too expensive, so higher voltage was the only choice.

It happened by trial and error, as all evolution processes do: one project at a time.


(Photos to scale)
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