Mains cable used in the Deptford Safety test

Made:
1889
maker:
S Z de Ferranti Limited

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S Z de Ferranti Ltd 10,000-volt mains electricity cable, used in the 'chisel test' at Deptford when a chisel was driven
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

S Z de Ferranti Ltd 10,000-volt mains electricity cable, used in the 'chisel test' at Deptford when a chisel was driven
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

S Z de Ferranti Ltd 10,000-volt mains electricity cable, used in the 'chisel test' at Deptford when a chisel was driven
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

A 10,000-volt mains electricity cable made by Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti. It was used in the safety test at Deptford power station where a chisel was driven into this section of live cable in 1889.

By the 1880s, electric lighting was the must-have innovation for any self-respecting town. Giants of electricity Tesla, Edison and Westinghouse fought a battle of the currents over the safe transmission of high voltage electricity from power station to customer.

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti built the world’s first central power station at Deptford. He used alternating current (AC) to power London.

In 1889 the battle of the currents got serious. Thomas Edison claimed that wasn’t safe. Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti responded with a live safety test.

Deptford’s site foreman drove a metal chisel into a live 10,000-volt cable. Assistant engineer H. W. Kolle held the chisel and could have been electrocuted. The chisel broke the cable and triggered the main fuse, as Ferranti knew it would.

On display

Science and Industry Museum: Temporary Exhibitions Gallery: Electricity: The Spark of Life

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Details

Category:
Electricity Supply
Object Number:
Y1996.10.1114
type:
electricity supply cable
status:
Permanent collection

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