Endorsements and Comments of Our Work With Utilities

138-kV 1920s Architecture Switchyard at Bagnell Dam, Missouri
138-kV 1920s Architecture Switchyard at Bagnell Dam, Missouri

Here are just a few of the comments, endorsements and references, from CEOs, Vice Presidents, Marketing and Communications Directors for utility, telecom, State, local government authorities and significant others about the effectiveness of The Electric Orphanage and Douglas G. Schema’s work. 

“Your [effort] is complete and builds a very strong case supporting the procedure and need for the project.  We share your opinion that our industry has not taken the necessary steps to present the favorable results of electrical engineering efforts in developing the vast transmission network necessary to bring electricity to the customer . . . or the strong ties between the electrical system supply and the development and the national, regional, and local economic well being.  It might be of interest to you that one of the early companies that made up Sierra Pacific Company was instrumental in the development of high voltage transmission.  The Truckee River Generating Company constructed small hydro plants on the Truckee River near Reno and constructed a 60,000-volt line to the mines in the Virginia City, Nevada area.  This early development work took place in the late 1890s and early 1900s.  It was quite an accomplishment and showed the foresightedness of engineers.  At the time, there were no 60,000 volt-lines in operation in the United States.  I take great pleasure in expressing my support and endorsement of [your efforts].  If we can be of assistance to your project, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Best wishes for a successful project.

Engineering & Construction, Sierra Pacific Power Company

“If I had a position open for you right now . . . I’d hire you right here on the spot!” Sierra Pacific Power Human Resources Department

“Thank you for your recent letter . . . We agree with you totally that the utility industry should be positive in its approach to communications, and add our endorsement to the concept of your [effort].” Duke Power Company

“I have read [of your work] several times . . . After reading it, I can wholeheartedly endorse the concept . . . . Designers and builders should thus long be remembered for their pioneering efforts in a great industry.  Utility-consumer dialogue in matters such as this is essential for current knowledge and as a basis for further understanding of the growing future needs of the industry, especially in acceptance of current and future concepts in meeting the nation’s power needs. . . Good luck to you as you progress with [your project]. Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, A Division of Pennsylvania Power & Light

“I most certainly agree with your observation that the general public is exposed to almost daily negative press influences regarding electric utilities.  There is a definite need today to present the positive aspects of utilities in general and high voltage lines in particular.  As the utility industry changes in response to regulatory and monetary pressures, high voltage transmission lines will be more and more prevalent.  Your intention of showing not only the technological advances but [also] the history of high voltage transmission and the people involved with it should help build confidence and educate the public.  The direction you propose seems sound . . . a start in building positive public feelings is long overdue and this approach would establish a base with which to begin.  I offer my endorsement of your project.  I think the utility industry needs more press that is positive and educates at the same time.  Thank you for the opportunity to review your proposal.”  El Paso Electric Company

“I appreciate the considerable effort and research you have put into your proposal . . . and Southern California Edison certainly is most supportive . . . and will make available our archival and research assistance.” Southern California Edison

“Your vita [and supportive documents] . . . are quite impressive.” Public Service of New Mexico

 “Your project was reviewed with the Board of Directors.  The consensus was that [your efforts are] worthwhile and should enlighten the public, specifically from the utilities’ point . . . [Your] time and effort devoted to the project has been performed in a very professional manner and [our] Board wishes you continued success with the project.”  Nebraska-Iowa Electrical Council

“I have reviewed your proposal . . . and I feel that such a program could be beneficial to our industry and to our Company.  Southwestern Electric Power Company will endorse this program since it can serve as a tool in educating the general public about certain aspects of our industry.”  Southwestern Electric Power Company

“We share your concern that the public should receive accurate information about the problems and contributions of the electric utility industry.”  ALCOA

“Your work and efforts towards an objective view of California Energy history and the utilities’ contributions made towards the Boulder Canyon Project should be nationally recognized and lauded in their entirety.”  Dr. Paul F. Allen, California Historian, Board Member San Bernardino Museum Commission

 “[You] address a real need in the electric utility industry—greater public awareness of the complexities of providing electricity to customers throughout the country.”  Public Service of New Mexico

“As an engineer, your project holds great personal interest for me.”  Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company

“We appreciate your interest . . . and trust you will be successful.”
Virginia Electric & Power Company

“Lapp Insulator will be pleased to assist with you.”
Lapp Insulator

“ . . . Your interests and experience would be extremely valuable for the success of this undertaking [50th REA Anniversary Oral History Project.].”  National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

“I was delighted to learn . . . the project was coming along so well . . . perhaps you can organize a forthcoming meeting of the Society for the History of Technology . . .”  Georgia Institute of Technology

“Your [effort] was discussed at our Administrative Committee meeting . . . we feel this effort is very worthwhile and wish you every success in its implementation . . . “ President, Institute of Electrical and & Electronics Engineers/Power Engineering Society, 1984.

“I appreciate your keeping us informed . . . [and] shall be keeping my eyes out for appropriate contacts . . . of use to you . . . The upcoming Centennial of the IEEE, while serving to make the Society more historically conscious has made it difficult for particular[ly] focused projects to et the kind of attention . . . they might otherwise receive from the Institute . . . I hope it doesn’t discourage you or lead you to conclude . . . your efforts are not appreciated . . . with continued wishes for success.”  IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering

“Thank you for your letter . . . the project . . . appears to be well thought out, combining both technical and societal issues.  CIGRE is . . . very much interested in the topic of High Voltage Transmission and would be pleased to see the subject presented clearly and fairly to the general public . . . Hence, CIGRE is supportive of the goals you have enumerated.  May I suggest [assistance] from the Secretary of Energy . . . your project should be of some interest to the Department . . .”  CIGRE International Conference on Large High Voltage Electric Systems

“Thank you for the opportunity to review your [work] and good luck in your endeavor.” Edison Electric Institute

“I appreciate your considering us and wish you well in the pursuit of your project.”
San Diego Gas & Electric Company

“Thank you for your recent thoughtful letter . . . [your effort] sounds like an interesting and challenging endeavor.  Good luck in your effort.”  Electric Power Research Institute

“I have read over [your work] . . . you make a strong case for the historical significances . . . Good luck with the project.  I would be glad to get a copy of any article you may write on electrical power history.”  Georgia Institute of Technology

“You are always welcome to visit us here in Ohio.  Let us know when you are headed this way, and we will try to make your visit informative.” The Ohio Brass Company

“Thank you for your proposal . . . [it] is well done and I think [your effort] will be interesting . . . We would be happy to assist with information, interviewees, or in some other non-monetary way.”  Southern California Edison

“Thank you for your letter . . . I remember our conversation quite well [in German] and have asked our Literature Services Department to mail an S&C Engineering Catalogue to you as soon as possible!”  International Sales S & C Electric Company

“Thank you for your letter and order requesting a 345-kV ‘V’ string assembly . . . your order has been placed . . . We wish you success in your work and future.”
The Ohio Brass Company

“Thank you for your letter [to Vice President Bush] . . . We find your proposal to be unique and one whose intended purpose will surely provide the American Public with a better understanding of the electric industry and its importance to their lives.  We would be pleased to offer any materials or data pertinent to the marketing . . . which would assist in making your endeavor a success.” Administration-Department of Engineering, Western Area Power Administration

“Thank you for the information and have reviewed the material and provided it to our engineering department.  We feel you have put together a fine proposal and we wish you success in your efforts to gain funding for the project.” Education Programming, Edison Electric Institute

“I have carefully reviewed your proposal . . . I commend you on the thoughtfulness of your proposal . . . we endorse the concept of what you are doing . . . and appreciate . . . that you have considered us for your project and wish you much success . . .” South Carolina Gas & Electric Company

“We have reviewed the proposal . . . and this will acknowledge Florida Power & Light’s interest in and endorsement of this proposed [effort].”
Florida Power & Light Company

“We were very impressed with your proposal . . . it is reassuring to know that there are producers around who have an interest in the electric utility industry.  I am pleased to report that Hawaiian Electric Company will be able to provide you with whatever  . . . we have to assist . . . Best wishes in your very worthwhile endeavor.”  Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

“Thank you for . . . your propsal . . . I have shared it with DOE for further consideration and thank you for writing me.”  George H. W. Bush

“The contributions of major transmission facilities to the economic development of this country has certainly gone unnoticed and unsung . . . We wish you success in your endeavor.”  Illinois Power Company

“We endorse the intent of your project, commend your motivation and encourage you to achieve successful implementation.  HDR has provided engineering and consulting services to the power industry throughout the firm’s history . . . It is from this long term, broad-based perspective that HDR endorses your efforts to communicate important contributions made by the power industry.  We wish you success . . .”  Henningson, Durham & Richardson Engineering Consulting

“Thank you for sharing your proposal with me; I enjoyed reading it, and our technical people feel it suggested a comprehensive broadcast overview of EHV lines.  Thank you . . . and all good wishes for the success of your project.”Northeast Utilities

“Your efforts to enlighten the public on issues relating to energy system is commendable . . . we support your efforts to educate the public on energy systems.”  Gulf Power

“We read your proposal with interest; you have devoted a substantial amount of effort to a project that could prove to be very worthwhile . . . Best wishes for the success of your work.”  Northwestern Bell Telephone Company

“I heartily support your proposal . . . your [efforts] will bring worthwhile attention to an engineering feat that is a landmark in the history of American technology . . . the utilities . . . and business in general will benefit from the positive account.  I am pleased to add my name to those who endorse . . . [and] I wish you well.”
Omaha National Bank

“You have my very best wishes for success and thank you for sharing your proposal with Union Pacific.”  Union Pacific Railroad System

“Thank you for your letter . . . it sounds like an interesting project . . . I did bring it to the attention of the Executive Council . . . the Council asked me to encourage you to contact federal historical offices and programs directly.  Best of luck.”  The Society for the History in the Federal Government

“As I think you maybe aware, our service territory contains many miles of . . . both 345-kV and 500-kV lines.  In addition to providing power to our customers, they also help supply power to the New York City area.  I can assure you that I and John White, a member of our Board of Directors . . . both support this project . . . I believe your [efforts] will take an important step0 in the explaining the vital role of high voltage transmission lines in the delivery system . . . I hope those providing support will be sensitive to the need for this important message.” Orange & Rockland Utilities

“We have reviewed your [work] and certainly agree with you and the host of knowledgeable supporters that the public could benefit significantly from the understanding available from [your efforts].  Best wishes.” General Public Utilities Corporation

“The proposed effort . . . sounds very informative and worthwhile.  A program able to convey to the general public a sense of the skill and handwork behind the nation’s electrical systems would be of great benefit.  We at SPS wish you success!”  Southwestern Public Service Company

“Thank you for writing to us . . . I have read the material and found much of your information to be very interesting.  After reviewing . . . I believe the points you have outlined will make an interesting [effort].”  Tampa Electric

“[Your effort] will be an exciting visual tribute to America’s drive for progress.  I believe that from this historical perspective [consumers] will reach a clearer understanding of the current challenges faced by utilities.  [Your efforts] promise to enlighten the public to these obstacles and hopefully overcome them.  Your efforts have the enthusiastic support of Potomac Electric Power Company.”  Potomac Electric Power Company

“I was very interested in what you had to say about your [efforts].  I have discussed . . . with members of my staff, and they, too are intrigued.”  Public Media Arts, Inc.

“I read with a great deal of interest your proposal . . . I believe the information is important and should be brought to the attention of the American public.  You are to be congratulated for initiating this project.  This project has my personal endorsement, as well as that of Empire District Electric Company.”  Empire District Electric Company

“I am pleased to add my personal endorsement of the objective and general approach which you have presented.  I agree the public has not been adequately and properly informed about the many aspects of the electric utility industry and I commend you in recognizing a timely approach to address a topic of major importance.  Your approach seems to be thorough and the outline of thoughts you presented inspires confidence . . . I extend best wishes in your effort to improve the level of public understanding of the electric utility industry.”
The Southern Company Services

“Gulf States Utilities is delighted to endorse your [effort].  During 1984, our Company completed construction of a new 500-kV transmission line connecting us to the Southern Company at the Mississippi State Line.  We had some rough going in the early days of the project, largely because residents near the proposed route knew very little about the history and benefits of high voltage transmission lines.”  Gulf States Utilities Company

“Your letter and proposal . . . were intriguing.  Controversy is often of more interest than plain history.  Could you put the current arguments in a historical context?”  National Economic Research Associates, Inc.

“Have today sent, as promised, the film I had prepared for the [5-5-55] ’55 Nevada [Teapot/Shot Apple II] Nevada Test, the Effects of Nuclear Weapons; the Preliminary Report of Operation Teapot, Nevada Test Site.  Hope things are proceeding well.”  Test Director, Edison Electric Institute Civil Effects Test for the Electric Utility Industry

“We believe [your effort] sounds worthwhile, and would like to add PacifiCorp to the list of companies and agencies endorsing it.  We support your intent to ‘show the genuine concern of the electric utility industry for the consumer and explain the complexities of the industry in a more clear, articulate fashion.’  The electric utilities in this country do have a positive story to tell, and [what] you can develop toward that end will be helpful.”  Pacific Power & Light Company

“. . . transmission lines are a critical component of our overall energy policy.  The California Energy Commission is weighing the advantage of encouraging additional transmission facilities to more widely share the benefit of regional electricity transfers.  Consequently, I support your [efforts].” Chairman, California Energy Commission, 1984

“I received your letter and Public Power magazine . . . I’d like to express my deepest appreciation and thanks for your thoughtfulness in sending it to me . . . I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the article about the [Salt River Project’s 500-kV transmission line] horse patrol and am looking forward to seeing your next article to come in Western Horseman.”  Darlene Higgins (Whose husband, the late Roger Higgins, Line Supt. Of Salt River Project, who suddenly passed away shortly prior to the article’s appearance in Public Powermagazine. Mesa, Arizona

“Thanks for re-submitting the shorter version of the ‘Men From Salt River.’  I’d like to buy the story, along with two of the photos you sent.  Normally, we purchase ‘first rights’ to the material, but since [the] APPA’s (American Public Power Association) journal is anxious to use it too, I don’t see any problem.”  Editor-in-Chief, Western Horseman magazine

“Please be advised the Committee is recommending that your paper be brought to the attention of the Power Engineering Society’s Public Affairs Council and the Editor of the PES Review for possible publication.”  Society Special ServicesInstitute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers/Power Engineering Society

“I wish you success and hope your effort will be recognized on television.”
Montana Power Company

“I have recently received a letter from Douglas Schema, describing his efforts to preserve a short stretch of open-wire line near Tyndall, South Dakota.  This is a matter of great interest to me, both in my role as Curator here at the Smithsonian and as Chairman of the History Center of the IEEE . . . We do what we can to encourage preservation in situ.  Pleas of this type have met with increasing numbers of positive responses . . . to the great credit of those who have acted and to the general advantage of the American people in their conservation of their cultural heritage.  This is a development of considerable technical and cultural importance, [and] one that cannot be effectively preserved in a museum and which would be extremely well represented in these lines near Tyndall . . . I encourage you strongly . . . to preserve a portion of the Tyndall line.”
Chairman of the Department of History of Science & TechnologySmithsonian Institution

“I am taking the liberty of forwarding your letter to Dr. John Little, Director, Historical Preservation Center, since it is his office which has control over these matters . . . I am sure he will do whatever he can to save the last remnant of this system.  I am sure he will want to supply you with a letter of concern and support regarding this matter.”  Director, South Dakota Historical Resource Center, South Dakota Department of Education & Cultural Affairs

“Your recent letter . . . regarding the open-wire telephone toll circuit near Tyndall, S. D., has been forwarded to me . . . I believe that the structures you describe in your letter qualify for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, although they constitute an unusual nomination . . . Thank you for writing.  Your proposal is intriguing.”  State Historical Preservation Officer, South Dakota Department of Education & Cultural Affairs

“Thank you for you’re the recent report on your meeting with Bell, it sounds very encouraging.  I shall ask John to reply to . . . Bell . . . and discuss the subject of publicity with the Company; they should certainly get some publicity for this.” Historical Survey Coordinator, South Dakota State Preservation Center

“On the basis of information supplied in Mr. Schema’s letters, it is apparent that the Tyndall open-wire crossarm circuit is a rare surviving communication artifact that warrants preservation consideration.”  Heritage Conservation & Recreation Services, United States Department of the Interior

“ . . . With respect to our efforts to assist with preservation of the Tyndall open-wire, crossarm telephone lines . . . historic preservation is of great importance to me . . . and I am anxious to be of further assistance . . . it has been particularly gratifying to work with you to try to preserve the Tyndall open-wire circuits.  You deserve the credit.  It is my hope that your efforts will meet with continued success.”  Late Hon. James Abdnor, Second District, South Dakota, United States Congress

“It was a great pleasure to talk with you recently about the open-wire toll circuits [at Tyndall, S. D.] and the Extra High Voltage transmission line between Los Angeles and Hoover Dam.  Your efforts to bring increased attention to the historical significance of these facilities are laudable.  Glad to hear that you are preserving a little technological Americana!”  AT&T Bell Laboratories

“Thank you for the two recent shipments of No. 40 Hemingray insulators [for the use on the Nevada-Utah Transcontinental Line Commemorative Monument] and two-piece phantom bracket.  We appreciate all your personal efforts to acquire them.  See you on your next visit to Reno.  I owe you a lunch!”  Telephone Pioneers, Nevada Bell Telephone Company

“You are to be commended for your efforts in helping to increase public understanding of the electric power industry through the use of television, exhibits, and the written and spoken word.  Our industry is fortunate in having advocates such as you to objectively tell and important story that affects virtually everyone in this country.”  General Manager & Chief Engineer, Department of Water & Power, City of Los Angeles

“We have discussed your project and are pleased to inform you that we are indeed interested in participating in this unique opportunity . . . Please keep us posted on your progress.  Good luck in your project.”  G & W Electric Company

“We would be glad to join in endorsing the project . . . [our] Vice President, Communications at EEI is familiar with your project and will be pleased to prepare our endorsement.”  Edison Electric Institute

“Your [effort is] meritorious.  We endorse it!”  Citizens Utilities Company

“We have reviewed your [efforts] . . . and wish to add our endorsement.  We believe that [you] can make a contribution to better understanding of the importance of transmission technology to the nation’s electric system’s [customers].”  Boston Edison Company

“I have read with great interest your letters and your proposal.  We applaud your endeavor . . . [and] wish you well.”  Mutual of Omaha Companies

“We are quite willing to cooperate with you in any way we can.  Further, our senior manager-tower sales at the time of the project is still alive and living in the Pittsburgh area.  He might well be a source of information . . . please let us know how we might be able to provide assistance.” USS Fabrication, United States Steel Corporation

“Regarding your project . . . General Electric’s Large Transformer Division would be happy to assist you in sourcing and providing any information it can . . . Please let me know if you require additional information.”  General Electric Company

“It seems that you have stirred up quite a bit of interest with your collection.  I hope all is going well with your endeavor.  Thank you for your support of T&D.”
Managing Editor, Transmission & Distribution: A Cleworth Publication

“[Arthur Hailey] very much appreciates your thinking of him regarding [your efforts].  However, it has been five years since Overload was published and even longer than that since he was actually researching and writing it.  We both wish you good luck . . . and thank you again for your interest.”Sheila Hailey (Wife of Arthur Hailey, Novelist) Nassau, The Bahamas

“We wish you every success on your effort.”  General Manager, KNX CBS Radio, Los Angeles

“President Carter appreciates your offering him the opportunity to endorse your project . . . your thoughtfulness and expression of good will mean a great deal to President Carter, and he has asked me to send you his best wishes.”  Office of Jimmy Carter Center, Atlanta, Georgia

“Your proposed [effort] is unique.  Your prospectus shall be kept on file in the event there is a future need for such a story.” Tom Brokaw, NBC News, New York

“We find [your work] interesting and hope you will keep us posted on its progress.  I recommend you direct future correspondence to our manager of external affairs, Mr. Nicholas J. Ashooh.”  Public Service of New Hampshire

“. . . I think [your efforts] would be a great opportunity to present some interesting observations to the public.  I encourage you to pursue funding for this project, and this letter is in support of your efforts.  It would please me if you would be kind enough to keep me informed as to [your] progress of this [effort].”  Mississippi Power Company

“I am responding on behalf of Montana-Dakota Utilities Company . . . I am pleased to advise that MDU does wholeheartedly endorse the need for and the intent and direction of this [effort] . . . We are happy to join the impressive list of those who [have added] their endorsement of [your efforts].
Montana-Dakota Utilities Company

“Pursuant to Governor [Richard H.] Bryan’s request, I reviewed [your work and] . . . We believe any comprehensive treatment of something as important to the Southwest . . . has merit, and certainly would encourage you to proceed . . . Thank you for informing our office of your proposal.  We will be eager to view the results.”  Executive Assistant, The State of Nevada, Executive Chamber, Office of Richard H. Bryan, Governor

“Since the first time I heard about what you were working on and what your goals were, I have been excited for you.  This is something that I have seen and heard very, very little about since I have been in the industry since 1964.  It is sad, the industry has come this far before someone like you realized that preserving the past and the present electrical history is priceless and necessary.  [I] fell in love with the industry ‘right off the bat’ . . . started climbing poles the first week on the job before my 18th birthday.  Working for contractors, municipals, and rural electric cooperatives . . . I had the honor of working with and meeting many line workers over my plus 44 years.  During these years, I don’t recall much talk about anyone suggesting building a museum, memorial, public display or something dedicated to line workers.  I remember a few workers along the way, other than myself, mak[ing] some effort to save from the dumpster and landfill parts or out-dated materials.  Thank you for getting “The Electric Orphanage” off the ground and going . . . So, I feel personally that we need to preserve the past to help improve the future.  I am honored to have a son who chose the lineman’s trade.   [I] hope to do my part in passing on traditional trades and crafts.” Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives, Training Director (Retired).