Song of the Open Wire: An Important Part of The Electric Orphanage of North America, Inc.

 Have An Orphan?


Mike Womochil, Commercial Storage Asst. Mgr. at Solomon Corporation, prepares these 1939 donated California GE Pre-Spiracore 1939 conventional 4.16-kV units so they may have a productive retirement with The Electric Orphanage.

Solomon Corporation, both a domestic and international leader in electric power distribution and transmission; as well as voltage protection, regulation and transformation equipment, has lent its great reputation and sensitivity to technical history to The Electric Orphanage’s work.  We invite you to contact their expert personnel regarding your utility’s recloser, regulator and transformer asset needs.  You will be treated exceptionally well.

Michaels Power Contractors of Wisconsin, gifted to The Electric Orphanage a complete 34.5-kV 5-degree angle structure with 12.47-kV distribution underbuild was removed thanks to their exceptional philosophy of preservation.


Michels Corporation, a Wisconsin-based power, telecom and pipeline construction firm, is distinguished by its commitment to provide safe, quality, full-service electric utility construction throughout the United States. Michels constructs and maintains substations, distribution, and transmission infrastructure up and including 500-kV rated systems.


Michelshalmark work with utilities, municipalities, cooperatives and public power districts is well known because of its great people, modern equipment, safe and efficient service and end-to-end solutions.


The Electric Orphanage of North America, Inc. . . . and Innovative Solution


An innovative solution: The Electric Orphanage.  A national power system, telecommunications and roadway lighting education, professional training and history center.  Here’s the chance to tell your story! 


Since its 1957 embryonic Iowa origins, the project has fluorished by addressing the Industry’s urgent need for a dynamic engine of public elightenment and mid-continent training facility benefiting electric cooperatives, IOUs, public power agencies, line contractors, equipment manufacturers and their worthy employees.


We are neither a salvage dealer nor a re-seller.  “Retirees” complement our mobile exhibit programs by targeting consumer energy education and professional development training.  Donated utility equipment is never again energized, sold, nor transferred from the project.


You are now visiting our project’s communications history emphasis which involves only one significant part of a triad for educational, preservation and conservation program coverage:


Transmission & Distribution Technologies of Electric Power Collection

Street and Area Outdoor Lighting Technologies Collection

Soon, there will be a major, national museum devoted to these three thriving areas of historical interest.  Prior to this, similar web locations as “Song” stands today, where you may re-discover these appealing topics as you have discovered open wire history here today.


Re-cycle.  Re-educate.  Re-invest.  Re-invigorate.  Join the many other utilities who have put “green” in their obsolescent materials management by working with The Electric Orphanage


Meet the Founder, Director and Curator

Douglas G. Schema, M. A., M. A.

When you’ve been involved with an interest for over fifty years, passions run deep.

Photo taken of Italian 115-kV three-phase FOA Autotransformers at Gavin’s Point Dam, Yankton, SD, when facility was completed.

In 1960, Doug’s interest in power had already been alive for four years.


Let’s Introduce Mr. Schema and Learn About How He Became So Enamored of This Technology

  • IEEE/Power Engineering Society Affiliate Member, Kansas City Chapter
  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Kansas City Chapter Member
  • Investment Recovery Association Associate Member
  • Sierra Club of Kansas

Have An Orphan PowerPoint [Recovered]2


Professional Experience:

Illustrator for forthcoming (2015) national book on the history of American electrical lineworkers authored by Alan Drew, P. E.;

Author of 50th year corporate commemorative social and technical history on a leading Kansas Independent communications company to be published 2014;

Contacts with utilities, line construction contractors, equipment manufacturers throughout all 50 states;

Television and production credit;

General Manager, The Electric Orphanage non-profit organization;

Commercial Artist to the Electric, Outdoor Lighting and Communications industries;

Professional speaker;

International marketing connections with equipment suppliers world-wide;

Professional museum and historical administration training, education and experience.

Member of industry-related groups and organizations.

Over 15 years of information research in medicine, allied health sciences, legal, dentistry and nursing subject areas.

Specialist in public, state and local document collection research.

Oral History Professional having conducted work for various public organizations, such as utilities, transportation companies and individuals around the U. S.

Engineered multi-million dollar communication engineering projects for various companies in north Texas.

Demonstated competence in managing multiple project efforts.

Managed clinical trials for pharmaceutical research in a regulatory capacity.

Specialist in supply chain and investment recovery processes.

Attendance in industry-wide trade shows and expositions.

Familiarity with RUS Electric & Telephone specifications.

Familiarity with USBR specifications and contracts.

Industrial professional photography experience.

 Awards and Recognitions:

Endorsements from over 50 U. S. utility executives for efforts through The Electric Orphanage’s work

Professionally trained exhibit and Creative Display capabilities

Called nation’s attention to the first-ever nomination potential of an open wire toll circuit to the National Historical Record process as an in-situ application.

Personal support by the Smithsonian Institution’s History of Technology Director with the open wire preservation cause;

As seen in Texas Cooperative’s Manager’s Newsletter Transmission & Distribution, Rural Electrification magazine,  Asset 2.0, the Journal of the Investment Recovery Association, Public Power, the Journal of the American Public Power Association and Kansas Electric Cooperatives’Kansas Country Living.

Twenty plus years of public speaking experience.

Flourishes in a “cold call” sales environment.

Street lighting collection attracted national attention in trade publications.

 Bio: South Dakota born, Iowa-raised, Missouri and Kansas-educated, Texas-appreciated, Douglas Schema has been associated with electric and telecommunications companies since 1957.  This U. S. telecommunications and electric utility industry veteran’s uniquely dual backgrounds led him to establish the non-profit The Electric Orphanage.  Since its 1957 embryonic Iowa origins, the project has flourished by addressing the utility industry’s urgent need for a dynamic engine of consumer enlightenment and mid-continent training center benefiting cooperatives, investor-owned electric utilities, public power agencies and municipals, line construction contractors and their employees.




Now available as a Trade Paperback.


A Major Contribution to the History of the North American Lineman to be Released in October 2015


Look for Alan Drew’s lavishly illustrated and documented landmark history paying tribute to the annals of the North American lineman! Commissioned to provide chapter artwork, I am proud to pay my tribute to the trade!.


What Others Have Said About The Electric Orphanage of North America, Inc.


As published from the “Asset 2.0 Journal,” the publication of the Investment Recovery Association.

As published in Rural Electrification “RE” magazine.

As seen in the Texas Electric Cooperatives’ “Managers’ Report.”

As published in Transmission & Distribution magazine.

Help put that passion to work for our industry . . .

Today, surrounded by ‘orphans,’ The Electric Orphanage’s adoptive processes involve all manner of power T&D, outdoor lighting and telecommunications technology preservation.

These orphaned 1975 General Electric FKD frame-mounted, single tank, 1200-amp Distribution Oil Circuit Breakers, donated by Auburn Public Works, a Nebraska public power utility, reside with us.

Going to a new home! Their new mission in retirement will educate and inspire people of all ages.