Collins Electric
HomeAbout UsConstructionDesign/BuildGo GreenServiceTel/DataFire AlarmSecuritySafetyContact


The First Fluorescent Lighting System Installation in the World
Springfield Armory Factory Building


-Article and photographs from 1939-

The Springfield Armory (ordnance Dept. U. S. Army) has recently completed a new factory which has caused a great deal of comment because of its lighting.

The Principal source of interest in this particular factory is the use of continuous strip fluorescent lighting, employing the new 100 watt five foot fluorescent lamp, probably the first installation of its kind in America.

When the Ordnance Dept. decided last summer to erect a new factory, it engaged the engineering services of Chas. T. Main, Inc. of Boston, and the construction services of Fred T. Ley & Co. Inc., of Springfield, Mass. Shortly after the decision to build was made, it came to the attention of the engineers that the new 100 watt fluorescent lamp was almost ready for production, and feeling that the new factory should have the best possible lighting for its precision work, they quickly planned this continuous strip method which as proven so successful in operation.

The factory manufacturing floor is 480 feet long and 190 feet wide, composed of 60 bays measuring 40 x 38 feet each. Each bay is lighted by three continuous strips of two lamp fluorescent reflectors, each strip consisting of six R.L.M. reflectors with two 100 watt lamps. The reflectors are hung on guy wires at mounting heights of 15 1/2 feet from the floors and are switched at each bay with circuit breaker switches in the steel columns.

The entire installation was engineered, designed, manufactured and installed in a period of slightly over three months. The results have been so satisfactory that scores of engineers from all over the United States have visited the factory to inspect it, and their comments would indicate that this type of lighting will probably be very generally used in the near future.

Each bay (40' x 38') has a total of 36 lamps, which with the auxiliaries consume a total of 4230 watts per bay. Computing the cost of current at the Springfield Armory rate, each bay costs approximately 5 1/4 cents per hour. Reducing it to man-hours, with an average of 20 men working in each bay, the current cost is approximately 1/4 cent per man-hour--a surprisingly low cost for 50-60 candles of lighting at the working plane.

The initial foot candle readings are between 60 and 70 foot candles, but after the lamps are 'seasoned" and depreciation and dust is considered, it is expected that the year-round average will be between 50 and 60 foot candles.

The original cost of this installation as compared with a 20 foot candle installation of mercury-vapor and tungsten filament lamps would probably be almost double, but against this might be computed so many items of increased efficiency of the workers and lower the cost of current that the first cost is readily justified.

The installation was made under a sub-contract from Fred T. Ley & Co., Inc., by Collins Electric Company, Inc., of Springfield, who completed the installation well ahead of schedule. The manufacturer of the lighting equipment was the Miller Company of Meriden, Conn., whose record of delivery was remarkable under the circumstances.

The entire installation was encouraged by Capt. R. J. Forsyth, the Ordnance Department Engineer at the Springfield Armory, whose broad experience in electrical engineering impelled him to be satisfied with nothing but the best and most efficient lighting for the new factory.

The Constructing Quartermaster in charge was Lieut.-Col. M. A. McFadden who was succeeded by Capt. P. G. Petterson who was succeeded by Lieut.-Col L.H. Grandy.

Brig.-Gen. G. H. Stewart is Commanding Officer of the Springfield Armory.