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 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.