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Full text of "Theatre Lighting : Past and Present"










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Copyright 1923 

Ward Leonard Electric Company 

Mount Vernon, N. Y. 



Printed in U. S. A. 







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WITHOUT perfect control, light- 
ing in the theatre, instead of 
being an irresistible means to every end 
of dramatic effect, would be continuously 
a hindrance and a stumbling block. Of 
course, the crux of control in electric 
lighting is in the Dimmer System — and 
there, perhaps, more than in any other 
single department, the Ward Leonard 
Electric Company has excelled and does 
excell all competitors. I am sure that 
without the aid I have received through 
their cooperation, during many years, 
I could not have achieved many of the 
finest, most beautiful effects which it 
has been my privilege to set before an 
appreciative public. 

David Belasco 



J 




FOR EWORD 

HERE is no art more important in the modern 
theatrical production than the skilful use of light. 

1 Scenic effects that are realistic and lifelike are 
made possible by perfectly controlled lighting of varying 
intensity and color; then, too, proper lighting has a psycho- 
logical value, causing the audience to absorb the atmos- 
phere and feeling of the play without realizing how the 
effect is produced. 

Eminent theatrical producers have always recognized the 
desirability of lighting control. Indeed, most of them even to 
the present day have been, and still are, pioneers in the de- 
velopment of lighting technique. Especially is this true of 
electric lighting. In fact, one of the earliest practical appli- 
cations of electric lighting was in the Paris Opera, where it 
was first used in 1846. 

* 

In looking up the history of theatre lighting we found 
no record of a comprehensive assembly of historical facts. 
Therefore, we have included a brief outline of the history 
of theatre lighting in this book, the prime purpose of which 
is to present the development, construction and use of the 
Ward Leonard theatre lighting control system. 

We believe that many of the facts included in this book 
will be of interest to theatrical producers and lighting ex- 
perts. If any of our readers find the subject matter worthy 
of comment, we shall be glad to receive criticisms and addi- 
tional data which may be included in a later edition. 

WARD LEONARD ELECTRIC COMPANY 






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Figure 1 — One of the earliest references to theatre lighting in literature — 
Sciena di Comoedia, 1628, by Joseph Furtenbach. 

TRJXJLATIO^ 

"The stage is like a bridge upon which the play is unfolded. It is described in 
my oft mentioned drawing book on page 87. For such a big play, the front 
of the stage should be 24 Braza wide, the back of the stage 12 Braza wide, 20 
Braza is the length. The side screens or wings which are partly covered by the 
curtain are 3 Braza wide for the purpose of preventing the audience from seeing 
behind the scenes. Behind these wings there are a number of candles or oil 
lamps which light the scenes with great splendor and brilliancy. It also shines 
on the clouds and produces an effect that is like bright daylight in the night- 
time. In front of the stage there is a 3 Braza high wall which reaches almost 
up to a man's eye. Just behind this wall there is a space approximately 1H 
Braza wide, in which the musicians are located out of sight of the audience. 
On the rear of this wall there is mounted a row of oil lamps concealed from 
the audience but throwing a strong light on the stage, giving the effect of 
daylight as mentioned above." 



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TORICAL NOTE 





BIRTH OF THE THEATRE 

N a circular space at the foot of 
a hill, hundreds of years before 
the Christian Era, Greek choruses 
danced and sang by the light of day 
in honor of Dionysus, the God of 
Wine. The spectators were accom- 
modated on rows of seats rising one 
above the other up the slope. In the 
center of the ring there stood a 
sacrificial table and the leader of the 
chorus, following a natural impulse, 
would occasionally mount this table so 
that he might be more effective. Thus 
this table was the beginning of the 



Greek stage which at a later date was 
built at the back of the circle, or 
orchestra, in the form of a narrow 
platform. 

ROMAN THEATRE 

The Romans followed the general 
theatre plan of the Greeks, but their 
architectural system of arches enabled 
them to erect the entire edifice, with 
its tiers of seats, from the level ground. 
They enlarged the stage, introduced 
drop curtains, provided dressing rooms 
for the actors, and placed seats in the 
orchestra for Senators and other dis- 
tinguished persons. 



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Figure 2 — Development of the modern theatre from the ancient theatres of Greece and Rome 

From The Brickbuilder, December, 1914. 



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ORIGIN OF DRAMA 
About the middle of the sixth cen- 
tury B. C, dramatic exhibitions were 
introduced and they soon became 
contests in literary and musical skill. 
The first tragedy competition is said 
to have been won by Thespis in the 
year 535 B. C. These spectacles were 
usually presented during the festivals 
and evidently the populace showed 
great interest in them for one theatre 
at Athens is said to have accommo- 
dated 30,000 persons. 

Realistic scenic effects in the modern 
sense were unknown. The spectacles 
were presented by daylight, and the 
dignified architecture of the stage build- 
ing itself was the scene of action. 

For four hundred years after the 
advent of the Christian Era the ancient 
dramas flourished, then they seem to 
have gradually disappeared and finally 
became buried in obscurity. 



MIRACLE PLAYS 

In the year 1110 
we find the first traces 
of a long series of 
"Miracle Plays", so 
termed because they 
exhibited events and 
mysteries of scripture. 
They originated 
through a desire to 
enlighten the people 
in the rudiments of 
Christianity. These 
scriptural plays were 
the earliest dramatic 
entertainments in all 
parts of Europe. They 
were first presented 
on rough platforms 





n^HE earliest j or m of light 
source was the blazing 
pine knot. An iron basket 
called a "cresset 11 acted as 
holder for the flaming wood. 
The design here shown was 
used in the fifteenth century. 



Figure 3 — Admission checks to theatre at Dionysus 
Greece. — From The Brickbuilder. 



erected within churches or close by. 
As their popularity increased, stages 
were built in public squares or large 

open fields, the audi- 
ence or spectators sit- 
ting in the open. Vari- 
ous forms of construc- 
tion were used to ac- 
commodate the differ- 
ent scenes, which were 
really a series of tab- 
leaux. In some cases 
three stages were ar- 
ranged side by side, 
inclined at obtuse an- 
gles, and the spectators 
turned from one to an- 
other with each change 
of scene. Other stages 
were built one above 
the other; a structure 



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Figure 4 — Diagrammatic sketch of the stage described 
by Joseph Furtenbach in 1528 (see figure 1). 

of nine stories was erected at Metz in 

1427. 

Portable stages were also in general 
use at this time. Mounted on wheels 
they resembled a small two-story house 
with one side removed. The stage was 
on one level, the other being devoted 
to dressing rooms. These portable 
stages were drawn from place to 
place, and thus the theatre as well as 
the play was brought to the people in 
isolated sections of the country. 

STAGE LIGHTING INTRODUCED 

The performances of the fifteenth 
century were mostly given by daylight, 
and it seems probable that the first 
artificial lighting was introduced at 
this time in the shape of sconces of 
candles burned before a shrine. The 
literature at this time gives vague 
references of the use of flares and 
squibs to give local color to the devils, 



thus marking the realization of the 
value of lighting for its psychological 
influence, entirely aside from its use for 
illumination. 

PROGRESS OF THE DRAMA 
A new species of plays called "Moral- 
ities' ' became popular about the middle 
of the fifteenth century. In these pro- 
ductions, vices, virtues, mental attri- 
butes and the like were personified by 
the various characters. Following the 
Morality plays, Comedies and Trage- 
dies based on historical events, romance 
and many other interesting subjects 
made their appearance. About the year 
1 59 1 the great luminary of the dramatic 
world, "Shakespeare," blazed forth and 
produced in quick succession a series 
of plays, which have for two centuries 
and a half found few if any equals. 

BEGINNING OF MODERN THEATRE 
In the sixteenth century, although 
most theatrical performances took 
place on stages set in court-yards, 
there were a number of instances where 
special buildings were constructed for 
the presentation of ^^^^^^^^ 
plays. Usually these 
theatres were circular 
in form and open to the 
sky, the stage alone 
being sheltered from 
storms. Theatres of 
this kind were con- 
structed in England 
and on the continent. 

Toward the close of 
the sixteenth century, 
completely enclosed 
theatres were erected 
in England. Perform- 
ances were given in the 



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Figure 5 — Thomas 
Wignell, manager 
of the John Street 
theatre, lighting 
President Washing- 
ton to his box. 
Taken from Horn- 
blow's History of 
the Theatre in 
America. 



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Figure 6 — Interior of the famous John Street theatre which was built in 1767 and frequently attended by 
George Washington. Candles succeeded the open-flame oil lamps in theatre lighting, and the earliest 
American theatres including this one were lighted by candles. This illustration was taken from Hornblow's 
History of the Theatre in America. 



evening. The stage and 
interior were illumin- 
ated by cressets, lan- 
terns and candles. 
Stage lighting became 
of greater importance, 
and the possibilities of 
scenic illusions were 
soon to claim the at- 
tention of theatrical 
managers. 

At this time the chief 
sources of artificial il- 
lumination were the 
same as they had been 
for thousands of years 
previous. Torches 
made of pine knots, 





QPEN-FLAME oil lamps 
in which the wick floated 
in the oil were used in pre- 
historic times. Lamps of this 
type are found in ruins dat- 
ing back to 7000 and 8000 
years B. C. 



crude forms of lamps 
which burned animal 
or vegetable oil, and 
candles of wax or tal- 
low comprised the com- 
plete assortment of 
artificial illuminants — 
the same smoking in- 
efficient means for 
producing light that 
had been used by the 
Greeks, Romans and 
early Christians. 

FOOTLIGHTS 

Although David 
Garrick in London is 
given credit for intro- 



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clucing footlights in 1755 when he 
placed a row of candles below and in 
front of the stage and masked them 
by metal screens, it is a fact that foot- 



lights were introduced much earlier 
than this. For instance, Joseph Fur- 
tenbach in Germany wrote in 1628 
giving specifications for a stage which 



Batten Lights 





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Figure 7 — Details of gas lighting equipment taken from Building Neius, October 1894. This illustration shows 
construction of batten lights, wing lights and footlights, and indicates layout of control board from which the 
dimming and brightening of the lights was manipulated. 



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provided footlights. According to his 
description the stage was a platform 
inclined toward the audience. In front 
of the stage there was a place for the 
orchestra, behind which was erected a 
wall to screen the musicians from the 
spectators. A row of oil lamps on the 
stage side of the wall furnished the foot- 
lights. There were wings on each side of 
the stage — in these wings rows of oil 
lamps were hung. The rough sketch 
in Figure 4 gives the ideas set forth in 
his description which unfortunately was 
not illustrated. David Garrick also 
used invisible side lights as described 
by Furtenbach. These lights are now 
known as "borders.' ' 

Furtenbach speaks of using candles 
or oil lamps but seems to prefer oil 
lamps. In Garrick's time the entire 
stage was lighted by candles,, two or 
more groups were hung in the form of 
a corona above the stage, footlights 
were placed in front and invisible lights 
on either side. The 
object was simply the 
illumination of the 
players. The artistic 
value of stage lighting 
had not vet been 
evolved. 

The amusing thing 
about the descriptions 
of theatre lighting sys- 
tems from earliest times 
is that all writers pro- 
claim the lighting sys- 
tem as giving brilliant 
illumination. Candles 
and oil lamps are all 
described in the same 
glowing terms in the 




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r T J HE tallow candle fol- 
lowed the open-flame lamp, 
dating from the first century. 
In the theatre, candles were 
usually protected by shades 
which served the double pur- 
pose of guarding the flame 
from drafts and cutting off 
the light that would other- 
wise shine in the faces of the 
audience. 



Figure 8 — Detail of footlight construction showing 
reflectors, gas lamps, feed piping and arrangements for 
carrying away smoke and products of combustion. 



early days of their application. 

EARLY AMERICAN STAGE LIGHTING 

The early theatres of America used 
the same crude methods of lighting 
the stage and auditorium that was 
then in vogue in Europe. The historic 
John Street theatre, erected in 1767, 
and New York's leading playhouse for 
thirty years, was lighted by candles. 

To keep the candles burning brightly 
it was necessary to trim the wicks. 
One or more attendants were assigned 

the task of caring for 
the lights. Probably 
it was not an unusual 
occurrence if a diminu- 
tion of lighting neces- 
sitated their making a 
round of the footlights 
during a tense scene 
of action upon the 
stage. 

Somewhat better 
systems of oil illumi- 
nation gradually de- 
veloped. Lamps with 
glass chimneys were 
devised. More efficient 
lighting was obtainable 
by the use of cam- 



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Figure 9 — Apparatus used to represent an artificial 
sun in the production of The Prophet' in the Paris 
Opera in 1846. An electric arc was located at the 
focus of a parabolic mirror and the beam of parallel 
rays projected upon a silk screen. This was the earliest 
authentic application of electric light on the stage. 
This illustration and the six following were taken from 
La Lumiere Electrique, by Emile Alglave and J. 
Boulard. 



phine, kerosene oil and other high- 
grade illuminants. These new devel- 
opments supplanted candles and other 
means of lighting in the theatres. 
It was a common sight to see hundreds 
of oil lamps burning. They hung in 
clusters from the ceilings and projected 
from the walls, balconies and boxes. 
They were used on the stage as foot- 
lights, as sidelights and were suspended 
from above. In certain theatres it 
was customary to hang oil lamps over 
the stage in front of the curtain line. 

Despite the number of lamps used, 
they threw over the stage only enough 
light to make the players recognizable. 
The scenery and properties also re- 
mained in semi-obscurity. There was 
no feasible way of controlling the lights 
either in the body of the house or on 



the stage. Attempts were made to 
show the changes from night to day 
and vice versa by the mechanical 
interposition of screens. This crude 
method was very unsatisfactory but 
nothing better was known and the spec- 
tators were content. It was not a rare 
occurrence for one or more lamp chim- 
neys to break in the footlights, or other 
parts of the house, and a dense black 
cloud of smoke to rise interfering with 
vision of the spectators and poisoning 
the atmosphere. When critical persons 
expressed displeasure, others reminded 
them of the tallow candles with which 
the theatregoers once had to be satisfied, 
and of the nuisance of having snuffers 
perform their functions in the midst 
of a tense situation. 




Figure 10 — The second important development in 
electric scenic effects was the representation of a 
rainbow by means of the apparatus here shown. This 
device was used in the production of "Moses" in the 
Paris Opera in 1860. Light from an arc was passed 
through an arc-shaped slot, after which the rays were 
concentrated by means of a lens and passed through a 
prism which produced the spectrum. 



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Figure 11 — The scene in the Opera "Moses" in which the rainbow was produced as explained in Figure 10. 



GAS LIGHTING 

Then a new era dawned in the history 
of stage lighting. Gas 
developments made 
possible scenic effects 
that were miracles in 
comparison to those of 
the daylight, candle 
light and oil light 
periods. 

A method for making 
gas in sufficient quanti- 
ties to be used for il- 
luminating purposes 
was devised in 1781, 
by Mr, Wm. Murdock, 
an English engineer. 
In London, in 1803, 
Frederick Albert Wind- 
sor tried the experi- 




A FTER the candle in 
'^ domestic lighting, came 
the open-fla?ne camphine 
burner, which consisted of 
one or more round wicks in- 
serted into a vessel of clean- 
burning camphine oil. 



ment of lighting the stage of the 
Lyceum theatre with gas. This form 

of lighting was 
introduced into 
America at Philadel- 
phia in 1796. where it 
was used for purposes 
of exterior decoration. 
In the year 1816, a 
system of gas lighting 
was installed in the 
Chestnut Street Opera 
House, Philadelphia. 
There were no munici- 
pal gas plants with 
large street mains and 
radiating feeder pipes 
at this time. It was 
necessary for theatre 
managers, who desired 



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Figure 72— Realistic lightning was produced in the 
Paris Opera in 1860 by means of a so-called magic 
mirror, which consisted of a parabolic mirror with an 
electric arc at the focus. An electro-magnet operated 
by a thumb switch permitted the carbon electrodes of 
the arc to be snapped together at will, thus producing 
flashes like lightning. 



to install illuminating gas, to arrange 
for its manufacture on their premises. 
At first the methods of manufacture 
and control were rough and improvised, 




and though gas provided more illumi- 
nation than candles or oil lamps it 
did not come into general use until 
about 1850. 

LIGHT CONTROL 

The value of gas lighting in the 
theatre was due, not so much to its great- 
er illuminating power, as to its being 
subject to regulation and control. The 
new system and its development was a 
revelation to the public. Auditoriums 




Figure 13 — The first electric spot light was apparently 
the one here shown. It was employed in the Paris 
Opera in connection with the production of ' "Moses 
1860. 



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Figure 14 — The lamp here shown is a special spot light 
intended for lighting a definite point in the scene, but 
not for following the movements of the players. It 
consists of an arc lamp located at the focus of a para- 
bolic mirror. 



were darkened during the action of the 
play — an improvement heretofore im- 
possible. It was found that darkness 
and shadow, under control were equally 
as important factors as light in pro- 
ducing effects. 

Elaborate lighting systems were de- 
vised. Mains sometimes more than 
12 inches in diameter were used and 



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Figure IS — Scene in the Opera '"Moses" in which a spot light was used to bring out Moses in his white robes. 
This scene was particularly effective as the contrast between Moses and his surroundings appeared little short 
of miraculous; electric light being very little known and spotlight never having been previously used. 



many thousands of feet 
fixed and flexible, were 
Lyceum theatre at 
London, and the Boston 
theatre in America were, 
two of the first to be 
completely equipped 
and so arranged that 
the lights were con- 
trolled from one point 
in the building. A regu- 
lator located near the 
"prompter" was em- 
ployed for the purpose. 
Open-flame gas lights 
were used at first, and 
later glass chimneys 
were added to protect 
the flame from air 
currents. It was the 



of feeder pipe, general custom to turn the gas flames 
installed. The low in the auditorium rather than out; 

because methods that 
had been invented for 
lighting the gas were 
generally so imperfect 
that a considerable 
amount of gas escaped 
and contaminated the 
atmosphere before all 
the jets would ignite. 
However, changes from 
"full on" to "dark out" 
were occasionally con- 
sidered necessary on 
the stage itself during 
the play, and were 
therefore made even 
at the risk of fire. 




r TTHE kerosene lamp with 
an adjustable wick was 
invented in 1783 in France. 
The glass chimney quickly 
followed. It was many years 
before it came into general 
use. 



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Figure 16 — Cross-section of electrically lighted theatre constructed in Munich for the International Electro- 
Technical Exposition in 1882. This was a remarkable installation which inspired theatrical managers all over 
the world. It will be noted that arc lamps are used in the auditorium — the lamps themselves being invisible 
and their light transmitted through a skylight — a system of lighting which is still popular. The electrician who 
operates the dimmer may be seen at the side, his dimmer being located on the floor below. Footlights, battens, 
wing lights and bunch lights are all shown in action. This illustration and the six following, were taken 
from La Lumiere Elect rique, August, 1883. 



ILLUMINATION BY LIME LIGHTS 

During this same period another form 
of illumination was developed that was 
destined to be of great value in stage 
lighting. Henry Drummond in 1816 
discovered that by raising a piece of 
lime to a high temperature, it became 
incandescent and gave out a brilliant 
white light. This calcium or lime light, 
as it was called, came into general use 
for stage illumination about 1860. It 
was produced by playing a burning 
mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, upon 
a block of lime. The light was so con- 
centrated and localized that it was soon 
adopted for use as a spot light to follow 



the hero or some other character about 
the stage. It also aided the imagina- 
tion in such effects as light shining 
through a window, moon light, sun rays 
and the like. In some cases lime lights 
were used for the general illumination 
of the stage, a number of lamps being 
set at different points throughout the 
body of the house, and their rays direc- 
ted upon the stage. 

The principle of the lime light once 
understood led to the invention and 
development of incandescent gas man- 
tles, which increased the lighting value 
of gas many fold. Such mantle burners 
were introduced on the stage for foot- 



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Figure 17 — Detail of footlights shown in Figure 16. 
These lamps were connected with a dimmer for regula- 
tion of intensity. Change in color was also provided 
by mechanical means, each lamp being fitted with a 
revolving screen, one section of which gave the natural 
light, the two other sections being blue and red respec- 
tively. The change from one color to the next was made 
by pulling a cord so connected as to turn the screens. 

lights, proscenium lights, border lights 
and bunch lights. 

COLOR LIGHTING INTRODUCED 

Many of the possibilities of effective 
stage lighting were realized at the time 
gas lighting was in vogue. Much 
thought was given to scenic illusions 
and colored lights were introduced in 
a simple form. Henry Irving, one of the 
pioneers in color development, devised 
an arrangement for 
drawing thin colored 
silk or some other trans- 
parent material in front 
of the lights. Occasion- 
all v the bull's-eve of the 
lime light was covered 
in the same way. Gen- 
eral color effects were 
produced — one domin- 
ating color thrown over 
the stage was usually 
the limit of the color 
scheme. 

DISADVANTAGES OF 

GAS 

While gas lighting 

was a great improve- 





QPEN-FLAME gas burn- 
er was invented in Scot- 
land in 1782. This form of 
lighting was used wherever 
the requirements were suffi- 
cient to justify the expense 
of a gas generating and dis- 
tributing system. One of its 
earliest uses was in the 
theatre. 



Figure 18 — Detail of batten lights shown in Figure 16. 
These lamps are controlled in the same way as those 
described in Figure 17. 

ment over the earlier forms of 
illumination, and permitted many 
spectacular effects theretofore impos- 
sible, it possessed serious disadvan- 
tages. Stage lighting equipment took 
up almost as much room as the scenery 
itself. Rubber tubes trailed in every di- 
rection across the stage and wings. The 
"rising moon," a gas flame back of a 
transparent yellow disk dragged its gas 
tube behind as it ascended the scenic 
heavens, by means of an ingenious 
system of pulleys. The light of the 
moon wabbled uncertainly, and the 
pulleys creaked, still it was somewhat' 
better than earlier representations by 

means of a lantern 
mounted on the end 
of a stick. 

Many theatre fires 
were caused accidently 
while lighting the gas 
by the wabbling among 
the inflammable scenery 
of a blazing spirit wad 
on the end of a long cane. 
In an article on the 
4 'Lighting of Theatres' ' 
which appeared in the 
"Builder" on August 
3, 1861, the writer 
describes additional 
disadvantages of gas 
lighting, as follows: 



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1 ' The upper 
boxes and galleries 
are oppressively hot, 
the view of the stage 
is interfered with, 
and whatever there 
is of ventilation is 
chiefly productive of 
a current from the 
stage which carries 
sound up to the 
ventilator instead of 
allowing it to pass 
to the audience. As 
regards the float 
(footlights) the dan- 
ger for dancers is 
consi dera b 1 e as 
shown bv sad 
accidents. The ob- 
struction not only by 
the reflectors but also 
by the visible smoke 
is great, while the 
heated air is unfavor- 
able in every respect 
to the actors and 
their efforts, and the 
light dazzles their 





Figure 19 — Detail of 
wing lights shown in 
Figure 16. The color 
of the light from these 
lamps was changed by 
hoisting and lowering 
color screens. Like all 
the other lamps in the 
theatre, these also were 
connected to a dimmer. 



eyes." 



PROGRESSIVE DEVELOPMENT IN 
STAGE LIGHTING 

In 1808 Sir Humphrey Davy ex- 
hibited the first electric arc in England. 
Some 30 years later the arc came into 
limited use for special illuminating 
effects. The earliest arcs were operated 
with direct current, the arc being 
formed between two carbon rods con- 
nected in an electric circuit; it was 
started by bringing the tips of the 
rods together, and then separating 
them. The light was emitted by the 



positive carbon which became white 
hot at the point where the electricity 
passed from this carbon to the opposite 
one. In operation the carbons were 
slowly consumed and in the beginning 
frequent adjustment by hand had to 
be made. 

INTRODUCTION OF ELECTRIC LIGHT 
The Paris Opera was the cradle of 
electric stage lighting. In 1846 an 
astonishing representation of the rising 
sun was produced by means of an arc 
placed at the focus of a parabolic re- 
flector and arranged to cast a beam of 
light on a silk screen (see Figure 9). 
This device which was used in "The 
Prophet" was developed by M. J. 
Duboscq who was a co-worker with 
Foucault. In 1855, M. Duboscq was 




Figure 20— Bunch light for concentrated illumination 
for certain points in the scene. Its use is illustrated 
in Figure 16. 



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permanently retained by the opera, and 
five years later he developed a number 
of important contributions to the 
art of theatre lighting in connection 
with Rossini's Opera "Moses/' Among 
these effects were the following: A 
perfect rainbow; lightning flashes and 

spotlights. 

The rainbow was made by passing 
light from an electric arc through an 
arc-shaped shutter into a concentrating 
lens, and from there dispersing the rays 
according to the spectrum by means of 
a prism as shown in Figure 10. 

Lightning was produced by means of 
a parabolic mirror at the focus of which 
an electric arc was located. The arc 
was flashed on and off by snapping the 
carbons together. An electro-magnet 
was used for operating the carbons as 
shown in Figure 1 2. 

Two forms of spotlight were em- 
ployed; one with the enclosed arc ar- 
ranged for manipulation by hand and 
equipped with shutters which permitted 
the cutting off of the 
light at will, and the 
other with a parabolic 
reflector back of an 
arc. The latter was 
particularly adapted to 
the illumination of 
certain spots on the 
stage, while the former 
was intended for use in 
following a performer 
as he moved about the 
stage. In this case it 
was specially intended 
to illuminate Moses and 
make his white robes 
stand out from all the 
rest. 





'T'HE in candescent mantle 
in connection with the 
gas burner, invented in Ger- 
many in 1890, was an enor- 
mous improvement over the 
open flame and was quickly- 
adopted by the theatre. 



Figure 21 — Dimmer rheostat and control board shown 
in the foreground of Figure 16. It will be noted that 
this dimmer provides individual control for each 
rheostat by means of a lever handle. These handles 
can also be attached to a longitudinal bar which is 
operated by a slow motion wheel from the front. In 
this way independent control or interlocked control 
was obtained. 



A luminous fountain was also pro- 
duced at this time. 

JABLOCHKOFF CANDLES 

Since the earliest arcs were arranged 
for hand adjustment of the carbons, 

they were adapted only 
for use in lamps that 
could be personally at- 
tended. In 1878 Paul 
Jablochkoff caused a 
great sensation in the 
theatrical world by the 
introduction of his 
electric candle, which 
consisted of two carbon 
rods mounted side by 
side and separated by 
an insulating compound 
which would melt 
away, once the arc was 
started, just fast 
enough to permit the 
continuous burning of 



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the arcs across 
the upper ends. 
In 1 879 the 
Bellecour Thea- 
tre at Lyons, 
France, was 
equipped with 
52 of these elec- 
tric candles, 12 
of them being 
installed on the 
stage. 

Electric light- 
ing with Jablochkoff candles did not 
come into general use and gas lighting 
was still the common means of lighting 
theatres at this time. 




Figure 22 — Circuit diagram 
of open-coil type of dimmer 
rheostat. From La Lumiere 
Electrique, April, 1884. 



INCANDESCENT LAMPS 

In 1879 when the Jablochkoff candle 
was just starting its career in Europe, 
Edison in America invented his incan- 
descent lamp and this was soon brought 
into practical form by the contributions 
of various other inventors. Again the 
Grand Opera in Paris led the way. 
The Director, M. Gamier, reported in 
1879 to the Minister of Public Works 
that the vapors from the gas were dis- 
coloring and destroying the beautiful 
paintings of Baudry which hung in the 
foyer. 

The result of this report was a 
series of experiments with various 
systems of electric lighting, and these 





> : 



Figure 23 — The electric lighting and control system used in the Paris Opera and described in IS Illustration, 
June, 1887. The insert shows the comparison between electric and gas batten lights and wing lights. The 
dimmers are extremely interesting. It will be noted that the rheostats are mounted below the floor, and the 
leads brought up to contact buttons, connection to which is manipulated by means of lever arms. These lever 
arms can be adjusted independently or locked to a master shaft which is operated from the end by hand. 



21 



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; igun 24 — In the early days of electric lighting in theatres, each theatre provided its own electricity. The 
earliest installations employed batteries. Here is shown the power plant of the Paris Opera, as given in the 
June, 1887. issue of V Illustration. 



tests which were made 
in 1880 and 1881 consti- 
tuted the first theatrical 
in ; illation of incan- 
descent lamps. 

MANAGERS FAVOR 
1 I ECTRIC LIGHT 

Theatre lighting by 
means of electricity re- 
ceived a tremendous 
impulse from an exhibit 
at the Electro-Techni- 
cal Exposition at Mu- 
nich in 1882. where a 
small theatre complete- 
ly lighted by electricity 
was erected in the 
Crystal Palace. This 




A BLOCK of lime heated 
to incandescence by an 
oxy-hydrogen blow pipe was 
used for many years as a 
spot light in the theatre. 
From this practice the ex- 
pression to be in the "lime 
light" originated. 



theatre, a cross-section 
of which is shown in 
Figure 1 6, was equipped 
with both arc and in- 
candescent lamps. A 
diffused light was used 
here probably for the 
first time; a number 
of arc lamps being 
suspended above the 
ceiling and their light 
transmitted through 
circular panels of glass 

ground in ornamental 
designs. This method 
of lighting was most 
effective, since it hid 
the unsightly lamps 



>> 



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L E O IN 



ELECTRIC 



COM F» jK. N "Y 




Figure 25 — Early Ward Leonard Vitrohm Theatre 
Dimmer made up of two vitrohm rectangular plate 
units, connected together and mounted on a panel 
board which carried a dial switch with an extension 
lever to permit convenient adjustment. These dim- 
mers were installed in Altmeyer's Theatre, McKeesport, 
Pa., in 1892. 



and produced a wonderfully soft effect 
due to the diffusion of the light. The 
walls were illuminated with incandescent 
lamps arranged to'form artistic designs. 

The stage was lighted entirely with 
incandescent electric lamps, arranged 
with screens that could be mechanic- 
ally operated to change colors from 
natural to red or blue. The mechan- 
ism by which this was accomplished 
is shown in Figure 17. 

In September, 1882, a Congress of 



Theatrical Managers assembled and 
issued a formal report favoring the 
lighting of halls and theatres by elec- 
tricity, then followed the installation of 
electric lighting in the Savoy Theatre 
in London in 1882, and the Bijou 
Theatre in Boston the same year. 
The first New York theatre to install 
incandescent lighting was the Peoples 
Theatre on the Bowery in 1885. 

Henry Irving was a pioneer in the 
art of stage lighting. He made exten- 
sive use of the spotlight, which had been 
first introduced in the Paris Opera, and 
he accomplished much in the extension 
of the application of electric lighting 
to the production of scenic effects. In 
his production of Faust, he arranged, 
with Mr. Gourand, a system of circuits 
for the production of sparks and fire in 
the fight between Faust and Valentine. 
Connections to the outside circuits 
were made through plates on the 
actor's shoes. 




Figure 26 — Ward Leonard Theatre Dimmer put on the market in 1894. It consisted ol banks of vitrohm 
rectangular plates mounted in a frame work above which dial switches were arranged. Connections between the 
contact points on the dial switch and corresponding points in the resistor units were made by means of wires. 
This was_the first step in decreasing the space occupied by a bank of theatre dimmers. 



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CONTROL OF LIGHTING 

The real problem in the application 
of electric lights to the theatre is not so 
much the illumination of the stage and 
auditorium as the proper control of the 
light. It was not until various devices 
for regulating electrical current and 
manipulating the various circuits were 
invented that electricity was able suc- 
cessfully to supersede gas. 

Gas lighting permitted graduation of 
the illumination of every part of the 
stage and auditorium from a single con- 
trol station. This was accomplished by 
the manipulation of valves in the re- 
gulator from which all pipes radiated. 
The amount of gas flow was increased 
or decreased by opening or closing the 
valves, the amount of illumination 
being varied accordingly. 

At the time electric lighting was in- 
troduced into theatres, control similar 
to that available with gas was demand- 
ed. Fortunately, the new electric sys- 
tem offered even great- 
er possibilities than the 
gas, although these 
possibilities were not 
immediately realized. 
Todav the refinements 
of control offer oppor- 
tunities for the pro- 
duction of scenic effects 
that have not been as 
vet completely utilized. 

With electricity, the 
flow may be adj usted by 
controlling the resist- 
ance of the circuit or by 
controlling the pressure 
or voltage, of the cir- 
cuit. In alternating- 





TN 1808 Sir Humphrey 
Daw invented the electric 
arc. In the jorties it came 
into use on the stage and later 
superseded the lime light. 
The earliest lamps provided 
for adjustment oj the carbons 
by hand. 



Figure 27 — Ward Leonard Dimmers used in the Olym- 
pia Theatre in New York in 1896. The small panel 
board in the background contains relay circuits for the 
remote control of main-line switches located in different 
parts of the house. From The Electrical World, March 
1896. 

current systems the flow may also be 
adjusted by controlling the reactance. 

In the beginning, the resistance 
method alone was used. 

A device, the prin- 
cipal characteristic of 
which is resistance, is 
called a "resistor" and 
if it is arranged in 
such a way that its 
resistance can be varied 
or adjusted, it is called 
a "rheostat". Rheo- 
stats are used to vary 
the flow of electricity 
through a circuit in the 
same way that the flow 
of gas can be varied by 
partially closing or 
opening a valve. Rheo- 
stats that are used for 
dimming the light in 



24 



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Figure 28 — Ward Leonard Plate Dimmer — 1897. 

a theatre, or other public or private 
places, are called "dimmers". 

THE FIRST ELECTRIC DIMMER 

The first dimmers were made by 
using water-barrel rheostats to increase 
the resistance and thus reduce the flow 
of electricity to the lamps. A rheostat 
of this kind consisted of a barrel filled 
with water in which two plates or 
electrodes were immersed. When the 
plates were tight together there was 
practically no resistance to the flow of 
electricity, and the lamps burned with 
full brightness. When the plates were 
separated from one another, the elec- 
tricity was forced to pass through the 
water which greatly cut down the flow 
and reduced the brightness of the light. 
This type of dimmer was short-lived. 
Itwas bulky, difficult to keep in working 
order, the results were never twice 
alike, and when overloaded it produced 
vapors which were often disagreeable. 

COIL RHEOSTAT DIMMER 
The barrel dimmer was followed by 
the coil rheostat dimmer which con- 
sisted of a number of coils of German 
Silver Wire (a metal having a high 
resistance) assembled in a rectangular 




Figure 29 — Ar- 
rangement of 
two Ward Leon- 
ard dimmer 
plates with a 
single operating 
handle— 1897. 



Figure 30 — Bank of Ward Leonard 
plate dimmers arranged for individ- 
ual control, as well as master 
control. The master lever is be- 
tween the first and second plates 
—1897. 



frame with wires leading to a dial 
switch, which permitted, as required, a 
variation in the number of coils con- 
nected in the circuit. The practice was 
to install the dimmers in the basement 
below the switchboard and run wires 
up to contact points on the board. A 
rough diagram indicating the principle 
of this dimmer is shown in Figure 21. 

Reducing the flow of electricity by 
introducing resistance into a circuit 
uses up the energy by transforming it 
into heat. Therefore, dimmers become 
hot in use, and their capacity is gov- 
erned by the amount of heat they can 
dissipate without attaining a dangerous 
temperature, and without being injured 
in the process. Coil rheostat dimmers 
were unsafe because the coils of resist- 
ance wire were dangerously exposed 
and frequently became red-hot due to 
overload. 

VITROHM DIMMERS 

The coil rheostat dimmer was stand- 
ard practice at the time the Ward 



25 



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Leonard Vitrohm plate rheostat (Figure 
27) with a dial switch was introduced. 
This new method of construction great- 
ly reduced the space occupied by the 
rheostat and eliminated fire risk, inci- 
dent to open-coil construction. 

The next important step in the de- 
velopment of dimmers was the Ward 
Leonard Vitrohm dimmer in which the 
dial switch and the rheostat proper 
were combined in one structure, elimi- 
nating leads entirely. The contacts or 
buttons on the dial switch were attached 
directly to the resistor wire and the 
whole structure was supported by an 
iron plate, the electrical circuits being 
insulated and supported by vitreous 
enamel. 

Modern Ward Leonard dimmers are 
simply refinements of the original ap- 
paratus. They are lighter, more com- 
pact and easier to operate but the 
general principles of construction are 
the same. 

The practical process of imbedding 
the resistance wire in 
vitreous enamel and 
fusing this enamel to an 
iron supporting plate is 
covered by Ward Leon- 
ard patents, and is de- 
noted by the trade- 
name ' ' Vitrohm' ' . Ward 
Leonard dimmers that 
are constructed with 
Vitrohm plates are 
called "Ward Leonard 
Vitrohm Dimmers". 

TRANSFORMER 
DIMMERS 

As was mentioned 
on page 24, in a.c. 
circuits it is possible 




,\u.w 




"T^HE first really commer- 
cial arc lamp was the 
so-called Jablochkqff candle, 
which consisted of two carbon 
electrodes insulated from each 
other by material that was 
broken down and consumed 
by the arc as the electrodes 
wore away from the action of 
the arc. 



Figure 31 — Ward Leonard remote control dimmer 
operated by three push buttons — 1897. This dimmer 
is still used in the Waldorf-Astoria auditorium. 



to vary the flow of electricity by chang- 
ing the voltage of the circuit or by 
changing the reactance, both of which 
systems accomplish the result with less 
dissipation of energy than the resistance 
method. 

The earliest methods employed trans- 
formers in which provision was made 
for varying the secondary voltage. In 
the nineties a device of this kind was 

put into practical use. 
One of the earliest ones 
employed an auto trans- 
former which operated 
with a combination of 
variable voltage and 
variable reactance as 
shown in Figure 32. A 
pure reactance method 
of current variation was 
used in the Earl's Court 
Exhibition Theatre in 
1896. Thedetailsof con- 
struction and electrical 
connection are shown 
in Figures 32 and 33. 

The principle objec- 
tion to dimmers of the 



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Figure 32 — Reactance dimmer described by Dr. J. A. Fleming in the Electrical World. November 1890. The 
circuit diagram shows how, by moving the core in the coil more or less, voltage is produced across the terminal 
of the lamps. With the iron core completely within the section across the lamps, maximum voltage is produced, 
and with the core in the section in series with the lamps, maximum reactance and minimum voltage are 
produced — the effect of which is to cut down the current through the lamps. 

■ 

transformer type as developed in the 
early days was the amount of space 
occupied. Ward Leonard Electric Com- 
pany have solved the space problem in mmmm 
a.c. installations of very large size by 
combining the reactance and resistance 
methods of dimming in a new type of 
dimmer, in which the reactance in the 
main circuits is adjusted by means of 
standard Ward Leonard Vitrohm Dim- 
mers, carrying less than 2 per cent, as 
much current as the lighting circuit con- 
trolled by the dimmer. 



THEATRE LIGHTING CONTROL 

Successful producers have always rec- 
ognized the importance of suitable 
lighting facilities. Furthermore, they 
have realized the effects which thev 
could obtain are limited only by the 
means of control at their disposal. 

In 1905 Carl Lautenschlaeger for- 
merly stage director at the Royal 
Bavarian Court Theatre in Munich, 
delivered an address before the Poly- 
technic Club in which he appraised the 
importance of control equipment. His 
opinion of theatre dimmers is set forth 
in the following quotation : 

"The conductors converge in a so- 
called regulator (dimmer) the most 




Figure 33 — Circuit diagram of dimmer equipment in 
Earl's Court Theatre. The dimmers are called chokers. 
Arc lamp mechanism and rheostat used in spot light 
is shown in the insert. 



27 



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ELECTRIC 



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important apparatus used in stage 
illumination. It includes all neces- 
sary appliances for graduating the 
intensity of the lights, both of the 
stage and in the auditorium. It 
permits the lighting and extinguish- 
ing of temporary lamps, and the 
sudden change of darkness to a blaze 
of light. As the switches for the 
production of color effects are also 
collected in the regulator, with a 
proper arrangement of apparatus, one 
man can produce every needed change 
of light and color, thus giving to 
the illumination even in difficult 
cases a perfect unity and harmony 
with the scene which contributes 
greatly to the success of the presenta- 
tion." 

The period of greatest development 
in theatre lighting control has been 
during the last twenty years, and to- 
day the leading producers give to light- 
ing more attention than to any other 
single element which 
goes to make up the 
setting of a scene. 

David Belasco, gen- 
erally recognized as one 
of the most successful 
producers in this coun- 
try, has contributed e- 
normously to the de- 
velopment of effective 
application of lighting 
in the theatre. An idea 
of the importance which 
he attaches to this 
phase of his work may 
be gathered from a 
statement made by 
William Winter in his 




r ~THE first incandescent 
electric lamp was in- 
vented by Edison in 1879 
and was provided with a 
filament made by the car- 
bonization of a bamboo fibre. 



"Life of David Belasco." He says : 

"Readers will perhaps realize the 
importance Belasco attaches to the 
art of lighting as an adjunct to 
acting and the care he lavishes upon 
it when they are informed that 
the experimental workshop in his 
theatre is operated all the year round 
and that in many instances the ex- 
penses of his light rehearsals alone 
have exceeded the total of all other 
costs of production." 

Ward Leonard dimmers have been 
used by Mr. Belasco ever since their 
first appearance on the market, and 
much of the development in the per- 
fectioning of this apparatus is built 
around experience gained under the 
direction of him and his electrician, 
Mr. Louis Hartmann. 

PRESENT-DAY PRACTICES 

Starting in 1846 in the Paris Opera, 
electricity gradually displaced all light- 
ing for the theatre, 
and as the use of 
electricity spread, the 
perfection of its control 
developed. 

Today, practically 
every lighting circuit 
in the theatre is con- 
trolled by dimmers. 

In the past five years 
the amount of light 
used on the stage, and 
throughout the thea- 
tre, has more than 
doubled. Such a vari- 
ation in what is now 
considered good prac- 
tice makes the use of 



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any present-day figures as merely 
comparative, and the figures given 
below are not intended to be used 
in actual application. The experi- 
ence gained from numerous recent 
installations indicate that where an 
auditorium is decorated in silverleaf 
and light colors, 10 watts of lighting 
in each color should be provided for 
each seat. Where gold leaf and warm 
or heavy color decorations are adopted, 
20 watts in each color should be pro- 
vided for each seat to afford "read- 
ing" illumination. In urban motion 




Figure 34 — An early form of reactance dimmer used in 
Earl's Court Exhibition Theatre and described in 
London Engineer , November 1896. In this installation 
special attention was paid to the switching from one 
color to another. As one color decreased in brilliancy, 
the succeeding color was simultaneously increased in 
brilliancy. The arrangement here shown permits 
individual setting of the different circuits and also gives 
interlock and operation with a slow-motion worm and 
wheel, or by means of a master lever. Detail of master 
lever and slow-motion worm and wheel is shown in 
upper right-hand corner. 





Figure 35 — Spot light using 
an electric arc and providing 
for color screens, representing 
practice in 1898. From The 
Electrical World, May 1898. 



Figure 36 — Bunch 
light made up of in- 
candescent lamps in 
special bowl reflector 
as used in 1898. 



picture theatres, where "reading" light 
is not required, satisfactory lighting has 
been effected with as little as 4 watts, 
each color, per seat. 

In high-class theatres, using stand- 
ard fixtures with matt white reflecting 
surfaces the practice is about as follows : 

FOOTLIGHTS 

In the footlights, two rows of lamps 
are used, one row of colored lamps 
back of a row of whites. 

The footlights may be 4 to 8 feet less 
in length than the clear width of the 
proscenium arch. From 150 to 200 



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watts should be used in each color, per 
lineal foot of border. 

STRIP LIGHT 
On each side of the proscenium a 
"strip light" 12 to 18 feet high is 
recessed on the stage side of the arch. 
In this strip 100 to 150 watts of Type 
C lamps, each color, per lineal foot, 

are used. 

BORDERS 

Borders are generally from 4 to 10 
feet less in length than the width of 
the proscenium arch. They are spaced 
6 to 8 feet apart, and good practice 
is to have one work light at each end 
of each border. 100 to 125 watts of 
Type C lamps in each color are pro- 
vided for each lineal foot of border. 

Several floor pockets, each with 
three 50-ampere receptacles are con- 
veniently spaced on each side of stage, 
also one at the rear, and one in the 
footlight trough. 

For each receptacle there should be 
a 2,000-watt dimmer with sufficient 
ohms resistance to dim 
1.000 watts. 

The three receptacles 
in each pocket on a side 
are connected to differ- 
ent feeder switches — 
one feeder switch con- 
trolling the No. 1 recep- 
tacles of all pockets, a 
second switch control- 
ling the No. 2 recepta- 
cles and a third feeder 
switch controlling the 
No. 3 receptacles. 

One pocket with 
three 60-ampere recep- 
tacles is provided on 
each side of the "stage 




for connection to arc lamps. 

A typical stage lighting plan is 

shown on page 58. 

Due to the perfect control provided 
bv suitable dimmers, the incandescent 





IfDISON'S incandescent 

lamp finally settled down 

to a carbon filament as 

the results of inventions of 

various engineers. 

HTHR present-day repre- 
sentative oj the incandes- 
cent lamp is the tungsten 
filament \ or mazda la?np, and 
for the high-power units these 
lamps are usually filled with 
nitrogen. 



Figure 37 — Ward Leonard Rheostats 
for spot-light control. 

lamp is superseding the arc lamp for 
use as a spot light. Most spot lights 
are equipped with high-power nitrogen 
lamps controlled either from the dim- 
mer board or bv a 
special dimmer on the 
stand. Not only has 
the effectiveness of 
the lamp been greatly 
increased, but the fire 
risk which was always 
an item has been prac- 
ticallv eliminated. 

Today, arc lights 
are used mostly in 
moving picture thea- 
tres for projection and 
spot light work, and in 
all cases thev should 
be in enclosed fireproof 
booths. 




30 



"W A. R. D 



L E O N AR D 



ELEC XR1C 



COM F>j\. IS "Y 



WARD LEONARD DIMMER 





ARD LEONARD dimmers 
are made in a variety of sizes 
and types to meet all the 
requirements of theatres and other 
places of public assembly, such as halls, 
churches, and clubs. In fact, Ward 
Leonard dimmers are used in private 
residence installations on the one hand, 
and in the largest theatres on the other. 
They are adapted to the staging of 
theatrical productions in such a way, 
that the lighting program can be as 
definitely specified as the music and for 
the convenience of shows which travel, 
dimmer equipment designed for the 
production can be provided in portable 
form for shipment like all the rest of the 
properties of the play. 

In general there are two fundamental 
types of Ward Leonard dimmers, name- 
ly, the type which utilizes resistance 
alone and the type which utilizes 



reactance controlled by resistance. 

The former is recommended for the 
smaller installations and the latter for 
the largest installations. The two over- 
lap in the average size installation and 
choice can only be made when proper 
consideration is given to the space avail- 
able and the value that is placed upon 
convenience of operation. 

One fundamental principle which 
has always been followed in Ward 
Leonard practice, is that all dimmers 
shall be built for continuous operation 
at any point in their range of control. 
This is necessary for the safety of the 
dimmers themselves, and the installa- 
tion as a whole. When dimmers are 
constructed with an intermittent duty 
rating, they are a liability, as it is 
impossible to adhere to an intermit- 
tent rating in conditions of actual 
operation. 



WARD LEONARD VHTROHM DIMMER 



VITROHM PLATES 

The basis of all Ward Leonard dim- 
mers is the Vitrohm plate — a type of 
rheostat developed and made com- 
mercially practical by H. Ward 
Leonard. 

The Vitrohm plates are self-contained 
rheostats of extremely compact con- 
struction. The plate which furnishes 
the rigidity of the structure and pro- 
vides for the mounting of the parts is a 
solid metal disk, on one side of which is 
mounted the resistor with its contact 
buttons. The resistor is applied to the 
plate by a patented Ward Leonard pro- 



cess, then covered with a coating of 
special vitreous enamel and fired in a 
furnace at very high temperature. This 





. ■ i • 

' x ./ ■ 




Figure 38 — Ward Leonard Vitrohm Plates which form 
the resistor elements of Ward Leonard dimmers. 



31 



o 



ELECTRIC C O M F» A !* Y 







* 



Figure J g — Resistive conductor ready to be im- 
bedded ia the enamel of a Ward Leonard Vitrohm 
place. 

causes the enamel to penetrate the 
surface of the metal and virtually be- 
come a part of it. Upon this enamel 
surface the resistor proper is mounted, 
together with the stationary contacts 
which form the tap connections to the 
resistor. Enamel is next applied to the 
surface in sufficient quantity to imbed 
completely the resistive conductor, or 
resistance wire, and the base of the con- 
tact buttons, and the plates are again 
fired so as to fuse the entire mass into 
one integral structure. 

The close relation of the resistor 
element to the metallic base promotes 
rapid dissipation of the heat generated 
to the whole plate and even to the 
supporting frame work. 

Therefore the maximum operating 
temperature is much lower than in any 
other form of construction. At the 
same time, vitreous enamel will stand a 
higher temperature than any other 
material used for embedding and sup- 
porting resistor elements. 



The temperature at which the firing 
takes place is many hundred degrees 
higher than will ever be encountered in 
practical use — an actual demonstration 
of the indestructible nature of Vitrohm 
construction. 

The vitreous enamel which supports, 
insulates and protects the resistive con- 
ductor is dense and impervious to mois- 
ture. Therefore, it affords protection 
against mechanical, electrical and chem- 
ical depreciation, and permanently re- 
tains the physical and electrical prop- 
erties of the resistive conductor which 
is the heart of any dimmer. 

CONTACTS 

One of the important improvements 
made by H. Ward Leonard when the 
Vitrohm plate was invented was the 
elimination of the leads which formerly 
were used to connect points along the 
resistance wire to contact buttons on 
the dial switch. In the Vitrohm plate 
the contact buttons are attached direct- 




Figure 40 — Contact arm and concacc-arm drive of 
Ward Leonard Vitrohm dimmer plate. The contact 
shoes are provided with long plungers which permit 
them to ride easily over the contacts and maintain a 
proper contact pressure under all conditior- The 
drive gives a positive, though flexible connection that 
operates with little friction. 



32 



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LE. C T R 1 C 



C O M F» 



M -Y 



ly to the resistive conductor by a me- 
chanical joint between 
the two made under 
high pressure when the 
metals are bright and 
clean. 

The advantages of this joint are 
many. It contains no solder or tin, the 
resistive conductor does not have to be 
cut to make the joint with the contact 
buttons and the union is therefore per- 
manent and not dependent on clamps, 
bolts or screws. The joint undergoes 
the firing process and therefore is not 
affected by any temperature it may later 
encounter. In short, it is an important 
element which helps to make Ward 
Leonard plate dimmers fire-proof and 
permanent. 

The stationary contact buttons are 
made of heavy stamped brass so formed 
that the joint with the resistive con- 
ductor and the supporting base is com- 
pletely imbedded in the vitreous enamel 
and solidly attached to the plate. The 
contact surfaces over which the mov- 
able contact (or skate shoe) travels 
project well beyond the surface of the 
plate, thus preventing the accumulation 
of dust and dirt on or between the con- 
tacts, which might cause short-circuit 
or poor contact. 

CONTACT ARM 

The adjustment of the resistance of a 
Vitrohm plate is accomplished by means 
of a pivoted arm called the contact arm, 
which bridges two concentric groups 
of contacts on the plate and thus per- 
mits the variation in small steps of the 
amount of resistive conductor included 
in the circuit. This arm is rotativelv 
mounted on a shaft at the center of the 




Figure 41 — Contact arm and contact-arm drive 
assembled on Vitrohm dimmer plate. 

plate and is provided with self-adjusting 
contact shoes, or skates, which auto- 
matically take care of any variation in 
the height of the contacts. 

These shoes are made of self-lubricat- 
ing metal and are each provided with two 
plungers that extend into corresponding 
holes in the contact arm. Therefore, the 
shoes are pressed with definite force 
against the contact buttons by means of 
coil springs operating on the pins. The 
electrical circuit is carried from the shoe 
to the arm by means of flexible copper 




Figure 42 — Small bank of Ward Leonard Vitrohm 
dimmers equipped with independent handles and master 
handle. 



33 



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L E O N A 



ELECTRIC 



COM F» A TS "Y 




Figure 43 — Variety of sizes of Ward Leonard dimmer rheostats for single-plate installations. 






leads fastened permanently into the 
rear face of the shoe. Figure 40 shows 
an arm of this type with the shoe pins 
entirely removed from the guiding 
holes in the arm. 

CONTACT-ARM DRIVE 

In the earliest dimmers the handle 
manipulated by the electrician swept 
through the same arc as was occupied by 
the contacts over which the contact arm 
played. In the Ward Leonard Vitrohm 
Plate Dimmer the contact arm is rotated 
through a flexible drive which multiplies 
the motion of the hand several times. 

The device employed to translate 
the straight line motion to a rotary 
motion is peculiarly effective. It con- 
sists of a cast iron bow equipped with 
a brass link chain, which is wrapped 
once around the hub of the contact 
arm and positively engages it by means 
of a single heavy steel pin. The two 
ends of the chain are attached to the 
bow by means of wing nuts at each 
end which provide for accurate ad- 
justment of the tension. Moving the 
bow backward and forward causes the 
contact arm to rotate as the chain winds 
on from one side and off from the other. 
This mechanism requires no lubrication, 



and unlike the rack and pinion which 
is the usual method employed for 
translating straight line motion to 
circular motion, is not sensitive to 
wear, or to dirt, and consequently re- 
quires much less effort to operate. 

DIMMER BANKS 

The dimmer as a complete installa- 
tion consists of an assembly of Vitrohm 
plates. Such an assembly may be made 
in a great variety of ways depending 
upon local conditions as to space and 
lighting requirements. In general, the 
plates are assembled in one or more 
rows in a structural steel frame, in 
front of which the handles are rota- 
tively mounted on one or more shafts. 
These levers are connected to the 
bows by which the contact arms are 
rotated, so that by moving the handle 
through a comparatively small arc the 
corresponding contact arm on the 
Vitrohm plate can be rotated through 
its full range. 

The independent handles are ar- 
ranged with a latch device which per- 
mits them to be locked to the shaft on 
which they are mounted, or to rotate 
freely about it. By providing the shaft 



34 



WAR D 



L E O NARD 



ELECTRIC 



COM PA N Y 



with a lever which is called a master 
handle, it is possible to manipulate at 
one time as many units as may be 
locked to the shaft, and at the same 
time any individual unit or group of 
units may be released from the shaft 
and operated independently. Again, 
by shifting the position of the master 
handle, it is possible to increase the 
resistance of one group of plates 
that is locked to the shaft and at the 
same time with the same motion de- 
crease resistance in another group. In 
this way one group of lamps can be 
increased in brilliancy, while another 
group is decreased. This result is 
called "cross interlocking control." 

Where several rows of dimmer plates 



are required, each row is equipped with 
its line of handles mounted on a shaft, 
and the various rows are interlocked by 
means of master handles which permit 
the operation of all or any number of 
parallel shafts with their connected 
independent handles by a single master 
handle. Furthermore, in many cases the 
whole dimmer equipment is arranged so 
that it can be operated from slow mo- 
tion worm and gear connected to a hand 
wheel at the front of the dimmer, in 
which event all plates which are locked 
to their respective shafts and all shafts 
which are locked to one another can 

be operated from the one point in a 
slow smooth fashion. 







Figure 44 — The Shubert-Jefferson, leading dramatic theatre in St. Louis, is 

equipped with Ward Leonard Vitrohm dimmers. 



35 



v 



WARD 



L E O IV A Ft 



E.LE C T R I C 



C O M F» A IN' *Y 




Pt,gur« 45" — Floor Type Ward Leonard Dimmer Bank installed in Loew's Theatre, Los Angeles. Space below 

the overhanging row of plates at left allows for the installation of switchboard. 



ADVANTAGES 

The unique design and construction 
of Ward Leonard Vitrohm Dimmers 
provide many advantages from both 
installation and operating standpoints. 
Some important ones are: 

1. All Vitrohm Dimmers are con- 
tinuous duty dimmers. 

2. Minimum space required for a 
given service. 

3. Minimum weight for a given 
service. 

4. Reliability of operation. 

5. Ease of manipulation. 

6. Durability of construction. 

7. Simplicity of upkeep. 

8. Absence of fire risks. 



SPACE 

Vitrohm plate construction, permit- 
ting free heat radiation, together with 
the simple mechanism used to rotate 
the contact arm, are responsible for the 
compactness of construction in Ward 
Leonard dimmers. Each unit when as- 
sembled into a bank occupies only four 
inches of space in the axial direction. 

WEIGHT 

The light weight of Ward Leonard 
Vitrohm Dimmers follows from the high 
efficiency attained in the radiation of 
heat from Vitrohm plates. Efficient 
radiation in electrical apparatus in- 
dicates economical use of material. 



•Mi 



W A. R 13 



LEON 



e:lelc XRIC 



COM F» A M -V 




Figure 46 — Floor Type Ward Leonard Dimmer Bank installed in Raymond Theatre, Pasadena, Calif. 



CAPACITY 

All Ward Leonard Vitrohm Dimmers 
will carry their full rated load contin- 
uously at any point in their range with- 
out undue rise in temperature. This 
extraordinary capacity is simply an- 
other advantage of the Vitrohm plate 
type of construction which insures the 
rapid dissipation of heat so necessary 
in a rheostat for this service. 

RELIABILITY 

The resistors in Ward Leonard dim- 
mers are made of metals practically un- 
affected by temperature changes, and 
are absolutely protected by vitreous 



enamel from any kind of deterioration. 
Therefore, the resistance values will 
remain constant under all conditions of 
service. Then, too, the flexible-link drive 
by which the rheostats are manipulated 
gives a positive connection which will 
hold a given adjustment indefinitely. 

MANIPULATION 

The easy riding self-adjusting contact 
shoes, as well as the low friction of the 
flexible-link drive make the manipula- 
tion of the rheostats extremely easy, so 
that an operator can control with one 
hand a dimmer of twenty and more 
plates. 



37 



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W A R D 



L E O N 



ELECTRIC 



C O M P 



M Y 



DURABILITY 

There are no fragile elements in a 
Ward Leonard dimmer. The Vitrohm 
plates are made of metal sufficiently 
strong and rigid to stand shipment 
anywhere and to protect the resistor 
from mechanical strain or damage. 
The contact buttons, the arm and the 
flexible-link drive for rotating the arm, 
including the operating levers and other 
accessories, are all designed along en- 
gineering lines and will never wear out 
under ordinary usage. 

UPKEEP 

By using the flexible-link drive no 
lubrication is necessary at points be- 
tween the plates. All bearings which 



might require oiling are of the simplest 
construction and mounted in accessible 
position in front of the bank. The con- 
tact shoe, which ordinarily is subject to 
considerable wear in rheostats of this 
kind, in Vitrohm dimmers requires no 
attention or adjustment. This type 
of shoe has been standard in Ward 
Leonard rheostats for twenty years and 
installations made in the beginning of 
this period are still in operation without 
renewals. 4 

ABSENCE OF FIRE RISK 

There being no material in the active 
parts of the dimmer which has not un- 
dergone the firing temperature of the 
enamel, there is no danger of starting a 
fire in any part of this equipment. 



DIMMER XOIV 
MECHANISM 



Dimmer — A controller for adjusting the in- 
tensity of light by varying the current in 
the lamp circuit. 

Dimmer Plate — A rheostat, including base, re- 
sistor, stationary contacts, terminals and 
contact arm. 

Contact Arm — A movable arm which makes 
connection with stationarv contacts and 
the position of which determines the re- 
sistance in the circuit. 

Dimmer Handle — A lever which controls the 
movement of the contact arm. 

Contact Arm Drive-— Mechanism operated by 
the dimmer handle to move the contact 
arm. 

Dimmer Bank — A number of dimmers mounted 
as one unit. 

Interlocking Dimmer Bank— One in which the 
dimmer handles are mounted on a shaft 
to which they may be latched or unlatched. 

Interlocking Dimmer Handle — One which is pro- 
vided with latching mechanism. 

Master Handle — One which rotates a shaft to 
which interlocking dimmer handles may 
be latched. 

Interlocking Master Handle — One which is pro- 
vided with latching mechanism. 



Grand Master Handle — One which controls in- 
terlocking master handles. 

Slow Motion Wheel — A hand wheel operating 
through gears to control interlocking mas- 
ter handles. 

Cross Control Mechanism is one by which one or 
more interlocking master handles may be 
simultaneously moved in the same or 
opposite direction to others, by the move- 
ment of one handle or wheel. 

Preset Interlocking Dimmer Handle is one 
which may be automatically latched or 
unlatched from connection with others, at 
a predetermined position. 

CONTROL 

Interlocking Control — A control which permits 
the grouping of dimmers so that the move- 
ment of a master handle or master w heel 
will control one or more dimmers as a 
unit, without interfering with the in- 
dependent control of any single dimmer. 

Cross Interlocking Control— An interlocking 
control which, by the movement of one 
handle or wheel, permits the dimming of 
any group of lamps while any other is 
simultaneously brightened. 



38 



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L E O IV A 



ELECTRIC 



COM PA N "V 




Ward Leonard Dim- 
mer Equipment in 
the Belasco Theatre. 
Installed years ago 
to control the 3,000 
amperes ■ lighting 
load, here installed, 
and still able to give 
service which is 
highly satisfactory 
to Mr. Hartmann, 
the Electrician, and 
the exacting Mr. 
Belasco. 



39 



. 



s 



>V A R D 



L E O W A R. E> 



ELECTRIC 



COM F» A. 1SI Y 



WARD LEONARD DIMMER INSTALLATION 



Perhaps the most effective way of 
presenting Ward Leonard dimmers is to 
illustrate and describe a series of typical 
installations, because a picture of an 
actual installation often gives a better 
idea of the possibilities in the applica- 
tion of the equipment, than a word de- 
scription of the elements which are 
combined to make a complete in- 
stallation. 

The majority of dimmer installations 
may be divided into three classes as far 
as mounting is concerned: 

1. Floor mounting. 

2. Top-of-board mounting. 

3. Portable mounting. 

As far as control is concerned, they may 



be divided into the following three 
classes : 

1. Manual lever control. 

2. Manual slow-motion control. 

3. Remote automatic control. 

These various types of equipment are 
illustrated throughout the book by re- 
productions from photographs of dim- 
mer banks and installations. Each is 
discussed briefly in the captions. If the 
data given is insufficient, additional in- 
formation will be gladly furnished upon 
application. 

The purpose of these pictures is to 
show what has been done with Ward 
Leonard dimmers and in this way it is 
hoped to assist architects, contractors 
and others in obtaining the best results. 






LAYING OUT DIMMER BANKS 



Too much cannot be said in favor of 
giving early consideration to dimmer 
equipment in planning a theatre or 
other structure where dimmer equip- 
ment is to be used. Too often this 
important element of the plant is 
ignored until the structure is built and 
all the principal elements which it houses 
have been determined and provided. 
The dimmer equipment under such 
conditions must be put wherever space 
can be found, irrespective of conven- 
ience. In making plans which allow 
for dimmer equipment, the first step 
is to determine the capacity of the dim- 
mer required. The second step is to 
decide upon the location which will be 
best suited when considered from all 



points. Of the utmost importance is 
the location of the dimmer equipment 
and switchboard close to the pros- 
cenium arch on the "prompt" side of 
the stage. In too many instances the 
error is made of allowing space only 
sufficient for the switchboard, and the 
dimmers have to be mounted over the 
board with the levers out of reach of 
the operator. The third point is the 
determination of the amount of space 
required to provide the necessary dim- 
ming facilities and proper ventilation. 

DIMMER CAPACITY 
In selecting the dimmer correspond- 
ing to the capacity of the circuits to be 
controlled, reference should be made to 
Table I where the lamp load in watts is 



40 



W A R. D 



L E O N A 



K. C T R I C 



COM F> A N "Y 



Ward Leonard Dimmer Bank installed in 
the State Theatre in Jersey City, N. J. 
This dimmer regulates the colored lights 
in the elaborate chandelier above the 
auditorium, as well as the stage lighting. 




Interior of the State Theatre. To the right is 
shown the relative location of dimmers and 
switchboard. 



41 



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given for dimmers of different capacities 
made up in five standard assemblies. 

SPACE REQUIREMENTS 
The approximate space requirements 
of a dimmer bank depends not only 
upon the size of the dimmer but also the 
type of assembly. The number of 
plates in a dimmer is determined from 
Table I and dimension factors, which 
when multiplied by the number of 
plates will give the length of the 
dimmer, are listed in Table 1 1 (opposite 
page) together with the overall end 
dimensions of each layout. 

The values obtained in the foregoing 
method of calculating space require- 
ments are based on the average width 
ordinarily occupied by each individual 
plate in a bank of dimmers of the type 
in question. Naturally, plates may be 
assembled in different arrangements to 
meet special requirements and when so 
assembled the over-all dimensions will 
vary accordingly. It is always best to 
consult the manufacturer and obtain 
certified dimensional drawings before 
final layouts are made. 

VENTILATION 
The rating of a dimmer is based on its 
ability to dissipate heat, and if it is to 
be operated successfully at full capac- 
ity, there must be no restriction of the 
flow of air between the plates from the 
bottom to the top. Especially should 
the dimmers be open at the top so that 
heated air can move rapidly out of the 
way and let cold air take its place. 
Dimmers should not be installed under- 
neath an obstruction. 



TABLE I 

TYPE RD INTERLOCKING DIMMERS 
for 115 volt 2-wire circuits 



Lamp Load 
in Watts 


Style 


No. of 
Plates 


Catalog 
Number 


500 

750 

1000 

1320 
1500 
1700 

2000 
2400 
2700 

3000 
3300 


f A 
A 
A 

A 

A 
A 

A 
A 
A 

A 

A 




RD 15 

RD 17 
RD 110 

RD 112 
RD 115 
RD 117 

RD 120 
RD 125 
RD 125 

RD 130 
RD 130 


3600 
4200 
4800 

5400 
6000 


B 
B 
B 

B 
B 


2 
2 
2 

2 
2 


RD 134 
RD 138 
RD 144 

RD 150 
RD 160 


6600 
7200 
8100 
9000 


C 
C 
C 
C 


3 
3 
3 
3 


RD 166 
RD 166 
RD 174 
RD 190 


10200 
12000 


D 

D 


4 
4 


RD 1000 
RD 1200 


15000 


E 


5 


RD 1500 



REMOTE CONTROL 
Sometimes installations work out in 
such a way that sufficient space for 



housing the dimmer is not available at 
the point where the control of the light- 
ing should be located. In such in- 
stances remote control is employed. 

In laying out remote-control installa- 
tions the engineering department should 
be consulted at the very beginning, as 
the variety of factors involved in de- 
sign is too great to be covered by 
general rules. 

ARCHITECTS' TYPICAL 
SPECIFICATIONS 

To assist those who would specify 
standard Vitrohm dimmer equipment, 
outline specifications have been pre- 
pared to cover the principal points that 
play an important part in the success of 
a dimmer installation. (See page 44.) 



\j 



E O N ARD 



E.LE.CTRIC COMPANY 



DIAGRAMS OF AVERAGE SPACE REQUIREMENT 



TABLE II 




Diagram 1 

INTERLOCKING CONTROL 
IN SINGLE ROW 

To obtain an approximate length of a bank of 
this type multiply the number of plates by 4.5 
inches. 





Diagram 7 

INTERLOCKING CONTROL 
TWO ROWS HIGH 

To obtain an approximate length of a bank of 
this type multiply the total number of plates by 
3.2 inches. 




Diagram 1 1 

INTERLOCKING CONTROL 

WITH GRAND MASTER 
HANDLE TWO ROWS HIGH 

To obtain an approximate length for a bank 
of this type multiply the number of plates in the 
white stage and white house sections by 3 inches. 



DIAGRAM 13 

CONTROL WITH CROSS INTER- 
LOCKING SLOW MOTION 
WHEEL TWO ROWS HIGH 

To obtain an approximate length of a bank of 
this type multiply the number of plates in the 
white stage and white house sections by 4.4 inches. 




DIAGRAM 14 

FLOOR MOUNTING, 3 OR 4 ROWS HIGH, 

WITH COLOR MASTER LEVERS AND 

SLOW-MOTION CROSS-CONTROL 

WHEEL IN CENTER 

This is a most advantageous arrangement. 

To obtain an approximate length for a bank of 
this type, multiply the number of plates in the 
white stage and white house sections by 4.25 
inches and add 1 5 inches. 



43 



"W A. R. D 



L E O N ARD 



ELEC X R1C 



C O M 1> 



IS 



TYPICAL SPECIFICATION FOR THEATRE DIMMER 



(a) On the prompt side of the stage adjacent 
to the proscenium arch there shall be installed 
the dimmers listed in the lighting schedule. 
These dimmers shall be supported in a rigid 
angle-iron frame in such a manner that no 
operating handle will be nearer the floor than 
six inches, nor more than seven feet above the 
floor, so that the average operator can reach 
them easily. 

(b) The dimmers shall be of the plate type 
arranged for either individual operation or for 
interlocking to a color master lever. They 
shall be arranged in color groups with a master 
lever for each color in the house and for each 
color on the stage. There shall also be pro- 
vided a slow motion cross control wheel and 
gears with color masters so arranged that color 
sections may be operated individually, or they 
may be interlocked to the hand wheel mechan- 
ism to raise the illumination of one or more 
color groups and at the same time dim one or 
more other color groups. 

(c) All feeders or group circuits of 3000 
watts or less and the dimmers for them shall 
be two-wire. Feeders carrying a greater load 
may be three-wire. 

(d) The dimmers shall be the Vitrohm type 
suitable for continuous operation at their rated 
load and, after carrying this load at any setting 
for two hours with natural air circulation, no 
part of the dimmer shall attain a temperature 
in excess of 250° C. above the surrounding air 
and shall not emit smoke, steam or odor. 

(e) The resistor for each dimmer shall be 
divided into not less than 110 steps, and the 
resistor material and contacts shall be attached 
to a rigid metal supporting plate. The resistor 
material shall be embedded in a non-hygro- 



scopic heat-conducting insulating material cap- 
able of withstanding a temperature of 400° C. 
without calcining, softening or deteriorating. 
The movable contacts cutting the resistance in 
and out of the circuit shall be the skate shoe 
type with minimum friction consistent with 
good carrying capacity and long life. 

(f) Where the dimmer for a group circuit 
or feeder consists of more than one plate it 
will be provided with one common buss for 
connecting all the plates to the fuse of the 
group circuit. The other separate terminals 
of each plate shall be connected with a wire of 
suitable capacity to separate sections of the 
branch circuit buss. The separate plates 
making up the dimmer shall be rated for the 
capacity of the branch circuits so connected 
to them. 

(g) The contractor shall submit to the archi- 
tect (or engineer) a drawing showing the pro- 
posed arrangement of the dimmer and switch- 
board which must be approved by him before 
construction work is started. 

(Insert the following clause in the magazine 
panel specification.) 

(h) These fuse panels shall be bussed for 
connection to the group circuits outlined in the 
schedule and where the dimmer for the group 
circuit or feeder consists of more than one 
plate the buss for this group circuit shall be 
divided to distribute the load on the separate 
plates. 

The Ward Leonard Electric Company have 
on their technical staff experts on theatre il- 
lumination and lighting control who will be 
glad to co-operate with those interested and 
furnish them with suggestions. 



A TYPICAL LIGHTING SCHEDULE 



CIRC. 
NO. 


LIGHTS CONTROLLED 


LAMPS 


MAG. 

BRANCH 

ClROS, 


DIMMERS 


SWITCHES 


NO. 


WATTS 


TYPE 


WATTS 


MASTER 


POLES 


MASTER 


1 


White Foots 


35 


200 


C 


6 


7000 


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44 



>V A. R D 



L E O N ARD 



EJUELC XR.IC 



COM F> A. T*i Y 




The Ward Leonard 
Dimmer shown, which 
controls the 5,000 am- 
peres required for light- 
ing effects in the famous 
New York Hippo- 
drome, was installed 
years ago. There is a 
total connected load on 
this equipment of 
10,000 amperes (three- 
wire, direct current). 



Close-up of the panel 
shown in the lower 
part of the picture 
above. 



New York 
Hippodrome. 



I." 



L E O N AR D 



EC X R. I C 



C O M F» A. TS' Y 



The name Vitrohm has been used in 
the specifications, because it represents 
in a definite and positive way a metal 
plate construction in which vitreous 



enamel and resistor material are applied 
in accordance with experience of more 
than thirty years in the manufacture of 
this type of apparatus. 





Figure 47 — Ward Leonard Dimmers (top of board 
type) installed in the National Theatre, New York City. 



Figure 48 — Ward Leonard Dimmers installed 
Loew's 83rd Street Theatre, New York City. 



in 



BASIC FACTORS IX DIMMER INSTALLATION DESIGN 



When requesting proposals for dimmer 
equipment, the manufacturer should be fur- 
nished with the following information: 

1. Voltage of lamp circuits. 

2. Whether dimmers are to be connected 
to two or three-wire circuits. 

3. The circuits to be controlled must be 
listed and the name of each indicated, 
so that the dimmer handles may be 
furnished with proper nameplates. 

4. The number of watts per dimmer and for 
multiple plate dimmer the number of 
watts on each plate. 

5. The type of dimmer control : inde- 
pendent handle interlocking, cross inter- 
locking or remote control. 

6. If interlocking or cross interlocking 
dimmers are to be used, the general 



arrangement including the number and 
position of master handles should be 
indicated by means of a rough sketch. 

7. If the dimmers can be arranged in 
some standard form such as shown on 
page 43, it will be sufficient to indicate 
the arrangement by reference to the 
respective diagrams. 

8. The dimensions of space available for 
the dimmer should be given. 

9. The lamp load carried by any dimmer 
may comprise several sizes of lamps 
providing the maximum capacity of the 
dimmer is not exceeded. 

10. Where equipment is unusual, any re- 
quirements in addition to the above 
should be fully specified. 



The typical floor plan for stage lighting as shown on page 58 may be helpful in considering the general 

problem of lighting. 



MS 



"w >v R. n> 



L E O IV ^V 



ELEC X R. I C 



COMPANY 




Interior of chc National Theatre, Brooklyn, N. Y. 










At the left are shown the operating handles of the Ward Leonard Dimmers installed in the National Theatre ir 
Brooklyn. The plates are on the opposite side of the wall as shown at the right in a separate room with the 
motor generator set 



/ 



LEON 



ELECTRIC 



COM F> A ISJ Y 
































































































































































































































































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10 



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40 50 60 

LAMP VOLTAGE £OF NORMAL 



70 



80 



90 



100 



The curve above shows the comparative efficiency of resistance and reactance dimmers 
with different voltages at the lamp, while the one below shows the candle-power at different 
voltages. From these curves it will be noted that a distinct saving in energy can be effected 
by the use of reactance dimmers; also that their use is justified in installations where the 
dimmer is in service for long periods. 







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LAMP VOLTAGE £ OF NORMAL 



70 



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100 



4s 



"W 



L E O N 



ELECTRIC COMF»yVT*WY 



WARD LEONARD REMOTE -CONTROL DIMMER 1 



In large installations the space re- 
quired for dimmer equipment is often 
not available at a point where the con- 
trol board should be situated. One 
solution of this space problem is the 
motor-driven dimmer located at any 
point where the space is available, and 
controlled by miniature switches from 
the control board. 

The original form of remote-control 
dimmer employed by the Ward 
Leonard Electric Company was motor 
driven as shown in Figure 31 repro- 
duced from the catalog of the Ward 
Leonard Electric Company issued in 
1892. Improved forms of the early 
motor-driven dimmer are still furnished 
where required. In such installations 
each plate or group of plates is con- 
nected to a separate motor through a 
worm reduction gear and controlled by 
push-button stations located at the con- 
trol board on the stage. Substantial 
positive-acting limit switches prevent 
over-running in case the operator does 
not shut off the motor. The motor 
circuits are manipulated by magnetic 
switches or contactors mounted on a 
panel carried on the dimmer frame. 

REACTANCE DIMMER 

A better solution of the remote con- 
trol problem is provided by the re- 
actance dimmer, a recent Ward Leonard 
development. This consists of a Vitrohm 
plate and a reactor. In this dimmer, 
adjustable reactance is utilized to con- 
trol the flow of electricity to the lamps — 
the reactance being varied by means 
of a standard Vitrohm plate handling 
a current of less than two per cent, of 
that required by the lighting circuits 
which it controls. 

By this new system a small Vitrohm 
plate for each circuit with standard 
hand levers and slow-motion control 



are the only parts of the dimming plant 
which need be installed on the stage. 
The reactors which handle the main 
circuits to the lamps may be located 
wherever space is available. In this 
way, the actual control equipment, 
which should be located at a point on 
the stage where the operator can follow 
the action, is reduced to the smallest 
possible dimensions, and entirely within 
the limits imposed by modern con- 
struction. 

PRINCIPLE OF THE REACTANCE 

DIMMER 

The reactor used is of a closed circuit 
type having two A. C. coils and a 
D. C. coil. By varying the current in 
the D. C. coil by means of a small 
Vitrohm plate, the voltage at the lamp 
is varied from full brilliance to black 
out. 

The direct current for controlling 
these reactors, if not available from 
existing sources, may be furnished by 
a small motor-generator. The amount 
of power required is approximately one 
per cent, of that used in the main cir- 
cuits. Among the installations of this 
character are the two largest dimmer 
installations in the world (illustrated 
on pages 50, 51 and 52). 

The control board of Grauman^s 
Metropolitan theatre shown on page 
52, is the most compact of any ever 
built. While it controls 135 feeder 
switches and the dimmers regulate the 
lighting load of 650 kw., it is only about 
1 3 feet long, and is installed in a recess 
of the prompt side of the proscenium 
arch. The remote switchboard is in- 
stalled directly under the stage in the 
basement. At the rear of this board are 
mounted the reactors, which are con- 
trolled by the Vitrohm plates on the con- 
trol board (shown at top of page 52). 



49 




W ^V R, D 



O >J 



EI-ELC TRIC 



COMPAN 




50 



w ^v Ft r> 



L E O IN 



ELECTRIC 



C O M F*xV IN Y 




Bank of Ward Leonard Vitrohm plates, controlling the reactance dimmers shown below. The center picture on 
the opposite page shows this pilot dimmer with the pilot switches and steel front added. This is the largest and 
finest auditorium in the United States, having a seating capacity of 12,000 persons. The dimmer is the largest 
in the world. Total load connected to dimmers, 900 kw. The pilot board shown in the center of opposite page 
controls the contactor board in the basement. This was built by the Cleveland Switchboard Company. 




The Ward Leonard 
Reactance Dimmers 
installed at the rear of 
the contactor board in 
the basement of the 
Cleveland Auditorium. 
These are controlled 
by the bank of Vit- 
rohm plates, shown 
above, and regulate 
the lamps of stage 
and house from full 
brilliancy to black out. 
This is the first instal- 
lation of its kind and 
has been in operation 
for about one year, giv- 
ing perfect satisfaction. 



51 



/ 



WAR D 



L E O IW A Ft 



E LE C X R I C 



C O M F> 



IS T Y 







Vitrohm plates on the 
rear of the pilot board, 
shown at bottom of 

this page. 



Grauman's Metro- 
politan Theatre, 
Los Angeles, desig- 
nated on the coast 
as the '* Show 
Hou se of the 
World.' Holmes 
and Sanborn, Con- 
sulting Engineers. 



■r w CI ,'t **fL -*r^ • — ' 






1 1? w ■ luMi-JUniffimififll 



"!• .; .1 H iJ >l 

Jil^iiiliL 



Hi 

if 

L 



Pilot dimmer and 
switch-board con- 
trolling, by means 
of Ward Leonard 
Reactance Dim- 
mers, the largest 
lighting load of any 
theatre — 650 kw. 
The pilot switches 
shown control a 
Hub Electric Com- 
pany Remote 
Switchboard in the 
basement. 




Ward Leonard Reactor. 



52 



w 



L E O N A 



ELECTRIC 



COM f> ^V >I "Y 




Granada Theatre. San Francisco. One of the recent installations of Ward Leonard Dimmers on the coa^t . 

370 kw. lighting load, controlled by the dimmer equipment shown in the insert picture. 

53 



s 



-W Jk. Ft D 



L E O N A Ft 



ELLE-CTFilC 



COM PAN Y 



Auditorium of Castles by the Sea Theatre. 
Vitrohm dimmer bank and switchboard 
shown below. 




Castles by the Sea, at Long Beach, L. I., is 
one of the many dining, dancing and amuse- 
ment palaces where Vitrohm dimmers are 
depended upon under all of the conditions 
of service usually existing at seaside resorts. 



54 



W ^X R. E> 



L E O N A 



ELECTRIC 



C O M F» A N If 



Ward Leonard motion picture type 
cross-control dimmer in the State 
Theatre, Pittsburgh. Each 
dimmer is equipped with 
two-drive rods so that each 
dimmer can be set to dim 
brighten independ- 
ently of all the others 
and all can be oper- 
ated as set from the 
one slow motion 
wheel. This per- 
mits the dimming 
of any particular 
group simultane- 
ously with the 
brightening of 
any other group. 
The compact ar- 
rangement made 
possible in this 
construction has 
many important ad- 
vantages for control 
from the projection 
booth. 




55 



y 



w 



R. D 



LEO >«' ^ 



L e. C T R I C 



C O M F" ^V IS' Y 




When Mr. George Eastman built 
the Eastman Theatre for the people 
of Rochester, he built for per- 
manence — permanence in service 
Hence. Vitrohm Dimmers tor con- 
trolling upward? of 200.000 watts 
in lamp load were installed in thi^ 
wonderful institution. 

The Vitrohm dimmer installation is 
shown at the right. A rear view ot 
the dimmer bank i< shown below. 

The installation picture at the right 
shows the Ward Leonard "pre-set"" 
a-i used on these dimmers. This 
arrangement permits the setting of 
the operating lever so that it either 
"drops in" or drops out"' at the 
preset pos'tion, thus leaving the 
predetermined amount of dimmer 
resistance in the circuit. 




56 



L. E O N A R D 



E, !_, 



C T R. I C 



COM PANY 



Nearly all of the prominent theatres on Broad- 
way use Vitrohm Dimmer equipment tor lighting 
effects. The Winter Garden and Rivoli are no 
exception. The partial list of Vitrohm instal- 
lations on page 02 gives some idea of their 
universal application. 




57 



/ 



W A. R. D 



L E O N A. 



ELECTRIC 



C O M F» A ]%' 




A typical floor plan for stage lighting 




Yitrohm Dimmer equipment and switchboard used for 
controlling the lighting of the Auditorium of the 
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York. 



PORTABLE EQUIPMENT 

Compactness and light weight of Vitrohm 
dimmers are of particular advantage to 
travelling or road shows when the desired 
lighting effects cannot be secured with the 
local equipment. Here and on the opposite 
page are shown several equipments pro- 
vided for the purpose. 




400-ampere Portable Dimmer equipment manufactured 
by the New York Calcium Light Company, using 8 
standard rectangular Vitrohm plates and 18 slide type 
Vitrohm spotlight dimmers. 



58 



W AR D 



L E. O N A. R E> 



ELE.C T RIC 



COM F» A. N Y 



Portable Dimmer equipment made by 
James Pennetather, New York, using 
round type Vitrohm plates. 






Portable Dimmer equipment made especially 
for the spectacular show, "'Mecca, - ' using Vit- 
rohm round plates and Ward Leonard control 
levers on the switchboard. 




Portable Dimmer equipment made by Kliegl 
Bros., New York, using Vitrohm round plates. 



59 



/ 



WAR. E> 



L, E O N 



n c 



RIC 



C O >i r» 



IS' "V 



PROJECTION LAMP CONTROL RHEOSTAT 

(For 600 and 900- Watt Lamps) 





THE life and efficiency of a projection lamp 
depend on maintenance of the current sup- 
plied the lamp exactly in accordance with the 
rated current on which it was designed to 
operate. 

To accomplish this a rheostat is required 
capable of reducing the line voltage to pre- 
cisely the proper voltage needed to permit the 
proper amount of current to flow through the 

lamp. 

The Ward Leonard Lamp Control Rheostat 



is especially designed to serve this purpose with 
maximum dependability and convenience. 

To reduce the line voltage to approximately 
that desired for the proper operation of the 
lamp a fixed resistance, made up of Ward 
Leonard Ribohm Resistor Units, is provided. 
These rigid, self-supporting units are made of 
metal ribbons, are very light in weight, are 
practically unbreakable, and have great capa- 
city for heat radiation. 

An adjustable resistance element, of Ward 
Leonard Vitrohm construction, permits close 
regulation of the lamp current. Initial current 
inrush is automatically limited sufficiently to 
assure slow heating of the lamp filament — a 
feature of substantial value in increasing the 
life of the lamp. 

Ward Leonard Projection Lamp Control 
Rheostats can be used on either Direct or 
Alternating Current, and can be supplied for 
service on line voltages of 32 to 320 volts. 

In common with all Ward Leonard apparatus 
the workmanship, finish and general appear- 
ance of this equipment fully accords with its 
superior efficiency in service. 



MOTOR RHEOSTATS FOR BLOWER EQUIPMENT 






D. C. Motor Starter 



D. C. Motor Starter with 16 
Points of Field Control 



A. C. Singlc-PhaM. Starter 



RELIABLE motor starters for the control 
.. of motor-driven blowers for ventilating 
theatre auditoriums, motion picture projection 
booths, spotlight booths, etc., are essential to the 
proper operation of this important equipment. 
Ward Leonard Motor Starters will be found 
perfectly adapted to thisserviceandareavailable 
in types and sizes covering all requirements. 

Ward Leonard Vitrohm and Ribohm Re- 
sistor Units, incorporated in all of these motor 



starters, provide a resistance element (the 
heart of a motor starter) of great mechanical 
strength and heat radiating capacity — far su- 
perior to ordinary cast iron grids. 

These features, combined with other points 
of great practical advantage, such as per- 
manently efficient contactors, smooth-working 
of moving parts, and dust-proof construction, 
assure the easy, positive and dependable oper- 
ation of this equipment. 



00 



W ^V Fi I> 



LEON 



F£ O 



ELE.C T RIC 



C O vf p» ^v W Y 



PUSH BUTTON CONTACTOR 

(For Organ Blower Motor) 



A RELIABLE automatic starter for the re- 
mote control of theatre organ blower 
motors is a practically indispensable adjunct 
to the proper operation of such organs in the 
up-to-date theatre. 

Ward Leonard Push Button Contactors of 
the type here illustrated are standard equip- 
ment for this service. Correct design, quality 
material, high grade workmanship — heavily 
insulated operating coils, liberal contact areas, 
dust-proof construction, thorough ventilation 
— Vitrohm Resistors. These are elements 
which assure the efficient performance of this 
highly important equipment. 




ARC CONTROL RHEOSTATS 




EASY to operate. Dependable. Regulates 
closely over wide range. Mechanically 
strong. Will give long service under heavy 
duty. Low cost. 

The perfect rheostat for motion picture, spot- 
light or arc control requirements. 

Ward Leonard Arc Control Rheostats, 
equipped with Ward Leonard Vitrohm and 
Ribohm resistor units, weigh but half as much 
as ordinary cast iron grid series rheostats, 
and are practically trouble-proof. They are 
supplied in several special designs, respectively 
intended for picture arc control, for con- 
trolling spotlight in booth, for spotlight on 
stage, or to serve as generator ballast. 

This equipment is widely used and recom- 
mended for such service in the theatrical field, 
and will be found definitely superior in point of 
service, first cost, or maintenance expense. 



GENERATOR FIELD RHEOSTATS 



THE motor generator set which supplies the 
energy for the motion picture machines and 
spotlights is generally supplied with a rheostat 
for field control. Ward Leonard Vitrohm Field 
Rheostats will be found exactly adapted to 
theatre needs in this service. 

The Vitrohm construction of these rheostats 
is very similar to that described in connection 
with Ward Leonard Dimmer Plates pictured 
elsewhere in this book. Fire-proof, moisture- 
proof, non-absorbent vitreous enamel com- 
pletely and permanently protects the resistance 
wire from oxidation or corrosion. 

These rheostats are provided in sizes cover- 
ing all usual ampere capacities, and in various 
types of control arrangement to suit require- 
ments. 





61 



/ 



W A R D 



LEON 



E LE C X R I C 



COMPANY 



A Partial List of Ward Leonard Vitrohm Dimmer Installations 



ARKANSAS 

Little Rock 

Little Rock Theatre 



CALIFORNIA 

Anaheim 

Anaheim Theatre 
Elks' CJub 

Bakersfield 

Hippodrome Theatre 

Eureka 

Eureka Theatre 

Fuller ton 

Masonic Hall 

Clendale 

Palace Grand Thea. 

Los Angeles 

Arlington Theatre 
Belvedere Theatre 
Chottiner Theatre 
Circle Theatre 
Edison Club Room 
Graff Theatre 
Hotel Theatre 
Larchmont Theatre 
Le Conte, Jr., High 

School 
Loew's State Thea. 
McKinley High 

School 
McMurray Theatre 
Metropolitan Theatre 
Moneta Theatre 
John Muir High 

School 
Paramount Theatre 
Rivoli Theatre 
Sentuons High School 
Southout Theatre 
Temple Theatre 
rivoli Theatre 
Tripoli Theatre 
Van Nuys Theatre 
Writers' Club 

Monte Rio 

Bohemian Grove 

Oakland 

Fox-Oakland Theatre 
Masonic Temple 

Ocean Park 
Dome Theatre 

Pasadena 

Raymond Theatre 

Richmond 

T & D Theatre 

San Francisco 
Castro Theatre 
Excelsior Theatre 
Fox Theatre 
Granada Theatre 
Palace Hotel 
Rial to Theatre 

Santa Clara 

Santa Clara College 

San Pedro 

Dodson Theatre 

Santa Rosa 
Cline Theatre 

CONNECTICUT 

Bridgeport 
Poli Theatre 

Hartford 

Poli Theatre 

Meriden 

Community Theatre 

New London 
Opera House 

DELAWARE 

Wilmington 

Dupont Theatre 



FLORIDA 

Miami 

Masonic Temple 

GEORGIA 

Savannah 

Masonic Temple 

ILLINOIS 

Champaign 

Virginia Theatre 

Chicago 

Aryan Grotto Temple 
Blue Island Masonic 

Temple 
Central Park Thea. 
Chicago Theatre 
Columbia Theatre 
Cort Theatre 
Covent Garden Thea. 
Englewood Theatre 
Glickmans Palace Th. 
Grand Theatre 
Hamlin Ave. Thea. 
HumboldtParkLodge 
813, A. F. & A. M. 
HumboldtParkLodge 
Commandery No. 
79, K. T. 
Illinois Theatre 
Lawndale Masonic 

Temple^ 
Lawndale Theatre 
Lincoln Tavern 
Logan Sq. Masonic 

Temple 
Lomax Theatre 
Marzano Dance Hall 
Midway Masonic 

Temple 
Opera Club 
Orchestra Hall 
Powers Theatre 
Rainbo Gardens 
Roosevelt Theatre 
Roseland-State Thea. 
St. Bernard Com- 
mandery No. 35, 
K. T. 
Senate Theatre 
Trianon Ball Room 
State-Congress Thea. 
Tiffin Theatre 
Victoria Tbeatre 

Evanston 

Evanston Theatre 

Kewanee 

Peerless Theatre 

Lincoln 

Lincoln Theatre 

Oak Park 

Oak Park Theatre 
Warrington Theatre 

Peoria 

Orpheum Theatre 

INDIANA 

La Porte 

Indiana Theatre 

Michigan City 
Tivoli Theatre 

South Bend 

Palace Theatre 

Whiting 

Whiting Community 
Memorial House 

IOWA 

Davenport 

New Theatre 
Des Motnes 

Roosevelt High 
School 

Ottumwa 

High School 



KENTUCKY 

Covington 

St. Joseph School 

MARYLAND 

Baltimore 
Johns Hopkins H. S. 
Ford Theatre 

MASSACHUSETTS 

Boston 

Fine Arts Theatre. 
Hollis St. Theatre 
Loews State Thea. 
Selwyn Theatre 

Somerville 

Central Theatre 

Springfield 
Poli Theatre 

MICHIGAN 

Det roit 

Capitol Theatre 
Gayety Theatre 

MISSOURI 

Joplin 

Scottish Rites Cath'l 

St. Louis 

Shubert-Jefferson 
Gayety Theatre 

NEW JERSEY 

Asbury Park 
Main Theatre 

Jersey City 

Heste Theatre or Ritz 
Rivoli Theatre 
State Theatre 
Twin Theatre 

Lakewood 

Lakewood Theatre 
Palace Theatre 

Montclair 

Claridge Theatre 

Newark 

Shubert Rialto 
Central Theatre 
Rivoli 

New Brunswick 
Opera House 
Reade Theatre 
Rivoli Theatre 

Pater son 

Lyceum Theatre 
Paterson Masonic 
Lodge 

Trenton 

Capitol Theatre 
Main Theatre 

West Hobo ken 

Roosevelt Theatre 

NEW YORK 

Amityville, L. /. 
Masonic Lodge 

Astoria, L. L 
Astoria Theatre 

Brooklyn 
Bay Ridge Theatre 
Bensonhurst Thea. 
Capitol Theatre 
Commodore Theatre 
Glenwood Theatre 
Kismet Temple 
Meserole Theatre 
Midwood Theatre 
Miller Theatre 
B F. Moss Theatre 
National Theatre 
Premier Theatre 

Babylon. LI. 
Capitol Theatre 



Buffalo 

Gayety Theatre 
Shea's Opera House 
Statler Hotel 
Victoria Theatre 

Cedarhurst, L. I 
Central Theatre 

Dunton, L. / 
Masonic Lodge 

Forest Htlts, L. I . 
Globe Theatre 

Freeporl, L. I . 

Freeport Social Club 

Hempstead, L. I . 
Rivoli Theatre 

Jamaica, L. /. 

Merrick Theatre 
Roseland Theatre 

Jamestown 

Palace Theatre 
Masonic Temple 

Long Beach, L. I . 
Castles by the Sea 

Middletown 

Middletown Theatre 

New Rochelle 
High School 
Loew's Theatre 

New York City 
Belasco Theatre 
Blue Bird Dancing 
Century Theatre 
Clover Garden 
Cohan & Harris Thea. 
Cort Theatre 
Daly 63rd St. Theatre 
Empire Theatre 
Freeman Theatre 
14th St. Theatre 
Hamilton 

Harlem Opera House 
Hippodrome 
Hotel Plaza 
Jefferson Theatre 
Keith's Colonial 
Keith's Royal 
Keith's 8 1st St. Thea. 
Liberty Theatre 
Loews National 
Loew's 83rd St. Thea. 
Longacre Theatre 
Lyceum Theatre 
Marc Klaw Theatre 
Maxine Elliott Thea. 
New Winter Garden 
Palais Royal 
Playhouse 
Proctor's Theatre 
Rainbow Dancing 
Punch & Judy Thea. 
Regent Theatre 
Ritz Theatre 
Roosevelt Theatre 
Roseland 
Shubert Theatre 
Strand Theatre 
Tivoli Theatre 

Niagara Falls 

Cataract Theatre 
Strand Theatre 

Ozone Park, L. I . 
Tower Theatre 

Peeksktll 

Peekskill Theatre 

Rochester 

Eastman Theatre 
Fays Theatre 
Temple Theatre 

Rockawax Park, L. I . 
Park Theatre 

Rockvtlle Center, L. I. 
Strand Theatre 

Sheepshead Bay. L. I. 
St. George Theatre 



Troy 

Proctor's Theatre 
Strand Theatre 

Uniontown 
State Theatre 

White Plains 
Lynn Theatre 

Woodhaven, L /. 
Roosevelt Theatre 

Yonkers 

Metro Theatre 
Orpheum Theatre 
Strand Theatre 

NORTH CAROLINA 
High Point 

High Point Theatre 
Lexington 

Lexington Theatre 

OHIO 
Akron 

Pythian Temple 
Cleveland 

Allen Theatre 

Municipal Hall 
Dayton 

National Theatre 
Niles 

Niles Theatre 

PENNSYLVANIA 

Braddock 

Capitol Theatre 
McKeesport 

Columbian Theatre 
Philadelphia 

Germantown Theatre 
Pittsburgh 

State Theatre 
Sc rant on 

Scranton Theatre 

SOUTH CAROLINA 

Greensburgh 

National Theatre 

RHODE ISLAND 

"Newport 

Newport Theatre 
Providence 

Palace Dance Hall 

TENNESSEE 

Chattanooga 

Central High School 

TEXAS 

Dallas 

Loew's Theatre 

VIRGINIA 

Winchester 

Winchester Theatre 
Handley School 

WASHINGTON 
Seattle 

Garfield High School 
Hotel Theatre 
Holy Rosary School 
St. John's Parish 
School # 

WISCONSIN 

Madison 

Orpheum Theatre 

WYOMING 

Cheyenne 
Masonic Temple 

CANADA 

Toronto 

Allen Theatre 
Univ. of Toronto 

Winnipeg 
Gayety Theatre 



There are hundreds of others (installed throughout the country during the past twenty 
years) that are proving Vitrohm Dimmers are truly Continuous Duty Dimmers. 



02 




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