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the mather system of incandescent electric lighting

Presented here is a 48 page hard cover book titled Direct Current Incandescent Lighting by the Mather Electric Company. This work is not dated but there does exist a tipped-in data sheet on the inside front cover illustrating dynamo sizes. This insert is dated 1893 (see second image below). The actual publication date most likely precedes 1893. The book describes in detail the Mather incandescent electric lighting system. It is profusely illustrated and provides a rare and interesting glimpse into the early days of of electric lighting and power generation. All illustrations that appear in this book have been presented here and appropriate captions placed under each illustration and photograph.

Direct Current Incandescent Lighting

The Mather Electric Company

Mather Electric Co. Direct Current Incandescent Lighting

Dimensions of Mather Dynamos


The Mather Electric Company deems it necessary, in view of the recently formed combinations in the electrical business, to state that it is entirely independent of any and all such combinations.

The Mather System of Incandescent Lighting and Transmission of Power is owned and controlled absolutely by The Mather Electric Company, and the business of manufacturing and installing the Mather apparatus will in the future as in the past be conducted without reference to, or association with, any other company.

The Mather Electric Company believes that there is room in this country for an independent company, manufacturing and selling its apparatus on the basis of merit, and expecting a reasonable profit on capital actually invested; to that class of customers who appreciate independence and the advantages of fair competition The Mather Electric Company especially addresses this circular descriptive of its system, assuring them that this Company always has been in control of its own business, is now in control, and proposes to remain so in the future. The Mather Electric Company is not for sale now or in the future. All statements to the contrary, from whatever source, are false.

INCANDESCENT electric lighting is fast taking the place of all other means of artificial illumination; this is due to the fact that it possesses qualities most desirable, and not to be found in any other light.

With its use there is no danger to life, and the risk of fire is reduced to a minimum ; there is no overheating or vitiating of the air, both of which are injurious to the health as well as destructive to decorations and fabrics of all kinds; the light can be divided ; that is, lamps of different candle-power burned on the same circuit, and in any place or position; the trouble due to shadows is entirely avoided ; and for manufacturing purposes in general, its economy alone gives it the preference.

It is the most flexible light, as it can be placed in any position. It will burn without a flicker in a gale of wind, and, in short, is thoroughly practicable where gas and other illuminants are useless.
It is the safest light, because there is no flame exposed at any time, and the necessity of carrying lighted torches, tapers, or matches from place to place is done away with.

Should the lamp be broken, the only effect would be the extinguishing of the light.
This claim of absolute safety is attested by the various boards of fire underwriters, in the reductions made in insurance rates where the electric light is used instead of gas or oil.

This type of machine is furnished from 50 to 1,000 lights capacity.

The Mather Incandescent System

The incandescent electric lighting system introduced by The Mather Electric Company in 1884 was the result of careful study and of a determination to develop and place upon the market a system of electric lighting suitable for use under all the varying circumstances attending a system of artificial lighting.

With this end in view the Mather system was carefully developed by the best talent, both electrical and mechanical, to be obtained.
The result of these efforts has been successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of the founders of the company. The system has been very widely and always favorably known. The strongest point and most emphatic proof of the success of the system is the long list of customers among that class of users who always believe that "the best is the cheapest," and who, therefore, take time and trouble to investigate before buying, and thus, when they buy, do succeed in getting the best. No other system can begin to show such a long list of users among the many prominent and representative business houses of this country. A reference to the list of customers will demonstrate this claim to be amply proved, and the strongest claims for consideration that the system presents are references to the work already accomplished.

In the development of the system the following points were especially aimed at : —
SIMPLICITY. — In order that the system might be universally used; that it might not require special and expert care ; that there should be the smallest possible number of wearing parts; that there should be the least liability to get out of order; that the system should be absolutely reliable under all circumstances,
The Mather dynamo has the least number of parts and is the simplest dynamo electric machine ever produced.

EFFICIENCY. — The Mather dynamo is constructed upon thoroughly scientific principles and is theoretically perfect in electrical design. The electrical efficiency of the dynamo, therefore, is extremely high — higher than even claimed for other machines. The electrical design lends itself very readily to superior mechanical construction, and full advantage of this fact has been taken, the result being a machine perfect in its mechanical details. The result is that the commercial efficiency of the system is the highest ever produced in the mechanical generation of electricity.

Repeated tests of the system have confirmed the above statements, and the frequency with which other systems have been displaced by the Mather system is ample proof that all the claims of superiority made for the system are abundantly borne out in practical work.
The details of the system are fully described in the following pages.


Western Wheel Works, Chicago, Illinois.
Western Wheel Works, Chicago, Illinois.

The Field Magnet

The field magnet is of iron, as in other systems, but in form entirely different. Other things being equal, the shape and number of pieces of which a magnet is composed determine its strength. Referring to the cut, it will be seen that the form of the magnet is that of a broken ring; there are no joints, breaks, or abrupt corners to oppose the passage of or to direct the lines of force — points of as great importance in a magnet as that steam and water pipes should have as few joints and turns as possible. We have the best possible form; that is, the "horse-shoe" magnet, every part of which is covered by the wire, and the armature occupies the best possible position ; that is, between the poles of the magnet.

The advantage, electrically, of the form of magnet used in the Mather System is so great that carefully conducted tests have shown that a field magnet composed of one casting without joints of any kind crossing the magnetic circuit, and made of cast iron, is more efficient than a similar field made of wrought iron but made of several pieces with joints across the magnetic circuit.

A large part of the success of the Mather System is due to this particular form of field magnet, which is fully covered by patents.

Through each pole of the magnet a side-rod passes ; these in turn support at each end a yoke which forms the bearings, the whole being firmly secured by two nuts only ; it will be seen that the number of parts has been reduced to the fewest possible, and under no circumstances whatever can they change their relative positions.