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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Insulators in Tunnels


Old Tom
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Hello,

This picture is from one of the tunnels at Vimy. I have also seen similar ones in the cellar of a restaurent in Arras. I understand they carried telephone wires but the look sufficient for much higher voltages than necessary for telphone lines, possibly for lighting circuits. I'm outside my field of competence, can anyone elaborate? post-3524-1253375552.jpg

Old Tom

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They are also connected to the outside of most of the houses in France. You also see and find ceramic insulators.

Mick

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I am no electrician but I think that these particular insulators and metal brackets in the Grange subway at Vimy date from 1936 for the electric lighting installed when it was opened to the public. The subways did also have electric light installed in 1917.

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Insulators of this type are normally meant for use with bare wires which are high voltage and usually kept out of reach (eg on a pole). Stringing live bare electric wires in the confined space of a tunnel would seem asking for trouble especially since insulated cables were available. However the British army was quite late in introducing insulated twisted pair telegraph lines so it might have been a means of stringing a bare telegraph cable underground and keeping it from earthing.

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Here is a drawing from the War Diary of the Chief Engineer of the Canadian Corps of the lighting in the Vimy subways in April 1917.

3934690242_88232b6ab8_o.jpg

Here is a detail of a photo of the Grange subway as opened to the public c1936.

3934690358_91a83fbe03_o.jpg

Can anyone comment on the relationship between the insulators and the lighting?

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Looks like a straight forward low voltage 200v D.C. installation, as to be expected in the early 20th century. Bare wires and insulators being the norm. Telepony cables, as you will no doubt have seen on photos with men with gas masks and field telepones, used insulated cables.

Alan

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Those insulators look like the standard size insulator that were used in Australia before all the wires went underground. Ours were normally made

of porcelain. Used to have fun pinging them with our slings when I was a kid

D

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