..... Stumper Index
Stumper #1.
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How Good Is Your Science KQ?

[i.e. your Knowledge Quotient]

- About Time? -

Although some understanding of electrical devices will make this stumper easier to solve, I've included some subtle (?) clues and I think the answer can probably be deduced

In the mid-1930's when the Hoover (then Boulder) Dam was built across the Colorado River in Nevada to provide the City of Los Angeles with water and electrical power many industries were faced with modifying their equipment. This was made necessary because while the Los Angeles Bureau of Power and Light had been providing AC power at 50 cycles per second, the new power system, designed to meet the new national standard, would deliver power at 60 cycles per second.

The City had anticipated this problem and had budgeted for making alterations to customer equipment that would not run properly at 60 cycles. In addition to dealing with major industrial equipment, the city had to adapt or replace about 125,000 small items of a specific type found in homes and offices. These items were entirely dependent for their accuracy upon the frequency of the electrical current that was their sole power source.

Time was of the essence and the city arranged for the rental of a large factory, hired 75 skilled workers and 125 unskilled workers (who were given a six-week training course), and sent letters to customers asking them to deliver these specific items to neighborhood collection centers to be modified or replaced. The modifications took 18 months at the end of which time 55,000 of the items that could not be adapted (but had been replaced) were dumped into Los Angeles Harbor, the workers were sent back to the unemployment lines, and the factory closed.

When Boulder Dam's electricity came surging along the 266 miles of power lines these modified electrical items allowed Angelenos' personal lives to continue in a timely fashion
- what were they?



Reference: Invention & Technology Winter 2000 page 64.

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