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NATIONAL MUSEUM GETS UNIQUE HYDRO COLLECTION

 NATIONAL MUSEUM GETS UNIQUE HYDRO COLLECTION
 OTTAWA, July 27 /PRNewswire/ - A priceless collection of antique


electrical appliances and artifacts, much of it never seen by Canadians, will soon be available for public exhibition thanks to a recent agreement between Ontario Hydro and the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.
 Under the agreement, Ontario Hydro will donate its entire collection to the museum. "The museum will give this extraordinary collection the care and preservation it deserves, thus ensuring that it becomes a national asset for the benefit and enjoyment of all Canadians," said Larry Leonoff, Hydro's vice-president, general counsel and secretary.
 The collection of over 7,500 artifacts, said to be the finest of its kind, has been on loan to the museum since 1977. It consists of industrial machinery and equipment and arc lamps used in turn-of-the- century streetlighting systems. There are also many consumer items including stoves and fridges, electric irons and various types of household bulbs and lamps. In addition, the collection has a considerable number of documents, manufacturers catalogues and technical magazines.
 Significant pieces in the collection include the first motor manufactured in Canada by John Joseph Wright and used in a coffee shop in Toronto in the early 1880s. There's also an Edison dynamo and an electrical current distribution board used to activate the gates of the locks on the Sault Ste. Marie locks around 1895.
 The museum's senior curator of energy, Louise Trottier, said the cataloguing process will be an exciting project. "It's probably the largest and most comprehensive collection in Canada, but without the proper research, we cannot define precisely the content. Research and documentation will certainly help us to find the most significant objects retracing the evolution of electricity in Canada." Museum staff with the collaboration of specialists from Hydro have started documenting and cataloguing the collection, which should take over a year to complete.
 The centrepiece of the collection is the Beck Circus, an assortment of electrical appliances and equipment mounted on the back of a flat-bed truck. The Circus, an idea of Hydro founder Sir Adam Beck, travelled the Ontario countryside in 1912 demonstrating the benefits of electricity. It will be on view at the museum's "Techno Days" from Aug. 28 to 30.
 The Hydro collection is a fascinating journey through the history of electrical technology. It includes items from all over the world, almost all of them coming from companies and individuals interested in preserving this unique aspect of history. Ontario's municipal utilities were also generous contributors to the collection. It was begun in the early 1960s primarily at the suggestion of Lt.-Col. A.A. Kennedy, then president of the Ontario Municipal Electrical Association (a forerunner of the MEA). Kennedy realized that little was being done anywhere in the country about saving these artifacts and that they would probably be lost forever if not collected in an organized way. Hydro agreed and started the collection as a Centennial project, with T.E. Dietrich working in Hydro public relations as project manager.
 The agreement with Canada's National Museum of Science and Technology allows Hydro to borrow from the collection from time to time for exhibition at its various information centres, and for other occasions.
 -0- 7/27/92
 /CONTACT: Geoff McCaffrey, media relations, of Ontario Hydro, 416-592-6911; or Louise Trottier, senior curator, energy, or Jean-Guy Monette, communications officer, 613-991-3047, of the museum/ CO: National Museum of Science and Technology ST: Ontario IN: SU:


SB -- NY048 -- 3453 07/27/92 11:05 EDT
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Date:Jul 27, 1992
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