Sangamo Electric Co.

Sangamo Electric Department 9 employees, 1932

Sangamo Electric Department 9 employees, 1932 (Sangamon Valley Collection)

Editor’s note to readers: We regularly receive technical questions about old Sangamo Electric meters — they obviously were so well made that they practically last forever. Luckily, two readers have responded to some of those questions. (See comments below.) We greatly appreciate their help. 

The Sangamo Electric Co. manufactured  electrical meters, time switches and sonar and radio equipment, among other items, in Springfield from the 1890s until 1978.

Sangamo was an offshoot of the Illinois Watch Co., and its Springfield facility generally was the watch company’s former factory, which took up four square blocks between Ninth and 11th streets and North Grand and Converse avenues. Sangamo rented space in the watch factory for about two decades, but with the watch business declining and Sangamo growing, Sangamo eventually purchased the entire plant.

Robert Lanphier

Robert Lanphier

Sangamo was incorporated as a separate firm in 1899, after several years as an Illinois Watch subsidiary. Incorporators were Jacob Bunn Jr., watch company vice president, Bunn’s brother Henry, and Ludwig Gutmann, who owned a patent for an alternating-current electric watt meter.  The other key figure was a young engineer, Robert C. Lanphier (1878-1939), who helped convert Gutmann’s concept into a practical meter.

“The Sangamo Electric Company started with a dinner hour conversation Mr. Lanphier had with Jacob Bunn (Jr.), head of the Illinois Watch Factory, in 1897,” according to Lanphier’s obituary in the New York Times on Jan. 30, 1939. “His interest aroused by the story of the invention of an electric meter, Mr. Lanphier … plunged into research into the meter invention.”

Gutmann sold his interest in 1905, after a court injunction limited Sangamo’s ability to produce his meter. Meanwhile, however, Lanphier had created a direct-current meter, and  Sangamo began producing ampere hour meters for use in automobiles (a step that, incidentally, led to Lanphier meeting Thomas Edison). When Jacob Bunn died in 1926, Lanphier replaced him as Sangamo president; he remained active in the company until his death.

Type HF watthour meter

Sangamo Type HF watthour meter

Sangamo produced anti-submarine sonar  and mica and paper capacitors, as well as watt-hour meters, during World War II, and the company’s employment jumped — from 1,200 locally in 1929 to more than 3,000 in 1943. Charles “Chick” Lanphier (1909-78), Robert’s son, took a lead role in the sonar business and himself later became Sangamo’s president and CEO.

“Chick became known in Washington as ‘Mr. Sonar,’ as he led this country’s development of shipboard sonar for the U.S. Navy,” a nephew, Robert Lanphier III, was quoted in a 2008 State Journal-Register article. “There was nothing at Sangamo of which he was not aware, and in which he did not take a keen interest.”

Sangamo continued to expand after the war. Locally, its major acquisition was Capitol Aviation, a Springfield aviation sales and service firm, but Sangamo also acquired a number of electronic component manufacturers elsewhere.

Company sales amounted to $68 million in 1966, and total employment (not just in Springfield) totaled 4,800. As of 1970, in addition to the Springfield factory,  the firm had two plants in South Carolina, one each in Massachusetts and Mississippi, two in Canada, three in England, and one in Scotland.

French oil and gas conglomerate Schlumberger, intending to diversify, purchased Sangamo Electric in 1975. In 1978, however, Schlumberger moved meter production to Georgia and Florida from Springfield, and the local plant was closed. The site now houses the offices of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

More information: See the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s digest of Sangamo Electric records for more on the company, especially its acquisitions and expansions. Sangamo: A History of 50 Years, a privately published two-part booklet written by Robert Lanphier and Benjamin Thomas, discusses the founding of the company in detail, development of many of its products, and its associations with suppliers, distributors and customers as of 1949.

A great deal more information is in the comments section below. See especially the comment by Richard Altig, who worked for Sangamo for more than 30 years.

To find the age of a Sangamo meter: Go to SangamonLink’s subsidiary entry, Sangamo Electric meter chronology. Thanks very much to reader Dan Cothern for this  useful information.

We’re also very grateful to reader Dave Dahle for his individual responses (see comments) to many of those who have emailed SangamonLink with questions. Go to a second subsidiary entry, Sangamo/Schlumberger Watthour Meter Serial Log for additional information from him.


Original content copyright Sangamon County Historical Society. You are free to republish this content as long as credit is given to the Society.


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113 Responses to Sangamo Electric Co.

  1. Blanca Fuentes says:

    Compre un reloj quisiera me dijeran de que año es.
    Sangamo clock no. 13671 type B.7 5724 100-125 volts
    50-60 cycles patent aplied for sangamo eléctrica compañía springiel Illinois usa

    • editor says:

      Ms. Fuentes: Based on this web site, I believe your clock was manufactured between late 1927, when Sangamo started producing 7-jewel clocks (shown by the “type B.7” indicator), and 1929, when the Hamilton-Sangamo corporation was formed and clock tags began to use the name Hamilton-Sangamo. There apparently is no way to pin down the date more closely.

      Thanks for finding us.

      • Charles Marburger says:

        I have a Sangamo 4700 computer. A giant machine with reels. Does anyone have any information on this thing. I have someone that wants to buy it and they want a manual as well.

  2. sarah says:

    Bought a storage unit and metors were inside ,any value!

    • editor says:

      Sarah: Hard to tell about value — it may not be much. But PayPal and similar sites might show what the same model meters have sold for in the past.

      Good luck, and thanks for reading.

  3. Joe MacNeille says:

    Hello. I am hoping to find any information I can about a specific Sangamo Electric Watt-Hour Meter. It appears to be the same type of meter as is shown in the picture on this page. The number stamped on the metal tag is 7246439. There is also a number hand written on the white square immediately below the dials which is k-15822. I came provide a picture if it would help. Is there a way to find out when this meter was made and any other information about its history? Thank you for your assistance.

    • Dave D says:

      The meter shown on this page is a Type HFA, and yours would date to 1936, based on the S/N. The K-15822 would be the utility’s ID number (no worries there, as the utility has likely long since written it off. Sometimes these local ID numbers were stamped onto strips of metal that were then wrapped around a flange provided for that purpose, and can be easily unwrapped if the case).

  4. editor says:

    Mr. MacNeille: I imagine you’ve already done basic web research. Best next step might be to ask the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library, Springfield’s public library. I’ll check too the next time I go there, but if you want to call yourself, the number is (217) 753-4900, ext. 234.

    Thanks for reading.

  5. David Schmalz says:

    My grandfather, Albert Gillespie, worked at Sangamo his whole life until he retired in about 1949. I believe he was a foreman in the parts department. A Sangamo clock kept time in our living room until the 1980s, and my parents kept it there even after it stopped running. Now it sits on my piano as a memento.

    • editor says:

      It’s a shame Springfield lost Sangamo and most of the rest of its historic industries. Thanks for reading.

      • Gman says:

        I have a Sangamo 9999 meter do you know when these were made ? Mine is on milbank meter base its aluminum and has two breakers

        • editor says:

          There are a lot of people asking similar questions. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers, but perhaps another reader will. Thanks for reading.

        • Dave D says:

          I’m thinking the 9999 is the reading on the register. There will be another plate with the ‘type’ and the manufacturer S/N down below the register.

  6. Gary Harmon says:

    I have two unique bench type digital watt meters. They are marked Sangamo Weston Schlumberger BUT there is no model number present anywhere. They are enclosed in a yellow-gold clam case. What I need is a model number and more importantly documentation like a schematic and calibration instructions. Can you help or aim me in the right direction. Thanks in advance.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Harmon: I assume you’ve already googled the Sangamo meter collectors world. I don’t have any other specific suggestions, except that Springfield’s Elijah Iles House has a permanent collection of Illinois watches, which were made by Sangamo Electric’s predecessor company. It’s possible that they have had similar questions asked before and might be able to point you to a knowledgeable source of information. Contact info: Elijah Iles House, 628 S 7th St, Springfield, IL 62703; (217) 492-5929. Good luck, and thanks for reading.

  7. Gregory Schiele says:

    We are doing a job for Teleflex Inc and they have a Sangamo Meter that needs service. Where and who can I get in touch with to help me with this? Thanks

    • editor says:

      Mr. Schiele: I’ll check a couple of local sources and let you know if I find out anything, but I’m not optimistic. We regularly get questions like this about Sangamo and other defunct Springfield industries, and I’m sorry to say I seldom come up with answers.

    • Dave D says:

      Your best bet was to get ahold of your local utility commission for info on third-party meter testing labs (like Chapman Metering).

  8. Gordon Silverthorn says:

    I am trying to determine the calculation of a Sangamo Whatthour meter.
    It is a 4 dial “CJ3S” 100 Amp meter 230 Volt.
    The serial number is c 6 329513.

    This was hooked up to a 110 circuit for a well water pump to determine electrical usage for a shared system of 4 dwellings.

    What would the multiplication factor be? 1x? 10x?

    Many thanks

  9. Paul Monaco says:

    Well I’m in similar quandary with the rest of you. My mother acquired a Sangamo kilowatt meter back in the early 70’s. She paid $65.00 in very poor condition, and another $50.00, to restore it, plus the glass face was broken, so add $35.00 for a plastic face cover. She loved it, and was a constant conversation piece. We don’t want to sell it, but would be interested in the value? All I have is the following: On the face-Multiply by 2 * kilowatt hours 220 volts 400 amperes * type D-5 three wire* 53-1/8 watt. and the serial number is sn#1382397. Thanks for any information. Paul.

    • Dave D says:

      What you have invested in it would be about what it’s worth. Be careful with it, as the ‘motor’ contains mercury.

      • editor says:

        Dave: Thanks for all your responses. Obviously, there’s a demand for information on old Sangamo meters. I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise.

  10. Sherri Boner says:

    I recently donated a small Sangamo item to a local man who collects Sangamo clocks. These have now all been donated to the Iles House Museum and Sangamo exhibit will open there in May 2016.

  11. Roger Whitaker says:

    I worked at Sangamo, first as a college student during my Summer breaks of 1968 and 1969. I started full time in September of 1970, working in the Communications Products department under Clancy Hudson and Jack Barber. I designed modems. I have wonderful memories of all the great warm people I worked with for two more years until the downsizing started and, as a recent hire, I was laid off. I will have to say, as a testimony to the quality of management there, that my lay-off was handled extremely well including a month notice and use of company facilities, including long distance telephone calls, in my job search which resulted in my going to work for Texas Instruments in Dallas, another interesting chapter in my life.

    • editor says:

      Roger Whitaker is one of the people who keeps this site running. Thanks for the memory, Roger.

    • Dana-Renee Lee says:

      Your name brings up thoughts of things my grandfather told me about Sangamo. His name was Patric Lee an worked there for many years in the meter department. I wonder if you might remember him. You can contact me at I placed my e-mail here for you to respond to, Thanks.

  12. Alan Hall says:

    I worked at Sangamo Electric, Springfield, Illinois, as a co-op engineering student from 1962 until 1964. My Father, Lacy L. Hall was an employee from the 1940s until the plant closed in 1978. He began in the factory as a parts runner, and ended up as the last production expeditor, closing the plant in 1978, and shipping equipment and parts inventories to plants in Pickens, SC and Oconee, SC. He passed away in May, 2016 at age 96. We had many good memories of the Springfield Plant and its people, including Mr. R. C. Lanphier, Mr. Charles Lanphier, Mr. Charles Dobson, Mr. C. E. Drummond, Mr. Don Blanchard, Mr. Emmett Robb, Mr. Henry Jones, Mr. Larry Gilmore, Mr. Ray Ford, Mr. Ray Stevenson, and a host of others. My time as a co-op student was centered in the manufacturing section for watt-hour meters, capacitors, and time switches. My brother, Mr. Lacy L. Hall II, was a Machinist/Tool and Die Maker apprentice, and went on to work for Dickie-John Corporation, and Eaton Corporation before his retirement.

    Sangamo Electric was a great company with an exemplary tradition of high quality products and genius level personnel. I am proud to have been connected with this outstanding firm for the few years that I was so privileged.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Hall: My father-in-law ran Capital Aviation when it was a Sangamo offshoot. He also flew Sangamo executives around the country. He had much the same experience that you describe. Thanks for reading, and thanks very much for commenting.

    • Cammie Corlas Quinn says:

      Mr. Hall, My father, Fred Corlas, worked at Sangamo Electric Company from 1952 or 1953 until 1978 when it closed. I am the oldest of his six children, who ranged from 20 down to 10 years old when the plant closed. He was 48 when it closed. We lived in Auburn. It was a good company to work for. It was a shock to our family when the plant closed. My dad eventually found employment in Decatur at Caterpillar, was laid off a year or two later, and eventually found a maintenance job for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. I remember it being a tense time when the plant closed. I remember my parents talking about moving to South Carolina to the Sangamo plant there, but they couldn’t do it because both sides of the family were firmly planted in Illinois. Every time I drive past the Sangamo plant location in Springfield, I am reminded of his years there. Some of his other Corlas relatives worked there, too.

      I ran across this site because my daughter is doing a family history project for college.

  13. Paul Robinson says:

    I currently have a Sangamo electric meter that is about 50 years old, it’s an analog meter. Its not working correctly, which can be expected for a meter that old. I have to replace it right away. However, I have heard a lot of negative things about the new digital meters. Which meter do you recommend, the analog, or the digital???
    Please respond!

    Paul Robinson

    • editor says:

      Mr. Robinson: I’m sorry, but we know about Sangamo history, not its technology. Your question probably would better be directed to a university school of electrical engineering, perhaps one in your state. Alternatively, there are several web sites that compare the two types of meters. Sorry we can’t be more help.

  14. Paul Robinson says:

    I believe that my 50 year old Sangamo electric meter has gone bad, and i need to replace it. However, I am getting a lot of negative comments about digital meters versus analog meters. Can you tell me which of these two is more accurate in their measurement of kilowatt usage.

    Than you,

    Paul Robinson

    • Dave D says:

      Depends on the model (H, H2, HC, HF, J, J2, J3, J4, or J5)…

      Generally, the old electromechanical models are better than the ‘smart’ meters, because there’s a lot less that can go wrong (disk shaft or either of two electrical coils) than the multiple possible failure points in an electronic meter.

      The ‘best of both worlds’ would be an electromechanical meter fitted with an electronic display to supplement the electromechanical register.

  15. Fred keller says:

    I found a sangamo electric company direct current watt hour meter type d-5 serial #1523570 what is the age of the meter I would appreciate lt thanks. Fred

    • editor says:

      Mr. Keller: Perhaps one of our other readers can answer your question. Thanks for reading.

    • Dave D says:

      Your meter was made in 1921.

      • Robert E. Laffler says:

        Sangagamo DC watthour meter No 1593811 watthour per disc rev 1 1/3 amps 10 typeD5 220volt. How old and maybe it’s value. I thank you for any info.

        • Dan Cothern says:

          The meter was made some time in the 1920s. I don’t have serial number info for meters that old. As for the value, condition is the key. If it’s a square design, metal cover, with connections at the bottom, these types do not sell for a lot of money. Usually not more than $100-$200. These were installed outside and have had decades of weathering, painted, beat up by general usage. Based on condition, I’ve bought them <$100. Then there is the round round switch board connected (connection and mounting terminals come out the back of the meter), all glass. The covers on these are all glass and are definitely worth more, and usually in great condition because they were mounted inside rather than outside. These can be in the $300-$600 range. The condition if the glass is paramount. Then you need to find a geeky Sangamo collector…

  16. My grandmother, Doris German, worked the line at Sangamo Electric throughout WWII. She was one of the ‘Rosie those Riveters’. Does anyone know about any of the particular sonar contraptions they were making for the war effort and if any of them can be found in military surplus? I would really like to have some of these things for purposes of collecting family history.

    • editor says:

      Ms./Mr. Petterchak: Thanks for the note. But I’m afraid I can’t help with finding your “sonar contraptions.” There are a lot of Sangamo collectors out there. They seem mostly interested in meters, but perhaps another reader knows something about the sonar equipment. Good luck, and thanks again.

    • Mike Berger says:

      When I worked at Sangamo Electric in the late sixties the sonar equipment being sold to the Navy was all transistorized racks of pc boards in a tall cabinet probably 5 feet high. I never saw a transducer up close but with their high power consumption they had to be big – guessing 100 lbs or more. Equipment was being installed in the submarines at the time. Probably a submarine graveyard somewhere on the east coast akin to the aircraft graveyards out in the western desert. I doubt one could get anywhere near a decomissioned sub, let alone get hands on the electronics installed on one.

      • editor says:

        Mike: Thanks a lot for the followup. And thanks for reading as well.

      • Paul Nowak says:

        Mike, I too worked for Sangamo(1965 to 1970) as a field engineer out of the Boston Naval shipyard. although Boston was my home base I traveled from Bath Iron works in Maine to Pearl Harbor upgrading the SQS 23 system under the Navy’s Fram upgrade.
        My interest in destroyers was picked after reading a book written by a friend called Never to Return. Thanks for keeping history alive.

  17. John DiBiasi says:

    My question is are the electric meters on homes and buildings explosion proof.Are the considered a source of ignition.

  18. richard altig says:

    I worked for Sangamo from Jan 1957 to June 1988, half of the time in Springfield and half in Maryland. I worked in the sonar department from 1957 to 1962. Sangamo sonars were installed on surface ships, primarily destroyers involved in anti-submarine work. To my knowledge no complete systems were installed on subs. A few receivers may have been installed on subs as experiments.

    Today, old meters are worth a few dollars unless special prewar models. Refurbished analog units are available to customers who resell power, such as campgrounds and certain mobile home parks and apartments.

    While in Maryland I was a designer for equipment sold to independent phone companies, primarily modems and SF signalling equipment.

    When Schlumberger sold the communications division known as RIXON, it was acquired by CASE, an English company located in Watford, a northern suburb of London. They were the owner when I retired in 1988. A few years later the communications division disappeared.

    I am not sure what year the Sangamo meter factory in West Union, SC, was sold. The actual meter factory is still there but it has been enlarged and still producing meters by its current owner.

    In the late 1970s,the company sponsored a Junior Achievement project making meter lamps. You may find them an antique mall. They are an excellent source of 1950’s vintage meters. Meters newer or older than that are very difficult to find in working condition.

    A word of caution: meters used in meter lamps have been miscalibrated so as to run faster than normal so one can see the disk turn when a 60 watt bulb is installed.

    Sangamo produced about one million meters a year so the serial number is a good guide to the manufacturing date if one can correlate any year to a serial number. Unfortunately, I do not have that info.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Altig: Thanks for such a detailed remembrance and for the information on meters. I’m going to put a note into the main body of the entry to make sure people see your comment.

    • Jen Loreto says:

      Have a packet of matchbooks from Sangamo, wondering if anyone collects.

  19. Nancy says:

    A slight correction: Robert C. Lanphier wrote “Sangamo, a History of Forty Years”, but Benjamin P. Thomas wrote “Sangamo in Peace and War”, which together make up “Sangamo, a History of Fifty Years”.

  20. Tom. Scott says:

    Could tell me how to read a sangmon. 5 dial meter. Best reguards Tom Scott

  21. Dan Cothern says:

    I have worked for a company here in Illinois that has been a sales and service representative for Sangamo/Schlumberger/Itron meters for almost 70 years. I’ve been there since 1984. Started inside shop meter testing/calibration ended up field testing and now in sales selling meters and meter reading systems. I have started a collection of meters of all brands, but of course, have a soft spot in my heart for Sangamo meters. I have a DC meter, and almost every type of electromechanical meter from the HC series to J series to the solid state meters. I have somewhere around 40-50 meters, and some instrumentation. The older the better. One of the customers I called on was the meter shop at CIPS in Springfield. I believe that building is now a bank near St John’s Hospital. There in their showroom was a very large DC meter on display. The meter was the size of a carry on suitcase, beautiful glass and brass work. If I remember correctly, the meter was on the electric rail line between Mattoon and Charleston – the electric works I believe was the beginning of what became CIPS. Once Ameren closed that shop, I don’t know what has become of that meter.
    Several replies to this post was asking about ages of meters. Sangamo had a publication that had serial number ranges and dates of manufacture. I’m pretty sure I have a copy of that in my desk at my office. If you want a copy of that I could get it to you. I’m impressed that you’ve continued to post comments with the article being written in 2013. Very interesting article. I cam upon it researching RC Lanphier.

    • editor says:

      Mr. Cothern: Thank you for the information. Yes, please send me the publication with serial numbers if you can find it. I’ll pass it on to a couple places here that also get the same kind of questions. If it’s email-able, send it to: If not, email me at that address and I’ll get you my postal address. Thanks again.
      Mike Kienzler

    • editor says:

      UPDATE: Dan Cothern has sent SangamonLink an 11-page chronological list identifying the years when Sangamo produced various meters. As mentioned in the main body of the article, the list has now been posted as a separate entry (“Sangamo Electric meter chronology”). Thanks very much to Mr. Cothern.

  22. Rhonda Cantu says:

    I have a Sangamo meter CL200 240v 3W Type 55 30TA 72Kh does any one have any information on it. Like what year it was made, etc.

  23. Kevin says:

    I’m looking for wiring diagram for Sangamo KYWF meter, it is running backwards and would like information on how to correct this. It looks like we had a company come in and service transformer possibly they put ct in the wrong direction ? Causing this?

    • editor says:

      Kevin: We’re not really a technical web site, as you can see, but I suspect one of our readers will know the answer. At least, I hope so. Thanks for reading.

    • Dave D says:

      Sounds possible, but you need to check with your power supplier or ask the utility commission to recommend a third-party meter test lab.

  24. Kim says:

    Hello everyone, I am the granddaughter of Elmer Lee Meinders who worked at the company. He also had (as I am sure many did) many inventions. My sister has his original Zep Jar Wrench which was a flat compact jar opener. He also helped with the electrical meter which was placed on the outside of the home. The placement of the sonar in the war submarines and many more. Today the only can opener I can find close to his is under the name of Edlund Co of Burlington, Va. or Bobby Top. These vintage openers are very similar to my grandfathers. He taught math in the evening at Springfield College and to others after his daily job at Sangamo.

  25. Daniel Gesell says:

    Hi there. I’m from Australia and have come across a Portable Test Meter tempterure comensated type H serial number 424738. Just trying to find out what I can about it. Thank you

  26. Darrel Bourne says:

    I have 8 notebooks filled with product bulletins, tenical specifications, and price lists of Sangamo products dated 1951-mid 70’s. Would this group be interested in receding this information or is there a library where this informations can be sent?

  27. LaVeryl Voss says:

    I have a Sangamo Type H2-230 portable test meter. Serial number is 3445988. It has settings for 1,5,10,25,50, and 100 Amps. It is 50 cycles. Could you tell me when it was made and is it worth much?


    LaVeryl Voss

    • Dave D says:

      Your meter dates to 1926, and there’s not as much collector demand for rotating standards as for house-type meters, but I still think your meter should be worth about $50.

  28. Melanie Schaller says:

    I have come into possession of a:
    Sangamo Time Switch
    Model: B
    Form: VSW 21
    No.: 276391
    2 Pole, 1 Throw, 230 Volts, 230 Motor Volts, 35 Amps, 60 Cycles, Alternating Current Only.
    I am looking for information on a date, or any other information possible for this piece of history!

  29. Dave D says:

    Editors – I have a S/N log sheet I can provide of Sangamo meters, and you can also refer to a site I once maintained – – for more data on Sangamo meters.

  30. Ava says:

    I have aquired a Sangamo watt hour meter that is 3 phase and appears to be copper inside, it is in a glass case, model# 5139980. Have been trying to get any info on this for the past couple of years, can you help, would love to know more about it.

  31. Brent Richards says:

    I used to work for a company that changed out the old Sangamo 240v timer/meters. I’ve got about 50 in my basement.

  32. Espen S. says:

    I just acquired what I believe is a rare item. It’s a Sangamo rotary converter, model 58208.
    This machine converts 12 VDC to 115 VAC and it also has a name plate from Bludworth Marine New York, NY which I believe was the company that marketed and sold these machines. It is in remarkably good condition and I’m really impressed how well made this machine is. It won’t take me much to restore it to mint condition as only a few screws are corroded. The paintwork which is black crinkle-finish, popular back then, is in remarkably good condition. The carbon brushes on the motor/commutator side are worn almost all the way down, but I’ve been in touch with Carter Motors and sourced a pair of new brushes for one of their rotary converter models of similar input voltage and current, which I just need to trim a little to make them fit.

    I would really like to know how old this magnificent machine could be, and perhaps also if other rotary converter models were made by them. If you would like pictures of this machine I’ll be more than happy to send some.

  33. David Levy says:

    I have a lamp with a Sangamo Electric Company meter at the bottom which dial rotates when the electricity is on. Serial No. 16 696274. It is missing the glass globe. Anyone have an idea where I can get the glass cover? Thank you

  34. David says:

    Mine was a hand-me-down so I don’t have a wiring diagram but I’d be happy to send you a bunch of pictures of the lamp. Just send me your email address.

  35. William says:

    I have a direct current watthour meter number 926861 0 type D-5

  36. Dan Cothern says:

    I just received Bulletin 37 dated February 1914 on the D-5 Mercury Meters. I scanned it to a PDF file, it’s about 16MB if you want a copy.

  37. Shenghua Tu says:

    Dear Sangamo Co:
    May I have some images of your Molded Mica condensers made in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Your information will surely help me recall further and re-collect more from my memory.
    If possible please attach the specifications and sizes. My father Tu Zuochao was a radio engineer since 1930. He told me that the Sangamo condenser was the world best. He bought some in flee market in Shanghai in the 1950 and 1960’s. He died in end 1984. I have dug deep in the past 30+ years about his story. I have established Tu Zuochao Exhibition in China, and in USA with a temporary location in Great Falls, VA 22066.
    Tu Zuochao’s invention in 1940 of a shapeless spy signal receiver is now shown at the International Spy Museum, Washington DC (CovCom area, 5th floor)
    Again, I am so happy to have finally found Sangamo! I will try to find some Sangamo molded mica condensers from the Ebay.
    Shenghua Tu
    Chinese mobile: 86-13901338382
    mailing address:
    720 Clear Spring Road, Great Falls, VA 22066

  38. Dan Cothern says:

    I keep a search on E-Bay for Sangamo meters. On that search there are beautiful watches, a few meters, CTs, PTs, and pages and pages of capacitors. The search criteria is just Sangamo.

  39. Ethan says:

    William W Sherwood worked at sangamo and held This patent.
    I met his nephew and read a newspaper article he sent me, it’s just a picture, don’t know the date of it or the name of the paper, I think it was probably local to sangamo company. His nephew states that he worked on sonar equipment as well. The newspaper article confirms this. I’d like to know more about the man and his work and I’m sure his nephew would appreciate it too. Legend has it that he used to have a briefcase cuffed to his wrist and lots of security. If anyone can tell me more about him or the sonar work sangamo did please reply.

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  41. gerry davis says:

    I am looking for information on employee records from 1953 to 1955 at the Toronto, Canada location of Sangamo Electric. Any help directing me to said records would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  42. Sher Bob says:

    I don’t know how to read this meter with one of the four dials covered with a gold plate. See my above post. I can’t copy and past a picture but maybe this info on meter will help? Not sure which # is the model. PLEASE please help me learn to read this meter correctly – will email a pic if I have an email address – having trouble copying and pasting in this comment.
    Rr 83 1/3
    FORM 25 watthour meter
    MODEL? 39595614
    Kilowatthours multiply by 10
    there’s a silver dish/plate that goes in a horizontal circle when electric is used

  43. Dan says:

    Can you shoot me a pic of the meter?

    I’ll contact you off line after I see the pic

  44. Dan Cothern says:

    There are a few options on the way the meter displayed kWh.
    Normally, the Rr is 8 1/3 with 5 dials X1. showing 00000. The first dial to the left is the 10,000s, the next is 1,000s, the next is 100s, then 10s, then 1s.
    The above says the Rr is 83 1/3, that explains the X10, and makes sense. The reason I asked for the pic was to verify that the dial covered was the dial farthest to the right, the (1s dial) showing 0000X (x indicates the covered dial) rather than X0000. If the blanked dial is on the right, then the “Blanked” dial applies the X10 by covering the 1s digit and would be interpreted as a ZERO. 4567X would be read, 45 thousand, 6 hundred, 70 kWh. If the blank is on the dial farthest to the left (the 10,000 digit) showing X0000, then X4567 becomes 4 thousand, 5 hundred 67 kWh, but then need to apply the X10 that gets you to 4567X would be read, 45 thousand, 6 hundred, 70 kWh. In both cases, they read the same. In the early days, many utility billing systems could only handle 4 digits, starts at 00000, and rolls over after 9999 kwh then rolls over to 00000 again. This took months if not years to rollover. As loads increased at home, the rollover started happening too soon. It was easier to come up with a X10 meter register than to change billing systems to 5 digits. When I started in the business in mid 80s, billing systems had changed to 5 dials, but we were still ridding the utilities of meters with 4 dials.
    Hope that helps.

  45. Angus King says:

    Sangamon Electric employees reunion of the 1960 ‘s . Interested in who may have worked there for a reunion. Wages were around $2.00 per hour at the time. Any one Interested please contact.

  46. Pingback: Capacitor Testing, 1946 |

  47. Gene Klein says:

    I have a very early meter thinking it is 1890’s can I send you a pic of it and get more info?

    • editor says:

      Mr. Klein: I wouldn’t be any help, but it’s possible another Sangamo expert on this thread would.
      To anybody interested in volunteering: you can do so here, and I’ll put you and Mr. Klein together.
      Thanks for reading.

  48. Dan Cothern says:

    You are welcome to send pics to me at
    front, back, sides, cover off if possible, nameplate, etc.
    i’ll do what I can to help you ID the meter.

  49. Dan Cothern says:

    Your meter is a very nice D-5 type DC meter. The meter was made sometime after 1909. According to the book “Forty Years of Sangamo” by Robert C Lanphier, page 46, the D-5 was “brought out” in 1909. 2 pages later, there is the mention of the steady decrease of the need for DC meters, but no mention of when production ended. D-5 production was still going strong as of 1914, I have a Bulletin 37 dated 1914 that has detailed information on the meter with sales info at the end. I don’t have documentation on serial number ranges/dates of that old of a meter. Best I could do with the info I have.

  50. Dave says:

    have the following meter on my house- Rr 27 7/9 Schlumberger KILOWATTHOURS CL200 240V 3W TYPE J5S 30TA 7.2Kh FM25 60Hz WATTHOUR METER
    It seems to have some type of transmitter in the center, I’m assuming this is to send monthly usage to the service provider.

    I’d like to add a small PV (solar) system to produce a little electricity.

    My concern is if I add a plug and play PV (solar) panel on my deck, under load load conditions should I be producing more thsn I’m consuming, will it ending up charging me for any additional energy I produce? I have read not all meters are bi-directional and I guess it makes sense that the transmitter might not be bi-directional either, depending how they work.

    I realize if I wanted to add a full blown PV system on my house, I would have to get the proper permits and they would change the meter out. Since I already have a couple of panels laying around with micro-inverters on them, and a unused dedicated line off my underutilized service panel, I’d like to set it up a small PV system and do my part to be green… but it obviously doesn’t make sense to go through permitting process and have them change the meter out just to make <1kw/day of PV electricity, and I certainly don't want to get charged for producing electricity, lol.

    Basically I think I'm asking if this meter has a reverse running stop that would prevent the disc going the other way as it will record the pulses and charge me for for any excess energy I might inadvertently produce.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Dan Cothern says:

      apologies for the late response, but I just saw this post. If you haven’t received an answer, the meter you described above will go backwards if your solar produces more than your load requires at any particular time. There were mechanical detents that could be installed to prevent backward rotation of the disk, but it’s unlikely you have one on yours . One thing to point out, the reason why you need to go through the permitting process (no matter how big or small) is to ensure that during a power outage your solar generation is cut off from the grid. when you generate into a line that is supposed to be dead you are endangering the linemen who are working on that line. Your solar generates DC, then it’s converted to 120V (or 240V), when it generates out on to the grid, it goes through your meter, up to the transformer, and then it’s at 7,200V. Quite a nasty surprise for the lineman who thinks the line is dead. The permitting process is what allows your power company needs to know where any distributed generation is located so they can ensure the safety of their workers.

  51. Ann Copeland says:

    My grandfather, Don Flynn, lived in Auburn and worked for Sangamo at the Springfield plant until his death in 1969 in a plane crash returning from a business trip. The flight had multiple stops and included passengers from another flight which had been cancelled, so it’s unclear as to where he was coming home from. If any colleagues know of him or where he had traveled to and the reason for the trip, it would help fill in some gaps in his story.

  52. Elizabeth says:

    What was printed in the front page of the September 10, 1969 edition of The State Journal Register: According to Sangamo’s Public Relations Officer John Patton, your grandfather, Robert E. Dryer (assistant purchasing agent) and Jack A. Siebert (manager, transducer, engineering department), were in Cincinnati for a business trip. The article states that the airplane carrying the three either crashed into. or was struck by, the tail of a DC-9 owned by Allegheny Airlines.

    • Ann Copeland says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth! That connects some dots. I’d always heard that he switched flights to get home earlier. So, perhaps they were originally scheduled for the TWA flight that was delayed in Cincinnati and took the offer to transfer to Allegheny 853. A small plane collided with tail of the DC-9 on approach to the airport in Indianapolis.

  53. edward Valentine says:

    We have serial number 448030. Could you identify the year it was made?
    Thank you

  54. Gabriel Destefanis says:

    Sangamo meters were installed in Argentina. I have a 1940 relic.

  55. Kathleen M. Cruise says:

    In 1969 I received two shares of Sangamo Electric Company as custodian for my infant son, dated September 16,1969. I have the original Stock Certificate. Each share was worth five (5.00)dollars.
    My question is: Are these two shares worth anything today?

    • Dan Cothern says:

      I doubt there’s any value to the stock, especially since Sangamo was purchased by Schlumberger, then by Itron. I would be interested in seeing the stock certificates, possibly purchase them to add to my Sangamo collection.

  56. Edward Harris says:

    Did Sangamo fabricate the AN/SQS-49 Sonar for the US Navy ???

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