ASME-Landmark:Neuchâtel Gas Turbine


The first successful electric power-generating machine to go into commercial operation was designed and constructed by A. B. Brown Boveri in Baden, Switzerland, and installed in 1939 in the municipal power station in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Malleable iron founding is one of the oldest national industries, begun in the United States by Seth Boyden (1788-1870) in the 1820s. Foundries sprung up throughout the east, casting saddlery hardware, carriage parts, and agricultural implements. The railroads became the largest customer for malleable iron castings around the turn of the century, and eventually automobile manufacturers used it for rear axle housings, differential cases, hubs, and so on.

Brown-Boveri had produced numerous forerunners in the 1930s, especially several machines that were used as superchargers for the Houdry catalytic cracking process and for the supercharged Velox boilers. The gas turbine for Neuchâtel used improved turbine blading and tapered rotor blades to reduce centrifugal stress.

The turbine had a 4-megawatt power output at the generator terminals and an efficiency of 17.4 percent. Professor Aurel Stodola, known internationally for his work with steam and gas turbine design, supervised acceptance tests at the time of installation. It remained in service until 2002, and in 2005, ALSTOM—a successor company to Brown-Boveri—acquired the landmark, relocated it to ALSTOM's factory in Birr, Switzlernad, restored it, and put it on display in a building specifically designed to house the landmark. See ASME website for more information