Charles L. Wagner

Charles L. Wagner
Charles L. Wagner
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Associated organizations
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Fields of study
IEEE Herman Halperin Electric Transmission and Distribution Award, IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award


Many of the high-voltage transmission capabilities that electric utilities have today can trace their roots to Charles L. Wagner's comprehensive understanding of power systems. An authority in power system design, planning and equipment, he is especially noted for the early use of computers to analyze power systems, and for leading a landmark 500 kV transmission project that became a model for future systems.

In the 1940s at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, he helped develop the ANACOM large-scale analog computer for transient network analysis. He later chaired a task force to develop the Digital Protective Device Coordination Program, one of the first digital computer programs for applying protective relays throughout a system.

In 1962, Mr. Wagner was named Westinghouse's Project Manager for Virginia Electric Power Company's 500 kV Project, directing Westinghouse's engineering, construction and verification activities. The project stimulated interest in high-voltage transmission systems and strongly influenced high-voltage system and circuit breaker design.

Charles L. Wagner was born on 23 November, 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received a B.S. from Bucknell University in 1945 and an M.S. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1949, both in Electrical Engineering.

He joined Westinghouse's Engineering Laboratories in 1946, became manager of Transmission Systems Engineering in 1967 and was Consulting Engineer from 1976 until retiring in 1985. Since then he has been a private consultant.

An IEEE Fellow, he served as President of the Power Engineering Society (1984 - 85). He is past chairman of the IEEE Technical Operations Department (1984 - 85) and Switchgear Committee (1973 - 74). He has been a member of many other IEEE power system committees and was a PES representative to China following its opening after the Cultural Revolution. He also helped to organize the first joint technical meeting of the PES and the Chinese CSEE, in Beijing in 1985.

A member of CIGRE and Tau Beta Pi, he holds two patents and has authored more than 85 technical papers and articles, including two IEEE prize papers. His IEEE honors include the Centennial Award (1984), the IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award (1985), the Standards Medallion (1980) and the Power Engineering Society's Meritorious Service Award (1989).

Further Reading

Charles Wagner oral history