Herman Halperin

Herman Halperin
Herman Halperin
Toledo, OH, USA
Associated organizations
Commonwealth Edison Company of Chicago
Fields of study
Power, Cables
IEEE William M. Habirshaw Award


Herman Halperin was born June 21, 1898 in Toledo, Ohio. He received the Mechanical Engineering degree and the Electrical Engineering certificate from Cornell University in 1920. Upon graduation from Cornell he joined the Commonwealth Edison Company of Chicago and stayed with that company until 1961. Afterwards he lived in Palo Alto, California and was a consulting engineer on electric power systems.

No story of underground cable development is complete without including a large number of the improvements either carried out or sponsored by Mr. Halperin. For more than 40 years he has been active in the fields of research, design, and operation on all phases of underground power cable systems. He was inventor of a number of cable accessories. Little was known of the characteristics of paper-insulated cable at the beginning of his career, and failures were frequent. His association with one of the largest users of such underground cable provided a background and opportunity for leadership in this field which he utilized to the fullest.

The installation of the first 132,000-volt underground cable to operate in the United States was supervised by Mr. Halperin, and this is still in satisfactory service. The cable was of Italian design and Mr. Halperin used its success to stimulate many developments on the part of American manufacturers for the purpose of producing high quality and more economical underground cables.

His criticisms, in close cooperation with manufacturers, were of great assistance in improving the quality of paper insulation and predicting its performance over long periods of time. His studies and investigations were largely responsible for the ability to operate cables at higher temperatures. The consequent higher carrying capabilities saved millions of dollars investment in cable and conduit.

Mr. Halperin also invented devices which made possible the operation of single conductor lead sheath cables with minimum losses in the lead sheath. These devices and improvements on them are still in use. He also cooperated in the development of special lead alloys for cable sheaths which permit substantially greater expansion and contraction and consequently better cable utilization.

The experience gained in developing the best utilization of underground cables was later applied in a scientific manner in the development of means for loading transformers and other electrical equipment on a thermal and life basis instead of a nameplate rating. The scientific use of these principles brought coordination of carrying capacities among the various parts of the Commonwealth Edison electrical system.

The work which Mr. Halperin carried out has been contributed freely to the electrical industry by the publication of some 40 technical articles describing his developments. Over half of these papers, of which he is author or co-author, pertain to cable systems. Other fields covered include establishment of high load capabilities for all types of electric power equipment and lines, development of insulating oils, design of high-voltage overhead lines, and research on lightning protection. His activities have also covered generators and the determination of minimum required reserve generating capacity. He was also co-author of the "Underground Systems Reference Book" which serves as a broad general reference book for underground systems engineers.

Mr. Halperin has received two best paper awards from AIEE for his work on establishment of high load capabilities, one for a paper on "Load Rating of Cable" and the other on "Utilization of Electric Power Equipment." He was elected to Sigma Xi in 1947, to Eta Kappa Nu in 1952, and to Tau Beta Pi in 1953.

Mr. Halperin has been a member or chairman of a large number of committees of AIEE, EEI , ASA, CIGRE, and others. He has been a member of the civic committee of the Western Society of Engineers.

Herman Halperin and his wife Edna have two married sons and four grandchildren. His activities outside his work include travel, hiking, listening to classical music, and playing contract bridge. He is also very interested in civic affairs.

The following statement by Past President L. F. Hickernell of the AIEE summarizes the fee lings which the sponsors have expressed concerning the nomination of Mr. Halperin for the 1962 Habirshaw Award:

"His contributions over many years to cable engineering and the literature are second to none. In my opinion the selection of Herman Halperin to receive the Habirshaw Award would be rightful recognition, and would do honor to the award and to the Institute."