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Object of the month

Stamp of the construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant

June 2019

The Museum of Energy of Latvenergo stores the stamp of the construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant made in 1936, which is a testimony of the Kegums Power Plant construction history.

On 1 August 1936, the government of Latvia signed an agreement with the Swedish company Svenska Entreprenad A.B. (Sentab) on the construction of Kegums Power Plant. The first construction work of the power plant started at the Daugava River. It was one of the most vivid events in Latvia in the interbellum period (1918−1940), which paved the way for the development of the power supply in the country.

The construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant, subordinate to the Ministry of Finance, was established under the Law on Kegums Power Plant Construction proclaimed by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia on 4 August 1936. On 8 August 1936, the Regulations on the Construction Inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant were adopted, which determined the tasks and competences of the inspectorate. The construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant was responsible for the organisation and management of the hydropower plant construction work, cooperation with the Sentab engineers and designers, and inspection and commissioning of hydropower structures and equipment of the power plant.

The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia appointed engineer Mārtiņš Robs (1874–1947), an assistant professor at the University of Latvia, as the head of the construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant – a building inspector. Pēteris Stakle (1881–1944), Vice Director of the Maritime Department of the Ministry of Finance and arecognised thought leaderin the European hydrologist community, was appointed as Robs’ assistant. Gustavs Feigmanis (1885–1941), Director of the State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia, became the financial inspector of the construction inspectorate. The construction inspectorate office was located at 14 Tērbatas Street, Riga.

During the Soviet occupation of 1940–1941, Sentab discontinued its operations at Kegums.On 1 November 1940, the third hydropower unit was launched at Kegums HPP, and the further questions regarding the full completion of the power plant remained as plans for the future. On 1 May 1942, the German occupational power authorities abolished the construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant. Its responsibilities were taken over by the Administration of the Large Power Plants of Latvia of the Ostland Energy Supply Company with the General-District Latvia (Energieversorgung Ostland, GmbH, Generalbezirk Lettland).

Those interested can see the stamp of the construction inspectorate of Kegums Power Plant in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

Turbine of the Plavinas HPP

May 2019

The turbine of Plavinas Hydropower Plant is a Francis-type turbine with 15 fixedblades that are built into the housing. When running, the turbine makes 88.25 revolutions per minute at a water flow rate of 280 m3 per second. The turbine has a weight of 120 tonnes, a diameter of 6 metres and a capacity of 85 MW. The turbine of the Plavinas HPP was in operation for 31 years. In 1998, the turbine was dismantled as part of the reconstruction of the Plavinas HPP hydropower unit No. 2.

The construction of Plavinas HPP started in 1961. Plavinas HPP was the most ambitious construction project in Latvia. Initially, the Plavinas HPP design provided for eight hydropower units with Kaplan-type turbines and an aggregate capacity of 600 MW. Taking into account the proposals of the designers of the USSR Design Institute Hydroenergoproject, Plavinas HPP was equipped with ten hydropower units with Francis-type turbines, increasing the total capacity of the hydropower plant to 825 MW.

On 19 April 1965, the first turbine was brought to Plavinas HPP from Kharkov Turbine Plant(Ukraine), and in December 1965 the first five hydropower units were started. In 1966, another five hydropower units were launched, reaching the designed capacity of 825 MW. In 2017, after the upgrading of nine hydropower units, the installed capacity of Plavinas HPP reached 907.6 MW. Plavinas Hydropower Plant is the largest power plant in Latvia – it is the most powerful of the three Daugava hydropower plants and the most important energy supply facility in the Baltic states.

The turbine of Plavinas HPP, which is one of the witnesses of industrial history in the 1960s, can now be viewed at the exhibition of the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums.

The second part of the Plavinas HPP turbine can be seen in the area of Plavinas HPP near the P87motorway, Aizkraukle.

Washing machine "Riga - 60"

April 2019

The washing machine "Riga - 60" was manufactured in 1965 in Riga Electric Machine Building Plant (RER). Initially, the factory manufactured different electrical equipment (crane and train engines, train and tram passenger car lighting systems, etc.), but in 1950 RER was the first in the Soviet Union that started manufacturing household washing machines. The popularity of washing machines grew rapidly. In 1960 Latvian households had 29 washing machines per 100 families but in 1980 - the number had already grown to 76. The model "Riga" in particular was destined to become one of the most popular washing machine models around. Despite the fact that it required a lot of manual labour, this Riga product became the dream of every household in the Soviet Union, and the factory manufactured around 600,000 washing machines annually.

The washing machine "Riga - 60" was designed for washing 1.5 to 2 kg of laundry. As it did not feature a spin dryer, it was compensated by a specially designed adjustable two rubber drum pressing mechanism - a manual press that was attached on top of the body of the washing machine. The washing of laundry was achieved by a plastic disc-shaped device (activator) powered by an electric motor (capacity 150 W). One washing cycle usually took 4 - 5 minutes, rinsing - the same amount of time again. The water for washing laundry had to be heated beforehand and poured into the machine. Changing of dirty water had to be performed manually, too. Although the washing machine bears little resemblance to the modern fully-automatic washing machines we all know today, it was an excellent aid to the Soviet housekeepers in their households.

Presently you can see the washing machine "Riga - 60" in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

The most ancient electricity meter in the museum collections.

March 2019

The most ancient electricity meter in the collections of the Energy Museum has been manufactured by the company "Paul Firchow Nachfgr." in Berlin (Germany) in the first decade of the 20th century. The company was founded in 1898 under the name "Paul Firchow − Elektrische Uhren" and produced electricity meters and electric clocks.

Electric lamps appeared at several companies, public authorities, streets and residential houses in Latvia at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century. In 1905 in Riga electricity was supplied to 652 clients and in 1914 the number of clients reached 12,695.

Clients could pay for consumed electricity in two ways, in particular, according to the meter reading or according to the consumed power and number of installed lamps (these clients were referred to as paušalabonenti or region subscribers).

Initially electricity meters produced by the firms"AEG", "Siemens Schuckert", "P.Firchow", "Aron", "Landis&Gyr", "Ganz" and others were leased to clients. A monthly lease fee had to be paid for electricity meters. For example, the electricity supply regulations issued in Riga in 1904 "Temporary conditions on supply of electric current for lighting and other needs from the city power utility in Riga" set the lease fee for a meter from 3 to 24 roubles per year. In the 1930-ies the factory "VEF Riga" started producing electricity meters and in 1935 there were more than 90,000 electricity meters in the city, which fact was reflected by the newspaper "Rīts" in a publication under the title "90,000 meters observe: how bright lamps in Riga are ". (Rīts, 16 May 1935, Vol. 134)

The number of clients who paid for electricity according to meter readings increased in the 1930-ies also elsewhere in Latvia.

Similarly to other areas, the technology development has been very fast also in electricity metering. Today, when smart electricity meters are being introduced, a meter with a rotating disc and a register consisting of rolls of numbers has already become a testimony of history.

One of the oldest electricity meters produced by the company "Paul Firchow Nachfgr." and used in Latvia can now be seen in the collection of the Energy Museum at Ķegums, Ķeguma prospekts 7/9.

Electrical fitter’s pole climbers

February 2019

Electrical fitter’s pole climbers for climbing a wooden power line pole were manufactured around 1926. They were forged at a blacksmith’s shop in Talsi. The total weight of the pair of the pole climbers is 6 kilograms.

Pole climbers forged by a blacksmith are rare to find these days and currently there is only one pair held in the collection of the Museum of Energy. The old fitter’s pole climbers of Talsi have a forged foot base of a special shape, which can be fastened to the leg with a leather strap.

In the first half of the 20th century, the most important power supply centres in Kurzeme were the power plants of Liepaja, Ventspils, Saldus, Tukums, Kandava and Talsi. The construction of municipal, private and cooperative power plants and electricity networks developed in other places too, providing electricity supply to customers in Kurzeme.

In 1912, the limited company Licht und Kraft in Talsi built a DC power plant and a power grid for lighting the houses and streets of the town. In the 1920s, the demand for electricity grew, and in 1926 a municipal power station launched its operations in Talsi. An electricity transmission network was built in the town, comprising low voltage power lines of 9 km and a cable line of 0.8 km, with two transformer points set up. The streets of the town were illuminated by 39 light bulbs, and the 28,220 kWh of electricity generated in 1926 were supplied to 420 customers. A few years later, the power grid was expanded. As the new power lines were built, not only the customers in the town but also the residents of the surrounding areas started to receive electricity.

Anyone who is interested can currently view the unique electrical fitter’s pole climbers forged in Talsi at the exhibition of the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums, Kegums Municipality.

Electric lighting project of Riga streets

January 2019

The electric lighting project of Riga streets was developed in Oskar von Miller’s (1855–1934) Engineering Office in Munich, Germany in 1902 as part of the Andrejsala power plant and the city electricity supply project.

In 1905, Andrejsala power plant started generating and supplying electricity to customers in Riga. The electric light was lit not only in the residential buildings and institutions in the city centre, but also in the street lighting lanterns.

According to the Riga street electric lighting project, the first lantern was installed in the place which is known today as the most romantic meeting point in the city with the famous Laima clock, which was installed in 1924. There were a total of 20 electric arc lamps on the section of the present Brivibas Square and Brivibas Boulevard to Elizabetes Street.

During the second stage of the street lighting installation, another 70 electric arc lamps were lit in the city centre – in the present Basteja, Aspazijas, Raina and Kalpaka Boulevards, on the section of Krisjana Valdemara Street from the National Theatre to Elizabetes Street. There was also light on Elizabetes Street from Krisjana Valdemara Street to Brivibas Street. The present Krisjana Barona Street was illuminated on the section from Aspazijas Boulevard to Elizabetes Street. Besides, lighting was installed at the start of Marijas Street near the Riga Railway Station, the current section of Merkela Street and 13. janvara Street near the city canal.

At present, the historical Riga street lighting project can be seen in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

Electric street lighting lanterns of Riga

December 2018

The lanterns of the Riga street lighting featuring electric arc lamps were designed by Oskar von Miller’s Engineering Office in Munich, Germany as part of a city power plant project in 1902. The project of the city power plant (in Andrejsala) included not only the construction of the power plant, but also the building of transformer substations and an electricity network in the city, ensuring the supply of electricity to customers in Riga.

In October 1901, the Riga City Council passed a decision on building a city power plant in Andrejsala. Riga was very fortunate, as the power plant was designed by Oskar von Miller (1855–1934), an outstanding German engineer and one of Europe’s most distinguished power technology pioneers. In 1882, Oskar von Miller organised the first electrical engineering exhibition in Germany, which was held in Munich. Oskar von Miller, in collaboration with the French electrical engineer Marcel Deprez (1843–1918), was the first to transmit electricity through the 60-kilometre long high-voltage line Miesbach–Munich. In 1883, together with the industrialist Emil Rathenau, he founded the company Deutsche Edison−Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektricität, which is known today as AEG. The first power plant in Germany was built according to Oskar von Miller’s design in Munich in 1884, and in 1890 he founded his own engineering office. In 1891, while running an international electrical engineering exhibition in Frankfurt am Main, Miller, together with Mikhail Dolivo−Dobrovolsky (1861–1919), demonstrated electrical current transmission through the 176-kilometre long high-voltage line Laufen−Frankfurt am Main. It was a true masterpiece of engineering and an important achievement in alternating current transmission. In 1903, the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) in Munich was founded as an initiative of Oskar von Miller, which also today promotes the significant role of science and technology in culture.

The operation of the Riga city power plant in Andrejsala was launched in 1905, and it was the largest power plant in the Baltics. Electric lighting was now on in the city’s dwelling houses and institutions, while lanterns of an exquisite artistic design decorated the streets and parks of Riga. The lanterns designed by Oskar von Miller were made in the Art Nouveau style with decorative, curved lines and a stylised plant motif. The first 20 electric arc lamps were installed onAlexander-Boulevard, the present Brivibas Boulevard and Brivibas Street, from Raina Boulevard to Elizabetes Street. The next 65 street lighting lanterns were installed on today’s Basteja Boulevard, Aspazijas Boulevard, Raina Boulevard and Kalpaka Boulevard, K. Valdemara Street, Elizabetes Street and K. Barona Street, the present Merkela Street and on the section of 13. janvara Street near the city canal.

The launch of the power plant in Andrejsala and the establishment of the centralised city electricity supply, including street lighting, was a significant achievement that had an impact on the development of Riga and its growth as a modern European city.

With the donation from Jaunrīgas attīstības uzņēmums SIA, the Museum of Energy has acquired a collection of the Riga city central power plant designs, and at the moment the design of the lanterns of the Riga city street electric lighting can be seen in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

Electric iron

November 2018

This electric iron was manufactured at the Kharkov Electromechanical Plant (Ukraine) in 1956. Such small-size models were popular “travel” irons between the 1960s and the 1980s. The iron power is 150 W, the base length is only 14 cm and the weight is 900 grams. It could fit easily in a travel bag and be taken along.

Irons began to be used in Europe in the 17th century. At first, they were one-piece iron items, which were heated on the fire. Later, their design became slightly lighter: it was a metal box that was heated by filling it with glowing coals, usually of birch. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, irons gas-, alcohol- or kerosene-powered irons were used.

The idea of ​​using electricity for heating the iron is credited to Henry Seeley of New York City in 1882. The iron invented by him was powered by an electric spiral. It weighed 15 kilograms and took 30 minutes to heat up. Understandably, there was not much demand for such a model. In 1901, Seeley’s compatriot Earl Richardson came up with his idea: an iron heated by two coal electrodes. In 1903, after a series of trials, this model gained wide popularity in households. In 1905, Thomas Edison, an American inventor, also patented his own version of the iron.

The first models of electric irons did not offer the option to adjust the heating temperature. The iron was connected to the electricity network all the time and it had to be was unplugged from the mains periodically while ironing in order to avoid overheating. The first irons with temperature regulation appeared in Europe in the 1930s, and irons with a steam feature began to be manufactured in the 1950s.

In Latvia, electric irons were manufactured at the Factory VEF and Schmidt’s Machinery and Equipment Factory in Riga in the 1930s. These models did not have temperature regulators.

The production of new design models with temperature regulation and a steam feature started only in the 1970s.

At present, the small-size “travel” iron can be viewed at the exhibition “Electricity Does Everything” at the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums, Kegums Municipality.


October 2018

This ammeter for measuring the intensity of electric current was manufactured at ElektrizitätsAktiengesellschaftvormalsSchuckert& Co in Nuremberg, Germany, but its further history is linked with the Liepaja Direct Current Power Plant and the development of the electric tram traffic.

On 14 December 1896, the Liepaja City Board signed an agreement with the NurembergContinental Company and Kaunas entrepreneur Bernhardas Manasevičius for the construction of the street railway or electric tram traffic, and on 9 July 1897 – for the construction of a direct current power plant and a distribution electricity network.

In August 1899, the Liepaja Direct Current Power Plant started the generation of electricity. There were two power distribution units at the power plant: one for the city electricity networkand the other for the needs of the tram. The power plant generated direct current with a voltage of 440/220 V. Foursteam engines were installed for the needs of the city electricity network, which powered 240 kW generators, and there was also one 500 kW steam turbine with a 550 V voltage generator for the electric tram infrastructure.

The ammeter used at the Liepaja Direct Current Power Plantat the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries is not only a witness of industrial history but also an interesting piece of Art Nouveau design: it is embellished with a stylised ornament featuring decorative curved lines and plant motifs.

The ammeter can currently be viewed at the exhibition of the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums, Kegums Municipality.

Precise time clock

September 2018

This mechanical wall clock with pendulum was manufactured at the factory Clemens Riefler (Cl.Riefler, Fabrik mathematischer Instrumente) in Munich, Germany.

Initially, Riefler produced drafting compasses, whose highly successful sales were due to the extreme accuracy and ergonomic effectiveness of the products, and at that time they were recognised as the best among professionals all over the world. Later on, the enterprise began to focus on making metrologically precise clocks. Due to their high accuracy, these clocks were used by laboratories of scientific institutes, observatories and metrology institutions, where precise timing was very important.  

Despite the fact that quartz clocks based on new technology rapidly came on the scene in the 1940s, the high-precision mechanical clocks were manufactured by Riefler until 1965. Regularly improving their designs, the factory produced a total of 635 mechanical clocks.

It is known that operating precise time clocks by Riefler can still be found at the German Museum of Science and Technology in Munich and the Clock Museum in Furtwangen (Germany), the International Museum of Horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), the National Watch and Clock Museum in Pennsylvania and the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. (U.S.).  

The Metrology Laboratory of Sadales Tīkls AS also uses one of the unique precise time clocks manufactured by Riefler, but nowadays, when technological development is very dynamic, it has already become a testimony to the history and can be viewed at the exhibition of the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums, Kegums Municipality.

Photo by Eduards Kraucs – Construction of Ķegums Power Plant

August 2018

The view of the construction site of Ķegums power plant is among the most popular and best recognised photos seen on the pages of the most popular Latvian press media in the 1930-ies, like, "Atpūta",  "Jaunākās Ziņas", "Sējējs", etc., with stories about the progress of creation of the most important industrial construction at that time.

The photo was taken on 19 August 1937. It shows the permanent iron bridge across the Daugava and also temporary restricted construction sites of protection dams in the river bed. The permanent bridge was among the most important construction elements because it was used for performing further construction works of the dam and the power plant. Construction of the 500 metres long bridge on permanent supports was completed in the summer of 1937. In order to secure the load carrying capacity of the bridge, metal arcs were built. Narrow-gauge railway rails were constructed on the bridge and used by trolley trains for delivering materials to the construction site where the reinforced concrete structures and the building of the power plant was constructed.

The author of the photo isEduards Kraucs (1898–1977) – a documentary photographer and camera operator with huge experience and known in the history of the Latvian cinema also as the founder of cinema magazines with sound. Eduards Kraucs would have celebrated his 120th birthday on the 21st August this year. By photographing and filming the construction of Ķegums power plant from 1936 to 1940, E. Kraucs has created an admirable documentary story about how Ķegums power plant, the most important industrial site of the 20th century in the Baltics, was created. This is attested by including the photo negatives on glass taken by Eduards Kraucs in the Latvian national register of UNESCO program "Memory of the World”.

The photo can be seen in the exposition of the Museum of Energy in Ķegums, and the original photo negative on a glass plate, as well as the other originals of the collection can be seen in the depositories of the Museum of Energy in at Andrejostas iela 19, Riga.

Electrical Fitter Kristaps, a sculpture by the woodcarver Krišjānis Kugra

July 2018

The wooden sculpture Electrical Fitter Kristaps was created in 1974by the woodcarver Krišjānis Kugra (1904–1979).

The Sports Day tradition in Latvenergo’s former branch Southern Electric Networks (now the Southern Region of Sadales tīkls AS) dates back to the 1960s. To raise the athletic spirit of the employees of the departments, Electrical Fitter Kristaps,the travelling prize of the Sports Day of Southern Electric Networks, was established in 1974.

From 1974 to 2008,Electrical Fitter Kristaps travelled across almost all of the departments of Southern Electric Networks. 

The woodcarver Krišjānis Kugra, the author of the travelling prize Electrical Fitter Kristaps sculpture (1.5 m high), was one of the most remarkable artists in Latvia. Kugra was born in Emburga Parish, Jelgava Municipality and mastered his craft through self-study. Building on his childhood experiences, observing the people around and getting to know the flamboyant personalities of Latvian literature, Kugra created his sculptures, embedding good-natured humour in them and showing both the positive and the negative.

Krišjānis Kugra became known to the general public when he began to sculpt the literary characters of the novel Times of the Land-Surveyors [Mērnieku laiki] by the brothers Reinis (1839–1920) and Matīss (1848–1926) Kaudzīte and of the works by Anna Brigadere (1861–1933). Almost everyone is familiar with the wooden sculptures of Ķencis and Pāvuls in the memorial museum Kalna Kaibēni in Vecpiebalga and Sprīdītis, Lutausis, Anneles and the Forest King in the Tervete Nature Park. The number of the sculptures created by the woodcarver amounts to several dozens. Both small (12–13 cm high) and large sculptures are also held as works of art in museums and private collections.

Kugra’s sculpture Electrical Fitter Kristaps has become not only a testimony of art, but also a testimony of history, and all those interested can see it in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

Device for blow-drying and styling hair

June 2018

Radiopur hair dryer, adevice for blow-drying and styling hair, was manufactured by the German company AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft) in the 1930s.

The oldest hair dryers were invented at the end of the 19th century. At that time, they were large and massive and used in hairdressing salons. Around 1920, the German company AEG launched the production of Radiopur hair dryer, which became an indispensable device for hair styling, as it was light and easy to use. The design and use of Radiopur hair dryer proved to be so successful that AEG continued to manufacture it until the 1950s.

The designer of the hair dryer produced by AEG is Peter Behrens (1868–1940), a German architect and designer who worked as an art consultant at AEG at the beginning of the 20th century. He is also considered to be the first industrial designer in German history. The design of Radiopur hair dryer by AEG was developed in 1915, but its production was delayed due to World War I.

The Museum of Energy received such a hair dryer by AEG as a gift. Its owner bought the hair dryer in 1944, as she started work at a hairdressing salon in Viesīte. The hair dryer functioned properly for many years even after she left her job at the hairdressing salonand was styling the hair for her girlfriends at home.

At present, theAEG hair dryer can be viewed at the exhibition “Electricity Does Everything” at the Museum of Energy in Kegums.

Prepay electricity meter

May 2018

This mechanical single-phase electricity kilowatt-hour meter (220 V, 5 A. Type: CO – 2) was made in Mytishchi, Moscow Region, the Soviet Union (the USSR) in 1957.

This meter is interesting because the aperture built in its case provides for inserting a 20-kopek coin, which ends up in the “savings box” (the currency of the Soviet Union was the ruble, which was subdivided into kopeks; 1 ruble = 100 kopeks).

The operation principle of the meter is based on prepayment: first, one must pay for electricity, and only then it can be used. When the electricity equal to the value of the amount paid was used up, its supply stopped.

There are two other electricity meters manufactured by AEG in the collection of the Museum of Energy of Latvenergo Group. They were used in Riga in the 1920s and 1930s, and prepayment in them was made in Latvian lats.

Prepay electricity meters were used in Latvia and other European countries already at the beginning of the 20th century. They were popular in hotels. Initially, they accepted cash payments – with coins, but in the recent past – electronic prepaid cards.

Everyone interested has an opportunity to view this unique prepay electricity meter, visiting the exhibition “Electricity Does Everything” at the Museum of Energy at Keguma prospekts 7/9, Kegums, Kegums Municipality.

Addressing device

April 2018

In the depositories of the Museum of Energy there is a unique addressing device operated by electricity. It has been manufactured in the first half of the 20th century at the factory Adrema Maschinenbau GmbH, Berlin (Germany). The addressing device was used for production of matrixes on metal plates by applying the printing technique, embossing the details of customers of Rīgas elektrotīkls [Riga Power Network utility], such as the customer’s number, name, surname, address and other details.The matrixes were later used for printing the customers’ details in electricity billing booklets produced by a printing house. Such an addressing device and matrixes were used for preparing electricity billing booklets for the customers of Rīgas elektrotīkls until the 1970-ies.

Older addressing devices have been manufactured as early as at the end of the 19th century in the USA for production of name badges. Since 1914 addressing devices were widely used at post and newspaper subscription offices and post offices for production of matrixes for reproduction of addresses and labelling envelopes for post deliveries. At that time this was modern technology relieving the manual writing of addresses on large volume post deliveries.

Now such devices have become evidence of the history of technology and can only be seen at museums. Also the Museum of Communications in Berlin and the Museum of Telecommunications in Luxemburg have such devices.

The addressing device and the matrixes of customer details describe the rich history of Sadales tīkls AS and can be seen at the museum depository in Riga, at Andrejostas iela 19.

Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky’s (1862–1919) commemorative plaque relief model

March 2018

The Museum of Energy has received a valuable item: a plaster model of the commemorative plaque relief dedicated to Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky, an outstanding scientist and engineer and a former student of Riga Polytechnicum.

The name of M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky is well known in the history of engineering for the remarkable inventions and discoveries that radically transformed electrical engineeringaround the world. He invented asynchronous motors, three-phase generators, electric motors and transformers, andintroduced the practice of using three-phase alternating current. M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky studied chemical engineering at Riga Polytechnicum (1878–1881), but was excluded from the university, supposedly for political reasons. From 1883 to 1885, he continued his studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany and later worked at the largest electrical engineering company AEG, continuing to pursue his interest in the world’s latest advances in electrical engineering. In 1891, M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky put an end to the debates among engineering intellectuals and showed the most suitable electricity transmission system for the future by demonstrating, for the first time in history, high-voltage alternating current transmission at a distance of 170 km from Laufen HPP to the electrical engineering exhibition in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The plaster model of M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky’s commemorative plaque relief was created by the sculptor Viktors Suškēvičs. A commemorative plaque based on the plaster model of M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky’s portrait was made and installed in the main building of Riga Technical University (RTU), marking the 150th anniversary of M. Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and the title of the Honorary Member of RTU awarded to him in 2012 (post mortem – after death).

Viktors Suškēvičs is distinguished in Latvian sculpture with a wide range of professional activities: from the medal genre and small-scale sculptures to portraits and monumental works of sculpture. His creative activity also reflects an enthusiastic interest in the history of Latvia. The sculptor is the author of a number of commemorative plaques. They are dedicated to outstanding musicians, cultural professionals, scientists and historic personalities. The greatest achievements of the author include the statuesque monument to Saint Meinhard in Ikšķile and the decorative turtle sculpture in Ventspils.

TV set "Šilelis 405 D-1" (Shilyelis 405 D-1)

February 2018

The production of TV sets of "Šilelis" brand commenced in 1972 in Kaunas Radio Factory, Lithuania. Several TV models have been manufactured by the end of the 80s of the 20th century that differed from each other in minor technical nuances and in visual appearance.

These small portable TVs became very popular during the 70s and the 80s of the 20th century in the entire Soviet Union including families in Latvia, reason being that they could be taken along on touring trips, hiking in the wilderness or on holidays to summer cottages (TV dimensions: 25 x 25 x 16 cm, weight 3.8 – 4.8 kg). In the time when the average worker's wage barely reached 120–150 rubles per month, "Šilelis" cost 185 rubles. The price was another attractive feature of this TV set, being more family budget-friendly than the large format TVs (priced around 300 rubles and up).

To receive TV broadcasts there is a built-in telescopic antenna that was capable of receiving broadcasts 70-80 km from a transmitter or a television station. The TV could be connected to both 220V AC grid and any 12V constant current source – an accumulator battery or a car battery.

It is known that the TVs "Šilelis" manufactured in Kaunas Radio Factory also gained notice outside the borders of the Soviet Union. Gold medal was received in the exhibition of the economic achievements in 1972, in Leipzig, Germany (the German Democratic Republic at that time).

Until February 4, 2018 the "Šilelis 405 D-1" from the Museum collection was exhibited in the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in the exhibition "YOU’VE GOT 1243 NEW MESSAGES. Last Generation Before the Internet", becoming a "living" historic evidence - the experts form Riga Technical University switched it on once again.

Currently everyone can view this kind of TVs in both the depositories of the Museum of Energy in Riga, Andrejostas iela 19, and in the exhibition "Electricity does everything" in Kegums (Ķegums).

Ultraviolet ray lamp "Mountain Sun"

January 2018

This ultraviolet ray lamp was made in Hanau, Germany in the 1920–1930s. This is a rare model designed in the form of a sphere. The inventor of the artificial ultraviolet ray lamp is the Danish medical student Niels Finsen (1860–1904). Research into solar light effects showed the ability of ultraviolet radiation to irritate biological tissues and kill harmful bacteria. In 1895, N. Finsen constructed a powerful artificial ultraviolet ray lamp which was used to treat patients with cutaneous tuberculosis and promoted the idea that sunbathing could benefit not only the health of tuberculosis patients, but also contribute to the treatment of anemia, rickets and other diseases, as well as be used as a preventive remedy to reduce nervousness and improve appetite.

In 1903, the Danish physician N. Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to the field of light therapy.

The ultraviolet ray lamp is also known as the Mountain Sun, and this figurative name was given to this device due to the radiation emitted by it. The light bulb in the middle of the device produces ultraviolet rays, which occur naturally at a considerably higher level of intensity in mountains, where the atmosphere absorbs biologically important radiation to a much lesser degree than on plains. The Museum of Energy has received the ultraviolet ray lamp as a gift. It is known that such lamps are widely used not only in medicine, but also privately, as confirmed by the giver. The lamp was purchased around 1938 and was used in the family also during the Soviet times to receive healthy sunlight throughout the year.

The ultraviolet ray lamp can be seen in the Depositories of the Museum of Energy at 19 Andrejostas Street, Riga.

Glass photographic plate camera

December 2017

The Ica Ideal 325 camera was made in Dresden, Germany in the 1930s and was used for taking glass plate photographic negatives. This type of photographic equipment was used by the photographer, photojournalist, film operator and pioneer of the Latvian sound film Eduards Rihards Kraucs (1898–1977) in the 1930s, who also carried out the photographic documentation of the construction of the Ķegums Hydropower Plant from 1936 to 1940. Unfortunately, the original camera used by E. R. Kraucs has not been preserved in Latvia, because he fled the country in 1944 and emigrated to the United States. The Ica Ideal camera is similar to the one operated by E. R. Kraucs.

The use of the photography technique, where a photographic negative is obtained on a glass plate coated with a light-sensitive layer of emulsion, started in Latvia already in the second half of the 19th century. It gradually replaced the old photography techniques. The photographic negatives were made on a glass photo plate, later making a positive image or a photograph on the photo paper in an unlimited quantity. The photographic film was invented in the 1920s, but digital photography began in the 1970s, with the rapid changes in camera designs and sizes.

The camera can be seen at the Museum of Energy in Ķegums as part of the exhibition “Construction of the Ķegums Hydropower Plant Through the Lens of Eduards Kraucs”.

Kuznetsov’s insulator

November 2017

In May 1940, Kuznetsov’s factory in Riga produced a high-voltage insulator. It was intended for a voltage of 20 kV and was used in a power line near Valmiera in Vidzeme. Porcelain insulators manufactured at Kuznetsov’s factory in Riga were used widely in high-voltage and low-voltage power lines in the 1930s and 1940s. They were particularly in demand due to their high quality, which is also recognised by specialists today.

The Kuznetsovs established their first enterprise in Russia in 1812, and in 1841 they founded a manufactory at the outskirts of Riga in Ķengarags, in the former neighbourhood of Dreilingsbusch (now Dreiliņi). There they produced earthenware and porcelain dishes, vases and decorative figurines. In the first half of the 20th century, the name of Kuznetsov spoke for itself in society.

The range of goods produced by the factory included porcelain insulators for telephone and telegraph exchanges and high-voltage and low-voltage power lines. In 1887, the Kuznetsovs acquired a special right to use the symbol of the Russian Empire in their embossed emblem (logo) – the double-headed eagle as seen on the insulators manufactured at the beginning of the 20th century that are stored in the museum’s collection, but from 1937 the insulators produced in Riga were marked with the stamp dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the factory that featured a drawing of the lightning (electricity). Such insulators were manufactured until 1941, when the Soviet power nationalised the factory and renamed it into the Riga Ceramics Factory. The high-voltage insulator can be viewed as part of the exhibition of the Museum of Energy at Ķeguma prospekts 7/9, Ķegums. 

Stereo radiogram Simfonija-2

October 2017

The collection of the Museum of Energy features one of the most interesting radio setsproducedin the A.Popov’s Riga Radio Factory in the 1970s – the stereo radiogram Simfonija-2 with a record player and two separate acoustic systems.

The production of the stereo radiogram series Simfonija was launched in 1964, but the upgraded model Simfonija-2 with a more modern receiver, a rotating magnetic antenna for receiving long and medium waves, an improved record player for both regular and stereo records and a smaller size came out in 1967. The stereo radiogram was the only one to ensure the reception and transmission of ultrahigh frequency (UHF) systems accepted in the USSR using a special stereo decoder. At that time, it was considered a high-end stereo radiogram. Its weight is 25 kg, while the acoustic systems weigh 16 kg. The stereo radiogram was expensive at that time – its price was 373 roubles and 75 kopecks.

In 1969, the radiogram was awarded the Quality Mark of the USSR. The export version was given the name Rigonda-Symphony and it featured a built-in FM wave band used in Europe as well as inscriptions of the band range in English. The radiogram series Simfonija was designed by the outstanding Latvian designer, artist Ādolfs Irbītis (1910 – 1983), who is also known as the king of radio design. His career as a radio designer started from sketches for the radio receiver VEF AR MD/35. Later, he created the exterior for almost all of the radio products made by VEF in the 1930s, as well as the design for almost the entire range of the radio products manufactured by the production association Radiotehnika in the 1960s and the 1970s.

This interesting and also visually attractive stereo radiogram Simfonija – 2 was donated to the Museum by Vizulis Liberts from Valmiera, and it is displayed as part of the exhibition “Electricity Does Everything”at the Museum of Energy in Ķegums.

Mechanical one-phase electricity kilowatt-hour meter

September 2017

Mechanical one-phase electricity kilowatt-hour meter. 220 V, 10(20) A. Type: Wz2. Meter’s serial number: 432590. The meter was made by the state production association IKA (Installationen, Kabel und Apparate) in the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s. The seals have been preserved on both sides of the meter, which confirms the fact that it was verified in Germany.

There is a stamp with an awe-inspiring text in German on the base of the meter: “Wer vorsätzlich und rechtswidrig Zähler öffnet oder Plomben entfernt oder beschädigt macht sich nach §303 R.St. G.B.-der Sachbeschädigung schuldig. Auch der Versuch ist strafbar” (which translates as: “Any person who deliberately and illegally opens the meter or removes or damages the seal is guilty of vandalism under Section 303 of the Penal Code. The attempt is also punishable.”).

The meter ended up in Latvia as part of friendly support from the Energy Supply Joint Stock Company HEVAG of Northern Germany in June 1992 after the employees of Latvenergo Group visited theadministration office of HEVAG in Rostock. At the time when there was a lack of electricity meters in Latvia and their theft was widespread, German partners sent three trucks filled with the necessary meters to Latvia.

This meter is special because it represents the Museum of Energy at the exhibition of the House of European History, which was opened on 6 May 2017. The exhibition of the House of European History is complemented by artefacts from all 28 Member States of the European Union, and it will tell a story of the complicated European history – from myths and discoveries to the chaos and unity of the 20th century, as evidenced by the help provided to the Latvian national economy at the difficult time. 

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