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[Phys-L] Re: Why 60 hertz?

Parts of the US were on 50 cycle AC until the late 1930s to early 1940s.
In particular, southern California had 50 cycle power.

Those of you who are older and who may have been involved in amateur
radio may remember the term "California kilowatt". That referred to 1
kilowatt transmitters that were built to operate on 50 cycle. When
California switched to 60 cycle, the output of these transmitters was
higher than 1 kilowatt.

Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
Professor of Physics, Emeritus
California State University, Fullerton
Phone: 714 278-3884
FAX: 714 278-5810
travel and family pictures:

-----Original Message-----
From: Forum for Physics Educators [] On
Behalf Of Larry Smith
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2005 8:49 AM
Subject: Why 60 hertz?

A student asked the historical question about why America chose wall AC
be 60 hertz and why Europe chose 50 hertz. I'm interested myself.

Thanks in advance,
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