|dc.description||Walter D’Arcy Ryan was born in 1870 in Kentville, Nova Scotia. He became the chief of the department of illumination at the General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York. He was a founder in the field of electrical illumination. He built the electric steam scintillator which had numerous nozzles and valves. The operator would release steam through the valves. The nozzles all had names which included: Niagara, fan, snake, plume, column, pinwheel and sunburst. The steam scintillator was combined with projectors, prismatic reflectors, flashers and filters to produce the desired effects.
In 1920 a group of businessmen from Niagara Falls, New York formed a group who called themselves the “generators’. They lobbied the American and Canadian governments to improve the illumination of the Falls. They were able to raise $58, 000 for the purchase and installation of 24 arc lights to illuminate the Falls. On February 24th, 1925 the Niagara Falls Illumination Board was formed. Initially, the board had a budget of $28,000 for management, operation and maintenance of the lights. The power was supplied free by the Ontario Power Company. They had 24 lights installed in a row on the Ontario Power Company surge tank which was next to the Refectory in Victoria Park on the Canadian side. The official opening ceremony took place on June 8th, 1925 and included a light parade in Niagara Falls, New York and an international ceremony held in the middle of the
Upper Steel Arch Bridge. Walter D’Arcy Ryan was the illuminating engineer and A.D. Dickerson who was his New York field assistant directed the scintillator.
with information from American Technological Sublime by David E. Nye and the Niagara Falls info website
Brock University Archives
100 Ryan, W. D’A. |q (Walter D’Arcy), |d 1870-1934
610 General Electric Company
650 Lighting, Architectural and decorative
650 Lighting |z New York (State) |z Niagara Falls
700 Dickerson, A.F.
700 Schaffer, J.W.
Related material held at other repositories:
The Niagara Falls Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario has a program (pamphlet) dedicating new lighting in 1958 and it has postcards depicting the illumination of the Falls.
Some of Ryan’s accomplishments can be seen at The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco.
Sept 26,Upper Steel Arch Bridge. Walter D’Arcy Ryan was the illuminating engineer and A.D. Dickerson who was his New York field assistant directed the scintillator.
with information from American Technological Sublime by David E. Nye and the Niagara Falls info website||en_US