Our History

After electricity was invented, there was a need for a source to generate the actual power and the cable or wire to carry the electricity, that was nothing more than an electron being pushed from molecule to molecule by the voltage generated by the force. Then there was the load side that the electricity was powering up. In the early days, the load was primarily lights for homes and businesses, which later evolved into industry and every other imaginable thing electricity could be utilized for. Another important variable was a process to protect the load side, lights etc… if they failed in order to disconnect the power, so after a load failure the lights, etc… did not have live power still being generated to that load causing more damage.

In 1890 Thomas Edison filed an electrical distribution patent which included fuses for protection, but earlier in 1879, Thomas Edison describe a breaker in a patent. unfortunately, the technology was not there until a few decades later.

Therefore, fuses were installed inline to protect loads.

Interesting Circuit Breaker Facts

The First Circuit Breakers

In 1904 Cutter Manufacturing Company produced circuit breakers. They branded them under I.T.E breakers, who would eventually become a part of Siemens in the 1980’s.  I.T.E. stands for Inverse Time Element.

Thermal Magnetic Trip Technology

Hugo Stotz invented what was known as the forerunner to the thermal Magnetic trip in the 1920’s. All breaker manufacturers utilized thermal magnetic trip technology from the late 1920’s to the 1990’s when electronic tripping capabilities were invented, but most all breakers in homes are still thermal magnetic and many commercial and industrial molded case breakers still use the thermal technology.

The first voltage

Although Benjamin Franklin was the first to discover the electrical current without the technology to develop it, Alessandro Volta invented the first contraption that produced a current. He accomplished this with a voltaic pile, also known as an early battery, nothing like we have today.

Obscon has a rich history in circuit breaker and switchgear distribution and technology, along with obsolete controls.

The founder of Obscon has worked extensively with Whipp & Bourne out of the United Kingdom on projects worldwide. Whipp & Bourne was issued a contract to install their switchgear on the Titanic.”Rick Duncan, founder of Obscon said. “We used to joke with customers. Every time we told them that it was our switchgear on the Titanic, most would laugh and say, yes but the Titanic sank and we would respond by saying, but if you watch the movie the lights were going out in sections as the ship sank, so our over current protection was working.”

In the 1980’s Our founder worked very closely with several steel mills in the Pittsburgh area in order to assist them in reclaiming millions of dollars in obsolete electrical equipment, due to much of the steel industry at that time moving to China.

By the 1980’s some of the electrical equipment was becoming obsolete and due to the hosting of the Houston Oilers in the NFL, the Astros in the MLB, the famed Houston Show and rodeo and many other events, it was imperative that a switchgear protection plan and having the proper replacements available during a failure was enacted. Again, our founder was instrumental in putting this into effect.

Many industrial facilities in the 80’s & 90’s were in dire need of electrical system updating from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Obscon was instrumental in initializing a plan that would best accommodate those facilities.

Over the last 2 decades, when utilities and power plants were in need of obsolete electrical switchgear consulting in order to determine the most cost effective avenue as to whether replace large amounts of panels, switchgear, reclosers and gear, Obscon was onsite developing a plan.

Obscon was instrumental in developing the first Obsolete Electrical Footprint (OEF) for outdoor and indoor circuit breakers in order to calculate the obsoletism and interchangeability of every circuit breaker ever manufactured.