June 21, 1925

A Magic, Silent Servant
Engineer Spent All of His Time
For Two Years Installing Elaborate
System of Remote Controls and
Outdoor Illumination

Undoubtedly few pretentious estates are equipped with as remarkable detailed systems of lighting or electrically controlled utilities as that of J.J. Lynn, whose grounds now comprising seventy-eight acres, were described last week in The Star. Intricate arrangements which provide remote control virtually throughout the system form one of the most striking features.

The Lynn property extends along the north side of Meyer boulevard east of the junction of that thoroughfare and the Paseo.

The elaborate electrical and mechanical detail and the specially designed mechanisms necessary to carry out Mr. Lynn's ideas along this line have taken the entire working time of Joseph H. Dovell, electrical engineer, for more than two years. Enough wiring and electrical equipment to serve a small town has been used, and the plans include some further installations.

Those who have passed by the main entrance to the grounds, set between large stone pillars, may have noticed a small steel box mounted on a low pier outside the gates. This is the outpost of the system, from which entrance to the grounds is controlled. Three automatic switches in the face of the box, operated by a special Yale key, control respectively automatic opening of the gates, lighting of gate lights, and lighting of fifteen lights lining a 1,600-foot winding drive to the residence.


Automatic opening and closing of the two 750-pound gates is accomplished by means of two specially designed mechanisms, one for each gate, each being operated by a quarter-horsepower, 220-volt, 60-cycle motor. The devices consist of ingenious arrangements of gears and levers, connected with the motors.

The Lynn residence is not visible from the main entrance to the grounds. The gates being closed, the visitor, to ring the "door bell," opens the door of a little box outside and pushes a button. This sounds the "door bell" which in reality is a 14-inch gong placed on the garage near the house. The caller then announces himself, through a telephone in the box. Opening the box door lights a bulb which reveals this telephone. It is part of an intercommunicating system of a dozen telephones, six of which are in the residence. The visitor thus announced, the gates may be opened to him from any room in the house by pressure of a button on a 6x4-inch control panel. Just eight seconds are required for the gates to open or close. Each foot of distance traveled by the gates is revealed by a light flashing at the control panel. Just as the drive lights may be turned on at the gate, so may they be turned on from the house. The complete outside lighting system virtually is controllable from the little control panels throughout the house.

The arrangement and size of the various lights outside of the residence are rather unusual. In the garage, west of the residence are eight 100-watt ceiling lights, and at each garage door are 200- watt bracket lights. These may be switched on or off at each garage door, the second floor or the first and second floors of the house. A 1,000-watt flood light overlooking an open air swimming pool north of the garage is controlled from a panel in that building.


Installed on an east gable of the residence is a special searchlight using a 1,000-watt flood light, which overlooks a small practice golf course, making possible not only night golf practice but an excellent defense against burglars. This practice course for putting, incidentally, is separate from a 9-hole course in another part of the grounds, the only full sized private golf course here.

The lights along the drive or "white way" from the main gates consist of 200-watt lamps inside 18-inch frosted globes, set on 10-foot ornamental standards. Plans include the installation of special lighting features for the tennis court, situated about three hundred feet east of the residence.

The use of service poles along Mr. Lynn's property is obviated by carrying in the feeder light wires and telephone wires in underground lead cables. The wiring for the entire system inside the grounds is carried three feet below the surface in conduits set inside concrete one foot square. From the gates to residence, fifty-two thousand feet of light and telephone wire are used. Each wire in the system has attached a small brass tag bearing a number corresponding to a number placed on a diagram of the system Nearly twenty-five hundred of these tags were required for the "job." To make the lines accessible for "trouble shooting," what are known as "pull boxes" are set at intervals in the top of the concrete framing the conduits.


An automatic feature of the electrical control system is in connection with the heating of the residence, servants' quarters and greenhouse. When a certain temperature is reached thermostat connections automatically decreases the flow of gas into the furnaces. The gas is obtained from four wells on the Lynn properties.

Every special device in the control system except those pertaining to heat regulation has been designed and made by Mr. Dovell in his well equipped workshop in the rear of his home at 2315 Norton avenue.

Designing and execution of the gate-opening device for Mr. Lynn occupied Mr. Dovell about twenty days. A

Variation of this device he has applied to his own garage doors.

News Articles on J.J. Lynn in K.C.

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