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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 102 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 1178, June 25, 1898.

(To be continued.)

* * * * *

[Continued from supplement, No. 1172, page 18764.]


By Samuel Insull.[1]

    [Footnote 1:  Before the Electrical Engineering Department of
    Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind., May 17, 1898.]

The success of the low-tension system was followed by the introduction of the alternating system, using high potential primaries with the converters at each house, reducing, as a rule, from 1,000 down to either 50 or 100 volts.  I am not familiar with the early alternating work, and had not at my disposal sufficient time in preparing my notes to go at any length into an investigation of this branch of the subject; nor do I think that any particular advantage could have been served by my doing so, as it has become generally recognized that the early alternating work with a house-to-house converter system, while it undoubtedly helped central station development at the time, proved very uneconomical in operation and expensive in investment, when the cost of converters is added to the cost of distribution.  The large alternating stations in this country have so clearly demonstrated this that their responsible managers have, within the last few years, done everything possible, by the adoption of block converters and three-wire secondary circuits, to bring their system as close as they could in practice to the low-tension direct-current distribution system.  I do not want to be understood as undervaluing the position of the alternating current in central station work.  It has its place, but to my mind its position is a false one when it is used for house-to-house distribution with converters for each customer.  The success of the oldest stations in this country, and the demonstration of the possibilities of covering areas of several miles in extent by the use of the three wire system, resulted in much capital going into the business.  One of the earliest stations of a really modern type installed on either side of the Atlantic was built by the Berlin Electricity Works.  The engineers of that station, while recognizing the high value of the distributing system, went back to Edison’s original scheme of a compact direct-connected steam and electric generator, but with dynamos of the multipolar type designed and built by Siemens & Halske, of Berlin, the engines being of vertical marine type.

This was followed by the projecting in New York of the present Duane Street station, employing boilers of 200 pounds pressure, triple and quadruple expansion engines of the marine type, and direct-connected multipolar dynamos.  Almost immediately thereafter, the station in Atlantic Avenue, Boston, somewhat on the same general design so far as contents is concerned, was erected.  In 1891 a small station, but on the same lines, was projected for San Francisco, and in 1892 the present Harrison Street station of the Chicago Edison company was designed, and, benefiting by the experience of Berlin, New York and Boston, this station produces electric current for lighting purposes probably cheaper than any station of a similar size anywhere in this country.

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