On This Day in History: Pearl Street Station Began Generating Electricity


I'm eve and welcome to this day in history class a show that uncovers a little bit more about history every day. Today is september fourth twenty nineteen <music>. The day was september fourth eighteen eighty two pearl street station. The first commercial central power plant in the united states started generating electricity building on the work of other inventors. Turn edison created an incandescent lighting system. He had already constructed experimental power installations. He used a dynamo now. No known as a generator to deliver power to each of these small installations but incandescent lighting in homes and endorse was becoming more popular and a substantial source of power was needed in eighteen eighty the same here. He received the patent for his incandescent lamp. Thomas edison established tablet the edison electric illuminating company of new york to build power stations in new york city edison decided to build the first permanent central power power stations for supplying incandescent lighting in new york's financial district in lower manhattan construction of the station began in eighteen eighty one the mechanical and electrical part of the plant was at two fifty seven pearl street since the building was constructed for commercial use. The structure had to be strengthened. Thanks to hold all of the necessary equipment. The flooring was replaced with a floor of girders supported by columns. The building used for storage ridge. Sleeping and offices was at two fifty-five pearl streets. Each building has four floors edison chose this location because it provided a good mix of commercial and residential business and was home to many major newspapers. It was also close to the western union telegraph telegraphy company in city hall the company paid around three hundred thousand dollars to buy the properties and built the station and distribution system constructing the network of wires and conduits that delivered energy to customers was one of the most expensive parts of the project after administrative expenses canvassing and patent license fees the cost came to about five hundred thousand dollars or two hundred and i'm forty horsepower babcock wilcox boilers were in the basement of two fifty seven pearl street fix engine and dynamo assemblies were on the floor above that the dynamos were driven by reciprocating steam engines supplied by coal fired boilers each assembly wait about about thirty tons and was raided for around twelve hundred lance. The third floor housed wooden frame wrapped with copper wire resistances that were used used for manually regulating the dynamo fields. The fourth floor was home to a thousand lamps that were used to test dynamos that needed inspection or repair. The first engine and generator assembly was tested on july fifth eighteen eighty two the station went into service on september fourth pearl street street station used direct current which is an electric current that flows in one direction with alternating current on the other hand. The electric current changes direction periodically. Atakli customers were not charged for current until eighteen eighty three after the system for accurately recording the flow of current proven reliable so the first bill was to antonia brass and copper company for fifty dollars and forty four six the new york times officers were one of edison's since first customers pearl street station did not become profitable until eighteen eighty four other direct current low-voltage central station electric systems were later built around new york city in january of eighteen ninety. A fire destroyed some of the station but it was back up up and running not long after and stayed in operation until eighteen ninety four though edison defended the use of direct current. The rest of the world was gravitating toward alternating current. Either tom pearl street station shutdown. Other power plants have been designed to service larger areas edison sold the buildings and they were later torn down. I'm jeff code in. Hopefully you know a little more about history today you yesterday saturday.

Coming up next