[D8831ABW], Report from William Dennis Marks to Edison Electric Light Co of Philadelphia, October 8th, 1888


View document with UniversalViewer   → View document on Archive.org  → Re-use this digital object via a IIIF manifest


[D8831ABW], Report from William Dennis Marks to Edison Electric Light Co of Philadelphia, October 8th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"In response to your request for a report giving the progress and the status of affairs of this Companys Works I would say that on Oct. 3rd, 1887 the order for the copper conductors covering our present district was given, Anterior to that time but a small quantity was laid on Chestnut St., from 9th to the Aldine Hotel near 20th St. as the progress of the Work was wholly controlled by the Penn Electric Light Co., and was subject to many delays. ### During the month of November eleven miles of Edison tubing were laid, the work being terminated by City Ordinance Dec. 1st. ### Since then during the past summer our whole district as stated in our circular, save Sixth Street which has an Asphaltum pavement and seems a poor district and Third Street which I have in vain asked the Penn Electric Light Co., to obtain a permit for since the 26th of last June; has been completed. Since last July a 250 volt dynamo has been on the various circuits keeping them under current in order to develop faults anterior to the starting of the station for commercial lighting. This procedure has proved very efficient and as the Edison machine Works has guaranteed the whole system for one year after the starting of the Station they have at their own expense repaired whatever defects have estimated at $120,000 has cost as follows: ### Foundations $22,000 Contract ### Brick and iron work as far as the top of 4th floor 88,000 ### Roof, corrugated iron 2,500 ### Extra amount remaining for cast iron and slate floors and castings 7,500 unexpended $120,000 ### The recent fires in the Stations at Boston and Fall River arising from oily wooden floors render it necessary to use incombustible materials for floors. ### The 1000 HP of boilers estimated at $18,000 have been contracted for with Abendroth & Root for $15,398 75/100 and are now partially on the ground all ready for erection. ### The boiler Feed and other pumps estimated at $1000 are ordered of the Barr Pumping Engine Co. at $915 and are awaiting erection ### The Water Committee of Councils of Philadelphia in answer to an application for a water connection and usual rate of 60 cents per 1000 cubic feet passed a resulution Sept. 18th, 1888 authorizing Chief Ogden to introduce a meter and a six inch connection but making the minimum payment and which can be received $2000 per annum and all payments in excess of that at the regular rate, as this represents the interest on $40,000. I am bending every energy to the sinking of a well capable of producing 40000 gallons of water per hour. I know that mining for anything is always an adventure but am encouraged to believe that we can secure a sufficient supply to render us independent of the City having now 6000 gallons per hour supply at 27 feet depth and expecting to go to a depth of 50 feet. ### The Coal Hoist cars and scales estimated at $5000. The scales have been put in by Riehle Bros. for $379. The Coal Hoist is contracted for with Crane Elevator Co. at $2000. erected and the cars will probably cost $850 making a total of $3229. The ash cars track and dump estimated at $2000 will proably not be needed as the ashes and coal are arranged to go up and down the same shaft, and the money can be applied on two Crane neck dumping wagons carrying 4 tons each and the necessary draft horses. ### The Blast Fan estimated at $1500 has been ordered at that price and is awaiting erection. The steam exhaust and water piping estimated at $10,000. ### The Exhaust Piping has been contracted for at $5800. ### " Blast """"" $2100. ### Leaving a balance of $2100 for steam and water piping which will probably more than cover the cost although I have not prices on all the fittings. ### Freight hauling and fitting $2000 ### Tools and sundry small equipments $1000. $3000 ### These items will not appear on the accounts as every item to the smallest amount has been charged directly to its particular piece of work. An arrangement for 10 % on the Pay Roll of Tubemon with the Edison Machine Works has been effected by which they furnish and renew all tools required for tube laying. ### Cranes, Hoists &c. estimated at $4000. The overhead travelling cranes for Dynamo Room required at first have been contracted for at $900, an additial $1100. making $3000. total will cover all blocks and tackle required for cathead. Engine room and Dynamos. ### Meters and fittings estimated at $5000. I find on making inquiry that a careful overhauling of the meter arrangements as at present used is being made. The shunt is to have higher resistance and the probably error reduced and so have delayed order. It should be understood that the prsent form of meter is the most reliable yet invented and it is only in hope of getting a better article that I thus delay.. ### Services to houses, estimated at $10,000. Edison tubes to the amount of $5000, have been ordered and are in stock for services. ### The labor of putting in services is charged and appears on the accounts each week. ### Station apparatus for electrical measurement Bus wires and connections $20,000. Bergmann & Co. have undertaken the construction of ampere meteres for, ----------$2800. ### Edison Machine Works Bus Wire, ---8000. ### """ Cables for Feeders, ---4013. ### """""Tie Lines, ---890. ### $15703. ### The residue $4300. will cover such small fittings and the equalizers 60 in number required although this item may be exceeded as although we were fortunate enough to obtain our outside conductors, before the Copper syndicate raised the prices we are obliged now to pay whatever they choose to ask for copper, and I had no means of foreseeing the rise of prices. ### Stock of lamps estimated at $7500. We now have 13000 lamps for which we have paid $4791.80 After considerable correspondce the Lamp Co offerd a discount of 5 and 3 % on new lamps. The careful discussion of the relative economy of old lamps (7/10 ampere) and new lamps (1/2 ampere) showing the new lamp to be as economical at 40 cts as the old lamp at 20 cts each. New lamps were purchased as the Lamp Co. would not sell old lamps at 20 cts. Although anxious to sell them at a reduction. ### Incidentals $25000. was intended to cover Office Rent, Salaries, Expenses, Drawings etc. during the erection of the works. Reference to the Treasurer's Books will show how much of this has been spent. The original intention was to start this station with a maximum capacity of 8 - 500 ampere dynamos or 8000 lamps lit at once. It was soon found that this would not be sufficient even at the start to provide for continencies and motive power as well and the need arose for increased capacity. After many consultations with Mr. Kruesi of the Edison Machine works and Mr. Sims of Armington & Sims it was deemed practicalbe to substitue 1000 ampere dynamos (2000 lights) for the original 500 ampere dynamos and to put in 440 horse Power Engines in the place of the 200 horse power engines originally intended, thus giving the Station a starting capacity of 16000 lights or doubling its capacity at less than 50 % increase of cost for machinery and at no increase at all for buildings or working force save firemen and an extra assistant on the dynamo floor to watche the proposed indicators. The Supervision, officers and clerical force remaining the same as for a station of one-half the capacity. ### You will, observe from the map of our distric that a selection has been made of the best streets, Walnut and Chestnut from the Delawareto the Schuylkill and Market from the Delaware to the Public Buildings and that copper carrying capacity of 50000 lights has been laid on these streets (equivalent to 1000000 cubic feet of gas per day). We should have a district from Callowhill Street to South Street and from the Delaware to the Schuylkill rivers. The Station will have to be run at 5000 horse power before exhausting the capacity of oru present distribution in the streets and to meet future extensions North and South should have a reserve capacity of renlargment of 5000 horse power. We have no reason to believe that this City's Councils would be unwilling to allow an extension of the limits of distribution to a Company offering a perfect light at as cheap a rate as gas is, light for light. ### To get this second 5000 horse power a second boilder floor must be added, this will cause no difficulty beause the building and iron work is amply strong enough to carry it and a coal storage floor as well, whenever the Company deems it advisable to build higher than at present. ### Before taking this step in the direction of greater concentration of the power of the machinery I deemed it proper to submit the results of my consultations with Sims and Kruesi for the approval of Thos. A. Edison and received the following letter in reply. ### (Copy) Orange, N.J. May 12, 1888. ### My dear Sir:- ### I have your letter of the 10th inst. I believe Babcock boilers and 160 lbs. pressure high speed engines and good engineers with good pay, 1000 ampere machines with a margin in them for three hours of 1200 amperes and an extra 30 volts that is 140 volts to take care of future improvements in high resistance lamps. ### Yours very truly, ### Thos. A. Edison. ### With Edison's approval I at once arranged with Armington & Sims for engines strong enough to carry 150 lbs. of steam without occupying any increased space and with the Edison Machine Works for eight 1000 ampere dynamos. ### The original estimate was -- ### 4 Engines 200 H.P. each erected $12000 ### 8 dynamos 500 amperes each 16000 28000 ### The second estimate and contract is -- ### 4 Engines 440 H.P. each erected $16000 ### 8 dynamos 1000 amperes each 25600 41600 ### Thus securing a doubled capacity for light at an increase of cost of less than 48% for the machinery and no increase for the building. The $23600[?] additional in this item will probably be covered by the reduced cost of other items already mentioned. The use of a double system of omnibus wiring enabled the discovery of the locality of grounds without at any time shutting off the light from consumers and the carrying of feeders on different potentials so as to avoid the excessive use of equalizers, will prove of great advantage as to the certainty of light and economy of coal of this station. ### There then remain only of the important details of this station equalizers and consumers meters which have yet to be contracted for or bought, these are being urged to the utmost and will be ordered upon completion this week. ### I have been much troubled by delays on the part of contractors. C.M. Grubb after over running his contract time one month on the foundations was ordered off July 3rd and it took my constant personal attention till August 1st to complete his unfinished work, correct his gross errors and clean up a vast accumulation of rubbish. ### I am pleased to say that Mr. Doan, Contractor for the buidling is doing much better and that the roof is going on this week and that there is a reasonable probability of his completing his work in 22 days (working) from August 1st or earlier. The Quaker City Slate Co. agreed to deliver slate wainscoting July 26th and have not yet put a piece of slate on the ground, although we are much in need of it. ### The Edison Machine Works were to deliver the Dynamos September 1st and will probably deliver them about the end of this month. Armington & Sims agreed to have engines ready September 1st and have not yet sent them although reportedly urged in person and by letter. Owing to Grubb's delay it would be impossible to erect any of this machinery at present and I hope to get the roof on and brick work done and start in with the machinery within the next fortnight, so their delays are not so serious an injury as they might have been. At present I should estimate that there will be 10 to 12 thousand lamps wired before we can start and believe that that number will be quickly doubled as soon as people see that we are running. The two regular solicitors of the Company have been transferred to the President and I believe they cannot help but effect good results. Within the limitats of the extimate of Station ready to run ($523000.) I think we can start up and for a cash cost of $1000,000. a station and distribution of 100,000 lamps (equivalent to 2000,000 cubic feet of gas daily) can be completed, being about one-third the cost of gas works of 2000,000 cubic feet per day. ### I find the cost per lamp hour at once of the New York Stations to be given as 1/2 ct. assuming 10 lamps per H R this would make 5 cents of which the coal costs 1 cent on the grate and the remaining 4 cents goes to cover the Office and clerks pay roll and repairs. It would not appear unreasonable to expect that by concentrating greater power in a station that the constant charge for Office Expense and Pay Roll per lamps will be much reduced and that we can produce light at a low rate and large profit besides earning largely from motive power, which I have hopes will be very popular having repeatedly called the attention of Motor Companies to our Station and urged them to establish agencies here. I cannto fix any date for starting for I am dependent on the pomptness and good faith of many contractors and cannot start till all have done their work, but it should be done by December 1st." I am very Respectfully, Wm. D. Marks, Sup. Eng. & Gen'l Manager




Folder/Volume ID


Microfilm ID


Document ID



Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
Download CSV | JSON