[D8933ACG], Letter from Charles B Gaskill to William Birch Rankine, November 5th, 1889

Item

Abstract

[Niagara Falls, N.Y] I have your letter with copy of one from Professor Rowland.####Let us consider some of his statements. He puts the cost of delivery of Electric power from Niagara Falls to Buffalo at $60 to $70 per h.p "for large powers." Is this true?####The Tunnel Co. will develop 100,000 h.p at Niagara Falls at a ost of $2,000,000, including a large amount of real estate the revenue from which we will not consider.. The fixed charges upon the whole investment will be, say 5% interest--equal to $100,000, or $1.00 per h.p for crude or undeveloped power.####A plant of 10 Water Wheels of 1000 h.p each equal to 10,000 h.p can be placed in a wheel pit and power brought to the surface for $60,000.####The fixed annual charges on this outlay are:####The fixed annual charges on this outlay are:####5% on the Capital ($60,000) $3,000####5% for repairs, &c., $3,000####Attendance &c. $4,000####Total, $10,000####or $1.00 per h.p per annum, and a total cost of $2.00 per h.p on Shaft at Niagara. Let us consider the plant for transmission of 5000 h.p to Buffalo to equal a cost of $1,000,000 and we find, ####Fixed charges of 5% on capital $50,000####Attendance &c. (estimated) 25,000####$75,000####Add $2. per h.p for 8000 h,p allowing loss of 40% in transmission 16,000####Total, $91,000####which gives us about $15.25 per h.p per annum at Buffalo. It must not be forgotten that this sum pays 5% on all the capital directly invested in the line and covers operating expenses of the same. This estimate includes the entire cost of right of way to Buffalo, and it follows that the second 5000 h.p necessarily would cost less than the first. These figures seem to show that Prof. Rowland's estimate of $60 to $70 is entirely erroneous.####From careful investigation we find that the most favorable conditions, and the average steam power costs anywhere from $50 to $100 per h.p.####Briefly the conclusions must be as follows:####FIRST: That steam power in Buffalo costs from $30 to $100 per h.p####SECOND: That the Niagara power transmitted to Buffalo will cost $17 to $20 per h.p delivered at one or more central stations.####Prof. Rowland refers to the ability of the Brush Company to carry out anything they may undertake and we are pleased to refer you to an offer signed by the President of the Brush Co., Mr. Stockley, a copy of which you have, stating the willingness to supply the plant to transmit this power to Buffalo, and guaranteeing results such as I have outlines above.####Prof. Rowland's statement as to cost of local transmission to points within 3 miles of the initial power here is altogether erroneous. Starting at the Company's works here with a net cost of $2. per h.p the added expense of transmission is simply the cost of wires, and poles or conduits.####In fact the transmission of power for two or three miles on or near our lands is hardly worth considering, as the cost cannot in any manner affect our enterprise. The power may be cheaply transmitted one to three miles by cable and our River frontage is so extensive that 360 Manufacturing establishments can be located upon our lands, receive water from the Niagara River, and have their Water Wheels within a few feet of their doors.####Finally do not let our friends commit the error of determining the alue of the Niagara power solely by its possible uses in Buffalo. Such use must and will be large in amount and remunerative, but I make the prediction that there will be a demand for it from all parts of the Country from individuals and firms seeking reliable and lasting power that will build up a revenue which will fully care for the fixed charges upon the capital invested.#### The ability of our Company to supply cheap power, centrally located, with unrivalled shipping facilities, must and will produce satisfactory results.####It may be presumption on my part to criticise the opinions of a Professor of Johns Hopkins University, yet when one seeks the opinion and advice of a person supposed to possess superior and authoritative knowledge upon a subject and find this person engaged in accumulating the opinion of other people upon which to base his own, it would seem to be a plain confession of structural weakeness; at least in the direction of the subject matter under consideration, and any opinion as formed ought not to be valued, as against those of Edison, Brush and others who have made great discoveries in electrical matters and who know from their own practical experience what theoretical men have had no opportunity of learning.####Yours truly, Charles B. Baskill, per A.J.P#### [name mentions: Professor Henry Rowland, William B Rankine, Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel Co., Charles B. Gaskill, Brush Company, Mr. Stockley, Thos Edison, Johns Hopkins University]

Date

1889-11-05

Decade

1880-1889

Type

Identifier

D8933ACG

Folder Set

D8933

Title

[D8933ACG], Letter from Charles B Gaskill to William Birch Rankine, November 5th, 1889

Microfilm ID

126:124

Publisher

Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University