[LB006874], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Owen A Gill, January 29th, 1881



Yours of the 27th was duly received. You perhaps know that all my efforts have been and all my appliances are devised especially for the general distribution of electricity throughout a city to be sold by meter and not for the lighting up of a single building hence I am at the present moment at a slight disadvantage when asked to ligyht up a single building. I could very much easier light up a square mile with 1500 to 2000 houses than I could a single building although that may seem a paradox to you. We are getting our offices in New York and [project?] very soon to accomodate my system for electric lighting. Before giving an estimate on lighting the Penitentiary I would like replies to the following questions. (1) Is the Penitentiary within hte limist of gas district? (2) Is it heated by steam? (3) If so how many boilers have they? (4) What is the average boiler pressure? (5) Have they one or more steam engines? (6) What is the size of the cylinders? (7) What are the engines used for? (8) What is the extreme distance from the boiler room to the last light? (9) What was their gas bill in December? (10) Between what hours is 75% of gas used? (11) If lighted by gasoleine how much gasoline was used in December? The cost of lighting yb electricity will depend upon conditions. The cost of coal at Baltimore, the number of hours of burning and cost of labor. It will certainly be cheaper than gas or gas made from gasoline. If you give me the statistics I can probably give you an estimate of the cost of plant and running expenses within 10% and perhaps 6%.









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[LB006874], Letter from Thomas Alva Edison to Owen A Gill, January 29th, 1881

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

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