[X001M2AI], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Francis Robbins Upton, June 25th, 1888


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[X001M2AI], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Francis Robbins Upton, June 25th, 1888

Editor's Notes

Dear Sir:- In response to your request I give you herein a brief outline of the impressions made on my mind by a rapid survey of the Edison stations at Piqua and Middletown Ohio, in your company. ## The capacity of the Piqua station is about 1100 amperes at 110 volts equalling 2200 new type 16 candle lamps. The station is apparently in very good order. Pressure indicators are of an ancient type but all other apparatus is of good kind and reliable. ## Natural gas is being introduced under their boilers at a price 30% less than last years coal bills. The sytem of distribution covers a large territory surral long mains having been constructed for street lamps of which they have about 50 at $2 per month each burning all night. They claim to have a large number of laughs connected I think they claim 3000. ## The appearance of the town is thrifty much building is in progress and considerable public spirit manifested. The manager of the company displays energy and pluck and contain possesses the ability to succeed if properly supported by execution and mechanical staff. I see no reason why this company should not be prosperous unless the light is not well served. As the station was not in operation during our stay there, (it being new only during the night) I can form no estimate of the service. Faults of distribution and regulation and beeasily overcome and a station put into good shape at a moderate expense after which the dim and for the light will increase without soliciting if care is taken to maintain the pressure at one point at allt imes. Constancy of light and full value will attract and hold customers. ## [xxx] the worse state of affairs exists at Middleton. The capacity of this station I judge to be about 900 amperes they have an absolute sixe of dynamo the capacity of which I do not know. The station is in fair state of repair but my badly laid out and inconviently arranged. Regulating and indicating apparatus all of old pattern and badly placed. Coal is delivered at the door of fireroom by railroad, saving cartage, lines are not well constructed nor in good shape. ## Street lighting was attempted some time ago by Edison lamps, this failed to please, the Bush folks came in and now hold a contract for street lighting, which terminates soon. ## Besides the Bush competition the Gas Co. are pushing ahead having very recently, at considerable expense, changed over from an oil gas to coal gas and are now serving a very good light, smoky but of good color they are obliged to manufacture during hours of heaviest consumption because their storage capacity is exceeded by their daily output. ## Middleton is handicapped by being within easy distance of Cincinnati, made consequently suffers, merchants are mean and combine against new stores, what made cannot go to cincinnati in compelled to pay high prices. ## Taking advantage of the competition in light the merchants refuse to pay a fair price, use light recklessly on closefisted conrtacts and do not use the larger sizes of lamps, 10 being the rule. ## The management of the company is conspicious by its absence being emplyed constructed and causassing for outside towns and was not seen during the visit. ## In my opinion the best place for this company is to consolidate with the Gas Co + the Bush Co, build a new station on the Gas Cos lot and operate the three under one management and with one set of max, thereby reducing operating expenses obliterating competition and providing a better service at a better price. ## This plant as it stands is not worth over 30% of cost of construction and could be replaced with a modern plant for $18,000. To right this station with standard apparatus and put it in good order would cost more than the prospects warrant. ## To move the whole into a better town would entail considerable loss both to investors and the Edison interests. ## No one cares to sink money by reconstructing a poor station in a poor town which could not afford to pay for the service of manager with ability sufficient to place their business on a paying business.








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