[X001M2AR], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Edison Electric Light and Power Co (St Paul), George H Finn, February 26th, 1889


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[X001M2AR], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Edison Electric Light and Power Co (St Paul), George H Finn, February 26th, 1889

Editor's Notes

George H. Finn Esq, Gen. Manager Edison Electric Light & P. Co. Dear Sir:- I have today completed the first step in improving the distribution of current and equalizataion of pressure from your station vix; the reinforcement of and addition to your Feeders. This was done in the following manner. First: Two of the neutral wires were taken from the Feeders and these were so connected as to serve as the positive and negitive wires of a new Feeder, of small capacity, serving current to the Mains at the corner of 3rd & Cedar Sts. Where the pressure had been quite low, which gave rise to much complaint from that section. This change increased the pressure three volts, in that vicinity, causing a marked improvement in the light and cessation of complaints from that quarter. The cost of this improvement was for labor alone as the copper used was simply changed from the neutral conductor (where it was not of indespensable importance) to the positive and negitive conductors where it could produce good results, thus saving all the cost of the copper and about three fourths of the labor necessary to have installed a new Feeder. Second; In the same manner two neutral wires were made to act as a Feeder serving current to the mains at the corner of 7th and Minnesota Sts., which was intended to relieve Feeder #10 which serves the Hotel Ryan and vicinity of Robert & 7th sts. The cost of this change was less even than the first. Both of these Feeders being of small capacity are run without pressure indicators or equalizers, being practicably but a reinforcement of existing Feeders. Third; The main from the corner of 5th & Cedar Sts. Running down 5th St., to Minnesota St. on the Fire Alarm Poles and thence over house tops to the Jackson St. Main, was reinforced from Cedar St. to the point near Robert St. where the service for the Northwestern Fuel Co. is connected, thus a marked improvement was made in the Fuel Co's light. Fourth; The main on the sts. Between Cedar & Wabasha Sts. (a #10 B.W.G. wire) was reinforced by #2 B.W.G wire on the positive and negative side which, which as the small wire was overloade, caused a decided betterment in all lights on that Main. This reinforcement was also accomplished with wire taken from the neutral of #11 Feeder and so cost only the labor necessasry to take it down and put it up in its location. Fifth; Copper was purchased for a new Main to be placed on Robert St. from 3rd to 7th, and for a new feeder from the station to feed into the new main at the corner of Robert & 5th sts., for use in connection with this new Feeder. Awaiting the arrival of the materials mentioned above we endeavored to obtain a right of way for the lines on Robert St., which after three weeks of most careful planning we were forced to abandon being convinced that our only method of procuring such rights of way was by engaging in a legal quarrel with the Western Union Telegraph Co., and concluded that the cost of such proceeding was too great compared with the benefits to be derived in case of settlement in our favor. We therefore on the arrival of the above mentioned materials, proceeding to reinforce the Feedres which served current to the vicinity of 3rd & Jackson Sts., by installing a new Feeder ending at the corner of 3rd & Robert Sts. hoping thereby to raise the pressure in that district and decrease the loss on the Feeders slightly. Sixth; to prevent any bad results from the removal of the four neutral wires which were used to make two new Feeders, we connected all the neutral wires of the Feeders and Mains in several places and connected the heavy neutral conductor so formed to the earth through earth plates at every fifth pole and by means of large copper wires, to the steam and water pipes at the station, this gives us an exceeding large neutral conductor acting both as Main and Feeder in addition to the regular copper neutrals which, as yur neutral ampere Meter is seldom more than 50 amperes out of balance, can do al lthe work expected of it better than under the old arrangement where in case of a breaking down to a two wire system the station neutral became nearly red hot. I claim that thus grounding the Neutral is a safe guard against dangerous accidental grounds and a precaution against lighting. This briefly is a report of the work done since my arrival in January last but on account of some unforseen trouble, such as the breaking of pressure wires by the ice and the eating off of others by electrolysis caused by condensed steam in the loft over the Engine room, I have not yet been able to make measurement of pressures to ascertain the results of the changes mentioned above. This shall be done in a day or so and shall consitute material for another report. We are now engaged in placing a new set of standard pressure wires (these to be of copper) I intending to make #10 Feeder the Standard instead of #1 Feeder as heretofore. When this is completed and some minor matters are all straightened out, I shall have done all I can do without other and more extensive alterations or additions are contemplated. Yours very truly, Wilson S. Howell





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