[X001M2AV], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Somerville and Raritan Electric Light and Power Co, July 9th, 1889


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[X001M2AV], Letter from Wilson Stout Howell to Somerville and Raritan Electric Light and Power Co, July 9th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Dear Sir, The following is most respectfully submit to your committee as a report on the electrical equipment of your plant. ## The system used is knkown as Thomson-Houston Alternating current transformer system, using an Electro-motor-force of 1000 volts at the dynamos and 52 volts at the lamps. ## The dynamos, two in number, an rated at 60 lamps each, and from all I could learn or determine are not over rated. Your plant is rated in the contract at 500 lamps. This is correct as but one dynamos can be used at one time, no provision have been made to operate both dynamos together on one system of mains. Indeed I doubt if it be practical to so run any alternating current dynamos. ## The system of driving the dynamos direct from a high-speed engine, (each dynamo having an engine) is in accord with the best modern practice. The type of engine used, the "Ball" ranks high as an electric-light engine. Although not an expert on steam practice I must say that I do not agree with the criticism made on your boilers. The selection of type of boiler depends upon other location of the plant respecting surrounding property for an instance in crowded cities a type of boiler is selected having the highest possible record for safety from disasterous explosives. In sections where fuel is of high cost particular attention is given to the selection of a type of boiler showing the highest economy of fuel and great care shown in the setting of the boiler all of which adds to cost of plant. I believe you have boilers of good economy and as well suited to your work as any you could buy. I say this not as an expert or as the result of examination but as the impression made on my mind by a simply view of your fireroom and compoaring it with other plants. ## Your electrical apparatus is complete and well located its arrangement is good permitting rapid handling and ease of attendance. The whole appears to be of good pattern and well made. ## Your strut lighting system embodies the best points in practice and is laid out on the best principle all lamps being in series with a film cutout in each socket to prevent interruption of circuit by breaking of lamps. The placing of the connectors is a departure from ordinary practice, they generally beiing placed below the lower cross arm while yours are placed about 12 ft. above the strut, on the pole, in easy reach from a short ladder. ## [xxx] shabby or "skim" work has been done on your pole line, but in all respects your line is well constructed. The poles are straight, of good size, well set and properly guaged. All the materials used and the workmanship are of the best. ## would advise one addition to the conductors rig, that the ground wire of the lighting arrestors be connected to your steam and water pipes in addition to the ground wire already run to "earth." This will give youtwo ground connectors. Either one of which will act through the other fails. Nothing so forcibly illustrates the high charactors of the work done on your plant as the house-wiring or the wiring of the lamps in customers premises. This part of the work has, in many plants installed by constructors, been most grossly "skimed" and left in a condition absolutely dangerous, which in your Somerville plant the house-wiring is thoroughly first class, and without being extravagently done is shown no attempt at false economy. The thoroughness of the house-wiring results from a high standard the New England Insurance Rules. ## In short I see no fault in the construction of your plant. The spirit of the contract has been well carried out, and I will add that should any serious trouble arise in the operation of the station. I believe it will be traced directly to faulty attendance or natural faults in the system, but in no [xxx] to the construction I shall be glad at any time to give you any additional assitance which you may desire, yours very truly, Wilson S. Howell Report of Wilson S. Howell to the Somerville & Raritan E. Lt. + Power Co., Sommerville NJ, July 9, 1889




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