This is Part 11 of a 14 part series.
An October 1921 Buffalo General Electric magazine called ‘The Welder’ states that 25-Hz service for power was generally available in all parts of the City. Other types of service were confined to certain sections of the City as shown in Figures 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 & 11.4:i
Figure 11.1 Availability of 25 Hz Service for Lighting (principally for residential) confined primarily to the northwest section of the City
Figure 11.3 Availability of Direct Current (Edison System (110/220-V) confined to the Downtown Business District)
Figure 11.2 Availability of 62 1/2 -Hz Service for Lighting and Small Power (less than 50-hp) confined to the southeast section of the City.
Figure 11.4 Availability of Direct Current 500-V (principally for elevators)
This 1921 magazine also noted “only 61% of the employees of the B. G. E. Company live in wired homes.”ii
Figure 11.5 Gas Streetlight
Figure 11.6 Electric Streelight (with a cast iron base and a fluted sheet steel column)
In 1923 Buffalo General Electric started a project in Buffalo of installing electric streetlights to replace 10,000 gaslights like the one shown in Figure 11.5 with a two-piece cast iron standard.iii While many of the cast iron gas standards were converted to electric streetlights, most were replaced with the type standard shown in Figure 11.6.
Figure 11.7 Map of Source Stations (from top to bottom: Huntley Station and Terminal Station C, Terminal House A, Terminal House B)
Note that all the power supplied to the City of Buffalo was from facilities located in the northwest sector of the City [Fig. 11.7]. This required a very extensive 11,000-V and 22,000-V cable system to distribute power to the distribution stations and customers scattered around the City.
Figure 11.8 Terminal Station D
To supplement these sources, 60,000-V to 22,000-V Terminal Station D was built on Bailey Avenue south of William and placed in service July 1926 [Fig. 11.8]. A double-circuit 60,000-V overhead transmission line from Terminal Station C supplied Terminal Station D. 22,000-V cables were installed to pickup substations and customers in the southeast section of the City.iv
Distribution substations No. 16 through No. 20 were built for 22,000 V.
Figure 11.9 Station 16 on Main north of Hertel
Figure 11.11 Station 18 on Sumner & West Shore
Figure 11.10 Station 17 on Ohio & Childs
figure 11.13 Station 20 on Kenmore north of Vulcan
No. 20 on Kenmore north of Vulcan [Fig.11.13].
Synchronous condensers for power factor correction were installed in several station
Figure 11.12 Station 19 on Lee & Prenatt (no photo available)
s. A synchronous condenser is a synchronous motor running at no load with the field adjusted so the armature takes a leading current.
Not all businesses were sold on central station electric service.
For example the author was told the Ellicott Square building [Fig11.14] generated electricity in the winter when they operated steam boilers for heating, and purchased electricity from Buffalo General Electric in the summer.v
Figure 11.14 Ellicott Square Building
The Larkin Company [Fig. 11.15]did not stop generating electricity until 1930.vi
Figure 11.16 Hotel Statler
Hotel Statler [Fig. 11.16], which was built in 1923, used reciprocating steam engine driven ammonia compressors for air conditioning and making ice until about 1970. This required the hotel to operate steam boilers year round.vii
Figure 11.17 Col. Ward Pumping Station
The City of Buffalo’s Col. Ward Pumping Station [Fig. 11.17] at the foot of Porter Avenue kept these huge steam pumps in reserve until about 1970. Electric pumps are in the foreground.viii
Next: 60-Hz replaces 25-Hz
i. H. B. Alverson, “Our Systems of Distribution,” The Welder, Published by the Employees of the Buffalo General Electric Company, 1 No. 8 (1921):12.
ii. “Is Your Home Wired?” The Welder, Published by the Employees of the Buffalo General Electric Company, 1, No 8, (1921):27.
iii. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:292.
iv. “Happenings” (An Annual Log from the Electric Operations Department, Buffalo General Electric Company, 1926, photocopy).
v. Related to the author by George Adams, NMP T&D engineer, ca. 1961.
vi. “Larkin Company Now Uses Niagara Power,” Power Events, Published by Buffalo, Niagara & Eastern Power Corporation, 5, No 2 (1930): 8.
vii. Author’s recollection from personal observation during work as NMP Underground Engineer.
viii. Author’s recollection from personal observation during work as NMP Underground Engineer.