Niagara Fall Power Company

Completed Transmission Line to Buffalo, New York


Publication: The North American

Philadelphia, PA, United States
p. 1, col. 3


Niagara Falls Harnessed for the

Benefit of Buffalo.


Lines Built to Transmit by Wire

About 40,000 Horse-Power to the

Queen City, Twenty-Seven

Miles Distant.

Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 15. At midnight to-night the turning of a switch in the big power-house at Niagara Falls completed a circuit which caused Niagara river to flow up hill, so to speak, by returning a fraction of its resistless energy, which had already swept past the gates of Buffalo, back into that city 27 miles distant. The harness was buckled that hitches the factory wheels of Buffalo to the greatest cataract on earth, and Monday morning the street cars of this city will move by Falls power. Hereafter the Falls must work enough to earn their living.

The buckling of the harness could have been done as well 12 hours earlier, but owing to the fact that the father of William B. Rankin, of New York, secretary of the Niagara Falls Power Company, is a clergyman, and in deference to his wishes, the Niagara Falls power was not turned into the transmitting system at noon to-day, as had been expected. The connections were made at midnight to-night. The force of experts having the work in charge were busy all of last night and until late this evening testing the various connections and going over the machinery to make sure that everything was in proper order.

The distance covered by the line between Buffalo and the Falls is 27 miles and the expert electricians who have the work in charge estimate that the loss of energy will be less than 10 per cent, and may not much exceed five. Careful tests are to be made in this connection, the tests covering both night and day in clear as well as rainy weather. The electricians are paying particular attention to this test, as on the perfect insulation of the carrying line depends much of the future success of this undertaking.

The line has been built to carry the current bearing wires is of a most substantial nature. Unlike the ordinary telegraph line, the poles are placed very close together, and are braced in such a manner as to be proof against heavy storms. At curves the poles are set double, and are guyed to numerous smaller poles to prevent sagging. The overhead line extends from the powerhouse at the Falls to the city limits of Buffalo, where the wires enter cement conduits.

On the overhead line glass insulators are found unequal to the strain, and porcelain insulators were made specially to hold the wires. These insulators were subjected to a current of 30,000 volts before being put in use. There are at present on the poles eight cables, each with a carrying capacity of 5000 horse-power, or 40,000 horse-power in all. The poles are of such a substantial character, however, that this number of cables can be doubled without subjecting them to a greater strain than is considered safe.

The only contract made so far for the delivery of power in Buffalo by the power company is that with the Buffalo Street Railway Company for 1000 horse-power. Under the contract with the city, the completion of the undertaking of delivering power in Buffalo was not obligatory before next June. It was in order to secure the contract with the Street Railway Company that the work was hurried through so far ahead of time. Contracts with others desiring to use the electrical power will now be made, and it is thought that by the opening of spring the power will be well distributed throughout the city.

Since the inception of the undertaking and during its carrying out the company have frequently called upon Messrs. Edison and Tesla for advice, and these famous masters of electricity have been frequent visitors to the Niagara Falls power-house to solve technical problems. The power will sell in Buffalo for $36 a horsepower per annum, and under its contract with the city the company must increase its capacity 10,000 horse-power per year until the maximum of 50,000 horse-power has been reached.


Keywords:Niagara Falls : Porcelain Insulator
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Glenn Drummond
Date completed:August 17, 2009 by: Glenn Drummond;