Brush Electric Light Company at Rochester, NY

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Review of the Telegraph and Telephone

New York, NY, United States
vol. 1, no. 23, p. 353-354, col. 2-3,1


The Brush Electric Light Company at the Lower

Falls, Rochester, N. Y.


Reference has already been made to the work which is being done at the Lower Falls by the Brush Electric Light Company, but no adequate idea has been given of the extent and nature of that work. On the summit of the cliff just below the falls on the west side of the river, stands a new brick building 43x100, in which are to be placed twenty-one dynamo machines for the purpose of manufacturing electricity. Under this building the company is digging a wheel-pit six feet square, which will have ninety-four feet head, thus furnishing one of the finest water powers in the city. Already seventy-five feet have been dug through solid rock and the work of completing the excavating is being pushed with all possible haste. In the bottom of the pit will be placed two turbine wheels twenty-four inches in diameter and each having over 550 horse-power. They are made of bronze and gun metal so as to endure the terrific speed to which they are to be subjected, namely, five hundred and eighty-two revolutions per minute. They will be arranged so that both or each can be run as the necessity shall require. At the top of the pit, are to be placed two large bevel wheels weighing six tons each. The main pulley will be connected with the machinery in the building with a belt fifty-four inches in width. All the machinery is to be on this extensive scale, and the high rate of speed to which it will be run necessitates that it be of the best quality and placed in position in the most skillful manner. No idea can be formed of the pit except by visiting the place. By invitation of George A. Redman, Superintendent of the Brush Electric Light Co. in this city, two newspaper men visited the works recently and enjoyed, if enjoyment consists of such trips, a ride down through the pit. Taking a winding path just south of the brick building, they soon found themselves standing beside the mouth of the pit. The opening is covered with plank, except a small hole, through which runs an elevator consisting of a square box attached to a heavy rope, the whole being run by water power. Of course the visitors did not question the safety of the arrangements, and deliberately stepped into the car deliberately, for they imagined they were coolly walking into the jaws of death. The machinery was set in motion, but the newspaper men thought the bottom was falling out of the car, and they clutched all the tighter to the rope which held them suspended between the heavens above and the rugged rocks below. About thirty feet down the pit is an opening looking out under the falls. At the bottom of the pit men are busily engaged in excavating, A large steam drill is used which drills one foot into the solid limestone each minute. About one hundred and twenty-five feet are drilled each day. Dynamite cartridges are used, and about twenty are discharged by electricity at the same time. Tons of rock are lifted out, the discharge fairly shaking the earth. At the bottom of the pit a beautiful view of the falls, the river and the eastern cliff overhanging them is obtained. The snow and ice lend a double charm to the scene. To the right, as one faces the river, is a deep cave extending into the cliff fifty feet. "All aboard" prevents further investigation, and all make a rush for the car. A different sensation is experienced in being elevated. One is in mortal tear that one of the corners of the car will catch on the side of the pit, thus overturning it and hurling the occupants to the rock fifty or seventy feet below. As the knights of the quill stepped upon the scaffolding over the top of the pit they breathed easier, and departed homeward only to have visions of the ride down the " bottomless pit" haunt them all the restless night.

The Brush Electric Light Company has been engaged all the past summer and fall in prosecuting this work. Some of the machinery has been received and will soon be put in position by Joseph Cowles. Only about nineteen feet more of the rock remain to he excavated, and when all is completed the company will have in this city the best lighting station in the country.

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Keywords:Brush Electric Light Company
Researcher notes:It is possible that insulators embossed B. E. L. Co. were manufactured for the Brush Electric Light Co.
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:July 2, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;