Cambridge Electric Light plant opens

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Electrical World

New York, NY, United States
vol. 12, no. 22, p. 292-293, col. 3,1



178 Devonshire Street, Boston, Nov. 26, 1888.

New Electric Light Station at Cambridge.

The Cambridge Electric Light Company's new lighting station. corner Albro street and Western avenue, Cambridge, Mass., was formally opened yesterday afternoon by an inspection of the premises by nearly 180 prominent citizens, including many members of the city government. An excellent dinner was served in the large room on the second floor. President Josiah Q. Bennett, of the company, presided, and Hon. L. M. Hannum officiated as toastmaster. Speeches were made by Hon. Robert O. Fuller, Gen. E. W. Hincks, President Henry M. Whitney, of the West End Street Railway Company, Hon. Chester W. Kingsley, Hon. Henry O. Houghton, Mr. Charles Bullock, Mr. Edgar R. Champlin, General Manager F. H. Raymond of the company, ex-Alderman P. H. Holton, Alderman Frank H. Teele, Mr. W. A. Boland of the Thomson-Houston electric company, and Mr. Warren F. Spalding, editor of the Cambridge Daily. Music was furnished by a male quartet, composed of Messrs. F. L. Pratt, George Munroe, B. O. Danforth and H. S. Andros. Among the electrical guests present were: E. I. Garfield, H. C. Patterson, H. M. Batcheler, W. F. Pope, J. S. Felton, Charles Davis, and W. B. Hosmer. THE ELECTRICAL WORLD representative was also present. Previous to the dinner the guests were escorted about the station by the superintendent Mr. W. R. Eaton. The building is 147 feet long and 60 feet wide. Over the dynamo room the building has a second story which is used for sleeping rooms for the superintendent and those of the employes who remain all night at the station; the offices of the treasurer and superintendent, and toilet, storage and work rooms. Every precaution was taken with this feature of construction. The materials and equipments of the building are most superior and chosen with a view to durability. The furnishings of the offices are costly and beautiful. In fact, everything has been done to make it one of the finest electric lighting stations in the country and to answer all the requirements of the city for years to come. In the rear, bordering on the Charles River, is a large wharf for the landing of coal and materials. The boiler-room of the station is one of the largest and most neatly fitted up departments of the kind in the country. At present only four boilers of an aggregate of 500 h. p. are in position. Sufficient room is left for double this number. The boilers were manufactured by Edward Kendall & Sons, Cambridgeport, Mass., and are set with the Jarvis patent furnace and Sheffield grate bar tor burning cheap fuel. The Jarvis Engineering Company equipped the entire steam plant; and this company deserves the highest encomiums for its painstaking and careful work in this installation, which includes a 1,000 h. p. condenser of the Worthington type; one National feed water heater of 500 h. p.; one Davidson feed pump; one Worthington Duplex pump; and a small supplementary heater for heating the water after leaving the large feed-water heater. Just at the rear of the boiler room is a large wharf and occupying the greater part of it is a coal-shed capable of containing 10,000 tons of coal. In the dynamo and engine department are the following machines and apparatus: a large "Buckeye" double engine of 250 h. p.; one N.Y. Safety Steam Power engine of 80 h. p.; two Armington & Sims of 60 and 90 horse-power, respectively; a long line of shafting fitted up with Hill clutches; two 45 arc machines tor commercial lighting to midnight; one 45 arc machine for commercial lighting all night, most of which are in use at Squire's pork packing establishment; two 50 arc lighters for street lighting (all night); one 1,000 light alternating dynamo for commercial and street lighting; one generator for electric motor purposes; and one spare 45 arc-light machine. In addition to the above is another Armington & Sims engine belted on to a 500-light alternating machine to be almost exclusively used for illuminating the Riverside Press building, owned by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the world-renowned publishers.

The magnificent piece of workmanship shown in the immense line of substantial shafting and clutches by which a load at a moment's notice may be thrown on or off the large Buckeye engines is the handiwork of Mr. Geo. S. Davis, of Nashua, N. H. The arrangements of the engines and dynamos are such as to admit of putting in double the number of each at any time. The foundations are substantial, being from 10 to 12 feet deep, and constructed of the best rock, brick and cement. The lofty smoke stack is fully 150 feet high, is octagonal in shape and built of the finest pressed brick and other material. In preparing the plans and during the erection of the building Mr. H. C. Patterson took special pride in seeing that this smoke stack would be one of the finest of the kind in the New England States. His efforts have been successful.

Under the flagged floor of the engine room is an enormous cistern, with a holding capacity of one million gallons. Through the centre of this cistern is a wall made of soft brick through which the water filters.

Among the other apparatus forming a part of the station's equipment are the following: Two 6-circuit feeder boards, 12 circuit switch-boards for arc lighting, and the alternating switch-board, which contains 2 potential indicators, 4 current indicators, 2 double-pole transformers and a number of minor switches. An enormous quantity of "Clark" wire is used in and about this station, and lighting arresters are attached at all necessary points along these wires.

The station has a private fire-alarm box, the latest pattern of the Gamewell Company, by which, if necessary, an alarm can be rung in at the fire department. The fire protective arrangements of the station are perfect. Lines of hose are rolled up and conveniently within reach in dynamo room and on the upper floor respectively. These are connected with the pumps in the boiler room, and the latter direct with the city supply of water.

Mr. H. C. Patterson, the electrical and mechanical engineer of the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, is the gentleman who planned and superintended the erection of this model station. It is to him that the Cambridge Electric Light Company are indebted for the largest and most completely equipped station in New England.

W. I. B.


Keywords:Cambridge Electric Light Company
Researcher notes:It is possible that insulators embossed C.E.L. Co. could have been made for the Cambridge Electric Light Company.
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:July 18, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;