An ongoing historical investigation into the plot of land at approximately 1032 Chapel Street, New Haven, Connecticut. Planted by Puritans in 1638, it has been home to Roger Sherman, an opera house, and the city's Union League Club — from this ground grow the roots of the United States of America.
“The marvelous electrical development of Los Angeles has reached a climax in the installation of the great turbo-generator at Station No. 3 of the Edison Electric Company, on Avenue 23 and East Main street, and its accompanying equipment.
It is three times the largest steam turbine unit on the Pacific Coast, and so vast in its proportions that the machinery must be first installed and the massive steel and concrete buildings constructed around and over it. A Times photographer was fortunate in securing a picture of the turbine, showing its interior magnesium-coated revolving element before the steel jacket had been put in place, and also of the Sterling super-heating boilers, the only ones of the kind ever built, before the steel-coated brick enclosure had been constructed around them.
The completion of this additional equipment at Station No. 3 makes the possibilities so great that they are hard to grasp.
It means that the Edison company could, if called upon to do so, furnish light and power to all the towns within a radius of thirty miles of Los Angeles, and operate all the electric railways in this entire district at the same time, and yet at present this is merely a reserve plant.
The Kern River and other plants now furnishing power, are more than sufficient for present demands, but when this great innovation plant is completed, should these others for any unforeseen reason fail to perform their allotted duty, the new one would step in and take the place of all of them, without the slightest interruption of light or power.
The turbine and generator were ordered from the Westinghouse Machine Company in November last, and the work of installation has been going on for some weeks.
The turbine itself, which is the heart of the ponderous ‘unit,’ is possessed of marvelous characteristics. Its power is rated at 7500 kilowatts, equivalent to 15,000 horsepower. Its revolving element, shown in the picture, weighs 122,000 pounds; will revolve at the rate of 1050 times a minute, its periphery thus traveling at the rate of over four miles a minute. There are in its interior 180,000 blades and make-up pieces, and it stands fifteen feet high from the level of the floor. The combined weight of the turbine and generator is 602,000 pounds.
If the reader can lead himself to imagine the ponderous core of this piece of machinery, weighing over sixty-one tons, flying through the air at the rate of four miles a minute, he may be able to conceive something of the power it exerts, and yet without some vitalizing force it would be powerless as a toy.
To give this greatest machine of its kind ever constructed its ability to produce its wonted energy, it was necessary to produce yet another innovation as a feeder for its ponderous mechanism.
This feeder consists of seven Sterling consolidated water-tube boilers, constructed at Barberton, O. Each of these boilers will be capable of producing 750 horse power, or combined, 5750 horse power.
Each of these boilers, one of which is shown in the picture, consists of six drums, in combination with an endless system of tubes. They are not only the largest boilers ever constructed in the knowledge of the master-mechanic who is superintending the work, but they are the only ones of the kind ever built. They are the first Sterling super-heaters on the Coast of this type, those already here being different in construction and much smaller. They stand twenty-eight feet high from the floor, and will be encased in fire-brick covered with a jacket of steel.
To make this almost inconceivable quantity of steam and feed it to the great turbine, is the accomplishment of the initial purpose of the machinery, but to use the steam, condense it again into water and return it to the boilers, is the third wonder of its construction.
The turbine stands on it foundation, on a level with the second floor, and beneath it is built the condenser, eleven feet in diameter and containing 6000 brass tubes. The steam passes through the turbine, causing it to revolve with lightning rapidity, and goes into the brass tubes of the condenser. A constant flow of cold water around the tubes condenses the steam into water, which is forced to the cooler outside the building, and again flows to the tanks that supply the boilers. This saving of water is the chief desideratum in the construction of this wonderful plant.
Should it ever happen that it is desired to exhaust the steam into the air, though of course more or less of it is constantly so exhausted, an exhaust-pipe is provided as on any other steam plant. Everybody is familiar with these exhaust-pipes, from two to perhaps six inches in diameter. Here again is a criterion by which to judge the capacity of this steam plant, the exhaust-pipe is thirty-six inches in diameter, and resembles a huge smoke-stack.
In this same station the Edison company has in operation two General Electric Company turbines, of a combined power of 6000 kilowatts, or 13 of 500 horse power, and within a few weeks Station No. 3 of the Edison company at Los Angeles will be one of the greatest electric centers in the known world.
They have two other stations in the city, one in their headquarters building on East Fourth street, and the other on West Second street, with a combined capacity of 8000 horse power. In less than ten years this great industry has grown from a small wooden building, 16×20, at Sixteenth and Hoover streets.” -Excerpt courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, “Mightiest Electric Machines Ever Built Going In Here,” Wednesday, August 29, 1906.(top) Image courtesy of the Southern California Edison Photographs and Negatives, Huntington Digital Library, “Construction of concrete stack; contractor’s photo,” C. Leonardt, undated
E. P. Chase Photographs
Edison Electric (EEC) Photographs
B. F. Pearson Photographs
G. Haven Bishop Photographs
“Buildings. – The Los Angeles No 3 steam and transformer station on Alhambra Avenue in East Los Angeles is constructed of brick and reinforced concrete and measures in plan 203 by 166 feet. The plant was put into commission by the Edison Electric Co of Los Angeles April 27, 1904 and after May 19, 1907 when Kern River No 1 plant began transmission served as the receiving and transformer station for both the Santa Ana 33,000 volt and the Kern River 60,000 volt power. The total steam equipment of the plant amounts to 10,000 kilowatts and the transformer equipment to 26,700 kilowatts…
Mechanical Equipment. – The water supply at the plant is obtained from two wells on the premises and from the city mains. The boiler and make up water is delivered by one 6 by 5 by 6 inch Dow duplex and one 6 by 1 by 6 inch Worthington duplex pump to a treating tank from which it is served to the boilers by two Snow 16 by 10 by 12 inch and two Dean 10 by 6 by 12 inch feed water pumps. The feed water heater installed with the two original units was a Cookson 500 horsepower open heater with the third unit a Cochrane 5,000 horsepower open heater was added. With the two 2,000 kilovolt ampere units eight 500 horsepower Stirling boilers were installed each of which had 5,020 square feet of heating surface these boilers supply steam at 150 pounds pressure. The superheaters originally in use have been removed. With the 6,000-kilovolt-ampere unit seven 751-horsepower Stirlings were added each of which has 7,512 feet of heating and 1,600 feet of superheating surface these supply steam at 170 pounds pressure at 150 superheat. A single stack 150 feet high by 10 feet interior diameter serves both sets of boilers.
Two Wheeler Admiralty condensers each 6,000 square feet in capacity were provided with the first installation and a Worthing ton 24,000 square foot condenser was added with the last unit. The condenser is cooled by means of an open air tower to which a second section was added when the equipment of the plant was increased. This cooling equipment covers approximately 17,290 square feet of ground surface outside the plant and presents approximately 500,000 square feet of cooling surface. The water falls over wooden mats composed of vertical slats. About 17.5 second feet of cooling water is needed for the first units and 33 second feet for the last unit installed. The fall in the first section of the tower is 20 feet and that in the last section added 28 feet. Tests of the last section have shown that under ordinary conditions with the air at 65 F and humidity 60 per cent circulating water that enters the tower at 108 is cooled to 89 and about 141,000,000 British thermal units are dissipated per hour. Oil fuel is used exclusively at the plant.
Electrical equipment. – The station is equipped with two 8 pole 2,000 kilovolt ampere steam turbo generators of the vertical Curtis type installed in 1904 delivering 3 phase 50 cycle alternating current at 2,300 volts potential and operating at 750 revolutions per minute and one Westinghouse Parsons 6,000 kilovolt ampere horizontal turbo generator installed September 29 1906 operating at 750 revolutions per minute and supplying 3 phase 50 cycle alternating current at 16,500 volts. The voltage of this 6,000 kilovolt ampere generator enables it to supply Los Angeles 15,000 volt distribution without the use of transformers. This generator is at present disconnected from the steam end of the unit and is being operated as a synchronous condenser.
The total exciter capacity at Los Angeles No 3 is 175 kilowatts supplied by two 6 pole 50 kilowatt direct current generators type MP delivering 400 amperes at 125 volts operated at 400 revolutions per minute and driven by a General Electric marine type 9 by 15 by 6 inch engine and one 75 kilowatt direct connected motor driven General Electric generator.” -Excerpt courtesy of Google Books, “Hydroelectric Power Systems of California and Their Extensions in Oregon and Nevada,” Frederick Hall Fowler, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1923
Roger Sherman, also of Connecticut, was known to have given one of the shortest speeches in history at a bridge dedication ceremony when he said, "I think it will hold up all right," while testing the strength of the bridge with one foot.
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