Hydro wires on the beach - poles and towers

David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
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#1
HYDRO LINES ON THE BEACH - POLES AND TOWERS.

I've found a page that seems to indicate that originally the hydro wires that brought electricity from Decew Falls to Hamilton, were mounted on poles rather than towers. I'm still trying to find out when the towers were built.

Hamilton within the last five years has solved a problem which has been of great interest and assistance to manufacturers, viz., the transmission of electricity for a great distance and at a high voltage for power purposes. When the question of utilizing the waters of DeCew Falls, coming over the Niagara escarpment at a point about 35 miles southeast of Hamilton was first mooted, it was considered to a great extent commercial. However, this has now passed the experimental stage and evolved from a dream into a reality. About that time local capitalists interested themselves in the formation of a company for the generation of electrical energy to be transmitted to the City of Hamilton. Many prejudices had to be overcome and many seemingly insurmountable objects had to be brushed aside, and when it is taken into consideration that at that time neither in Europe or American had electricity been transmitted higher than 10,000 volts, this company found that it was absolutely necessary for the pressure to be at least 20,000 volts or over, so that the cost of conducting the same would be within the financial set, to allow the Cataract Power Company to undertake the development of the enterprise, some of the difficulties can be imagined. After many experiments the work has been successful, and Hamilton is illuminated, the majority of her factories and her entire electrical railway system, both street and radial, amounting to about sixty-five miles of road, are operated by this silent but potent power, which has placed Hamilton in the position of being the electrical city of Canada.
The plant consists of six principal sections :
1. The hydraulic work beginning at the Welland Canal in Allanburg and terminating in the turbines in the generating station.
2. The generating system, consisting of the electrical generators mentioned in section No. 1, with the step up transformers and their accessories in the power house at DeCew Falls.
3. The transmission system, comprising two lines of poles running from the power house to the several sub-stations in the City of Hamilton and on the way thereto.
4. The sub-stations and their equipment in the City of Hamilton.
5. The distributing system in the City of Hamilton.
6. The traction department.

http://canada.yodelout.com/hamilton-ontario-electric-power/
 
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David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
458
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#2
This thread indicates that when hydro electricity began being transmitted from Decew Falls (1898) the radial power house was converted to a transformer station.

scotto
12-07-2009, 11:46 PM
The answer to the chimney question has been found in Dorothy Turcotte's book, the Sand Strip. Thanks to Member Drogo

The other major landmark north of the Canal was the old brick power house. Starting in 1893, the Hamilton Radial Electric Company began work on a line across the Beach. A 300-horsepower steam power house was built at the north end of the Beach to provide energy. This coal-fired power house had a large brick chimney from which a daring photographer, possibly C. S. Cochran, took a much-reproduced photograph of the Beach looking south and a less familiar one looking north.
Radial service to the Canal began in July 1896. By September, it had been extended to the power house at Station 30. Eventually, the line went all the way to Oakville. The railway was responsible for providing gravel crossings for the cottagers, and also for watering the right-of-way to keep the dust down.
Later, power was brought from DeCew Falls, and the power house served as a transformer station. Probably the
chimney was removed from the building when this change occurred. When the radial electric railway ceased to run in 1929, the building was used as a Hydro storage depot. It was demolished in the 1950's when there was a great deal of change and construction on this part of the Beach."

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1111.html

and this page indicates that origenally the transmission of electricity from Decew Falls required two sets of wires.

Almost as fascinating as the plant itself is the original use of the power it produced. A portion of the electricity produced was consumed in the city of St. Catharines only three miles away - it was transmitted that distance at the generation voltage of 2400 volts. The majority, though, was transmitted to Hamilton at 22,500 volts (later upgraded to 45,000 volts) via two three-phase transmission lines (one running below the escarpment and the other on top of the escarpment). The lines passed through two small sub-stations at Grimsby and Beamsville on route to two substations in Hamilton. The small substation in Beamsville housed two small transformers supplying lighting in that town. The terminus of the two transmission lines was the main substation was located at Victoria Avenue North about 1.25 miles from city hall. It was also on the Grand Trunk Railway line such that it could receive coal shipments directly from railcars for backup generators.

http://www.technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/Decew.html#

so then the question is, were there origenally two hydro wires running along the beach to the radial power house, each on separate poles.



________________________________________
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#3
This thread indicates that when hydro electricity began being transmitted from Decew Falls (1898) the radial power house was converted to a transformer station.



so then the question is, were there origenally two hydro wires running along the beach to the radial power house, each on separate poles.



________________________________________
Dorothy Turcotte wrote that the chimney to the power house was removed once power was brought in, so to add to the confusion, I have attached a picture (which I know you cannot see) showing the power house located on the Burlington side of the Beach in the middle section of Brant's Pond. There is only one set of hydro towers on the lake side and I don't see any connection to the power house, there could be utility poles running along harbor side, but this is an aerial picture and I cannot see any if they are there.
The picture isn't dated, but obviously there is hydro power transmitting along the Beach and the airport near the Beach didn't open until 1920 (Gary Evan's date), so some dates or history is not correct. The rush for air transportation didn't really make big strides until World War 1.

I can speculate that since hydro electric power was new, there wouldn't be any sense spending large amounts of money for new towers on a invention that wasn't truly proven yet when wooden poles would be much cheaper.




More info on DeCew Falls;
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/threads/tracks-and-powerline.1004/
 
Last edited:

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
458
2
16
#4
David O'Reilly
11-06-2017, 02:42 PM
This thread indicates that when hydro electricity began being transmitted from Decew Falls (1898) the radial power house was converted to a transformer station.

scotto
12-07-2009, 11:46 PM
The answer to the chimney question has been found in Dorothy Turcotte's book, the Sand Strip. Thanks to Member Drogo

The other major landmark north of the Canal was the old brick power house. Starting in 1893, the Hamilton Radial Electric Company began work on a line across the Beach. A 300-horsepower steam power house was built at the north end of the Beach to provide energy. This coal-fired power house had a large brick chimney from which a daring photographer, possibly C. S. Cochran, took a much-reproduced photograph of the Beach looking south and a less familiar one looking north.
Radial service to the Canal began in July 1896. By September, it had been extended to the power house at Station 30. Eventually, the line went all the way to Oakville. The railway was responsible for providing gravel crossings for the cottagers, and also for watering the right-of-way to keep the dust down.
Later, power was brought from DeCew Falls, and the power house served as a transformer station. Probably the
chimney was removed from the building when this change occurred. When the radial electric railway ceased to run in 1929, the building was used as a Hydro storage depot. It was demolished in the 1950's when there was a great deal of change and construction on this part of the Beach.

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1111.html

Reading a page more closely that I included the link for in my earlyer post, it seems that the radial's power house, wasn't used as a transformer station, but as a back up generator.

In the substation, high voltage from the transmission lines was first reduced to 2,400 volt two-phase current. A portion of that power was then fed to two 8000 volt, 7 amp constant-current transformers used to operate 450 arc lamps in series on city streets. Another portion operated a motor-generator in which a 2400 volt two-phase motor was directly coupled to a 200kW 500 volt DC generator to operate DC loads such as elevators in the city (the generator was center-tapped so it produced 250 volt output - a standard DC voltage at the time). Finally, DC current at 600 volts (900kW in total) was also produced to operate street cars using three rotary-converters - this, originally, being the major electrical load for power from DeCew falls. The 600 volt DC source was also connected to a bank of lead-acid (called "chloride" at the time) batteries of 400 Ah capacity used as a backup for the street cars.
In addition to transformers and converters, the Victoria Ave substation contained two steam-driven generators used as backup in the event of failure of the Decew plant or the transmission system (hence the reference to the availability of coal by rail). Each backup generator was rated at 1000 kW
A second substation in Hamilton (called "substation B" and located at Irondale near Burlington Bay) contained only transformers (originally 6,000kW capacity then later 12,000kW) and switchgear to distribute power. It was fed from high-voltage lines at 22,500 or 45,000 volts. Power from this substation was also used by industries such as the International Harvester plant and other factories.
Aside from the two substations in Hamilton, two other steam-power stations in Hamilton, one on Guise street on Burlington Bay and the other at Hamilton Beach, supplied power for the street railway. The Guise street station was operating since 1892 on steam power but by the time the Decew falls plant was fully running in the early 1900's both stations were not operating and held only in reserve should a problem develop with the water-power system which regularly supplied power for the system.

http://www.technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/Decew.html#

so this could mean that at this time, any new wires that were strung up on the beach, didn't come from Decew Falls. But rather, ran from the power house itself, and were connected with the system in Hamilton.




HYDRO LINES ON THE BEACH POLES AND TOWERS.

I've found a page that seems to indicate that originally the hydro wires that brought electricity from Decew Falls to Hamilton, were mounted on poles rather than towers. I'm still trying to find out when the towers were built.

Hamilton within the last five years has solved a problem which has been of great interest and assistance to manufacturers, viz., the transmission of electricity for a great distance and at a high voltage for power purposes. When the question of utilizing the waters of DeCew Falls, coming over the Niagara escarpment at a point about 35 miles southeast of Hamilton was first mooted, it was considered to a great extent commercial. However, this has now passed the experimental stage and evolved from a dream into a reality. About that time local capitalists interested themselves in the formation of a company for the generation of electrical energy to be transmitted to the City of Hamilton. Many prejudices had to be overcome and many seemingly insurmountable objects had to be brushed aside, and when it is taken into consideration that at that time neither in Europe or American had electricity been transmitted higher than 10,000 volts, this company found that it was absolutely necessary for the pressure tc be at least 20,000 volts or over, so that the cost of conducting the same would be within the financial set, to allow the Cataract Power Company to undertake the development of the enterprise, some of the difficulties can be imagined. After many experiments the work has been successful, and Hamilton is illuminated, the majority of her factories and her entire electrical railway system, both street and radial, amounting to about sixty-five miles of road, are operated by this silent but potent power, which has placed Hamilton in the position of being the electrical city of Canada.
The plant consists of six principal sections :
1. The hydraulic work beginning at the Welland Canal in Allanburg and terminating in the turbines in the generating station.
2. The generating system, consisting of the electrical generators mentioned in section No. 1, with the step up transformers and their accessories in the power house at DeCew Falls.
3. The transmission system, comprising two lines of poles running from the power house to the several sub-stations in the City of Hamilton and on the way thereto.
4. The sub-stations and their equipment in the City of Hamilton.
5. The distributing system in the City of Hamilton.
6. The traction department.

http://canada.yodelout.com/hamilton-ontario-electric-power/
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#5
David O'Reilly
11-06-2017, 02:42 PM
http://www.technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/Decew.html#

so this could mean that at this time, any new wires that were strung up on the beach, didn’t come from Decew Falls. But rather, ran from the power house itself, and were connected with the system in Hamilton.
Once again, the towers on the lake side go past the Beach power station in the picture and now that I take a closer look, there doesn't seem to be any wires on the towers as it look like they are under construction still. The towers on the Hamilton side haven't been built yet.
Why would they build towers on the lake side when the powerhouse is on the harbor side?
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
458
2
16
#6
scotto
11-07-2017, 11:03 PM
Once again, the towers on the lake side go past the Beach power station in the picture and now that I take a closer look, there doesn't seem to be any wires on the towers as it look like they are under construction still. The towers on the Hamilton side haven't been built yet.
Why would they build towers on the lake side when the powerhouse is on the harbor side?
________________________________________


I think what we need is to establish a time line.

DeCew Falls No. 1 Plant
The first plant at DeCew Falls , two miles from St. Catharines, was built by the Cataract Power Company to supply power to Hamilton, a distance of 35 miles. It draws water from Lake Erie through the Welland Canal, with a storage reservoir in Lake Gibson. Seven steel penstocks are supported on the hillside by concrete piers. The direct-connected, turbo-generator units are mounted horizontally on a gravel foundation. The tail-water is carried downstream in Twelve Mile Creek to Lake Ontario at Port Dalhousie. The head is 260 feet. This plant began operation with two 1,500-hp units on 26 August 1898; two 3,000-hp units were added in 1900; the plant was completed in 1912 with a total output of 44,600 KVA at 66 2/3 cycles. It supplied power to Hamilton several years before (Niagara power) reached Toronto. In 1930 it was bought by Ontario Hydro and converted to 60 cycles. This is the oldest Niagara plant still operating.

At the time long-distance transmission of electric power was still being developed. Lord Kelvin, an English authority on electricity, stated that electric power could not be transmitted further than 12 miles economically. With the development of new types of equipment however, in 1898 electric power was successfully delivered almost three times that distance at a voltage of 22,500 volts (more than double any previously used voltage). Following the establishment of this local source of electric power, many of the radial railways switched from steam to electricity.

http://ethw.org/Milestones:Decew_Falls_Hydro-Electric_Plant,_1898

so the question now is, what is meant by Niagara power was this a second power company that also transmitted hydro electricity? In this case to Toronto? If it was, the letter p in the word power should have been an upper case. I am assuming that it was a power company. and it was this company that built the towers on the lake side of the beach. Unfortunately no start date is given.

So we now have the beginning of a time line as follows.

1898 the Cataract Power Company begins transmitting hydro electricity to Hamilton
189? Niagara Power begins transmition of hydro electricity to Toronto builds towers on the lake side of the beach

Aside from the two substations in Hamilton, two other steam-power stations in Hamilton, one on Guise street on Burlington Bay and the other at Hamilton Beach, supplied power for the street railway. The Guise street station was operating since 1892 on steam power but by the time the Decew falls plant was fully running in the early 1900's both stations were not operating and held only in reserve should a problem develop with the water-power system which regularly supplied power for the system.

http://www.technology.niagarac.on.ca/people/mcsele/Decew.html#

so this seems to indicate that the wires that carried hydro electricity from Decew Falls to Hamilton, didn't go to the Hamilton Radial Railroad's power house on the beach. But instead, wires carrying steam generated electricity, ran from the power house, to the grid in Hamilton.

1929 the Hamilton Radial Electric Railroad ceased operations.
http://www.trainweb.org/hamtransithist/HRER.html

1930 the Cataract Power Company was purchased by Ontario Hydro


scotto
11-06-2017, 04:54 PM
________________________________________

Dorothy Turcotte wrote that the chimney to the power house was removed once power was brought in, so to add to the confusion, I have attached a picture (which I know you cannot see) showing the power house located on the Burlington side of the Beach in the middle section of Brant's Pond. There is only one set of hydro towers on the lake side and I don't see any connection to the power house, there could be utility poles running along harbor side, but this is an aerial picture and I cannot see any if they are there.
The picture isn't dated, but obviously there is hydro power transmitting along the Beach and the airport near the Beach didn't open until 1920 (Gary Evan's date), so some dates or history is not correct. The rush for air transportation didn't really make big strides until World War 1.

I can speculate that since hydro electric power was new, there wouldn't be any sense spending large amounts of money for new towers on a invention that wasn't truly proven yet when wooden poles would be much cheaper.
http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Beach Pics/Old Beach Pics/BrantAir_zpsd4800bac.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/scotto2010/media/Beach Pics/Old Beach Pics/BrantAir_zpsd4800bac.jpg.html)
________________________________________


And so now the question is, what does Dorothy Turcotte mean by when power was brought in does it mean in 1898 when the Cataract Power Company began transmitting hydro electricity to Hamilton from Decew Falls, which the radial railroad immediately used? Or does it mean when the hydro towers were built on the harbour side of the beach? And then the question is, was it Ontario Hydro that built those towers when it purchased the Cataract Power Company in 1930?

But no matter when those towers were built, the wires that they carried wouldn't have been connected to the HRER's power house since they carried a very high voltage, and it doesn't seem that the power house was ever converted to a step down transformer. So maybe Ontario Hydro built the line right in to Burlington, and on to Toronto

And Scott, , hydro electricity, wasn't a new thing in 1898, it had probably been around for a hundred years. What was new, was the technology to transmit electricity efficiently over a long distance.
HYDRO LINES ON THE BEACH - POLES AND TOWERS.

I've found a page that seems to indicate that originally the hydro wires that brought electricity from Decew Falls to Hamilton, were mounted on poles rather than towers. I'm still trying to find out when the towers were built.

Hamilton within the last five years has solved a problem which has been of great interest and assistance to manufacturers, viz., the transmission of electricity for a great distance and at a high voltage for power purposes. When the question of utilizing the waters of DeCew Falls, coming over the Niagara escarpment at a point about 35 miles southeast of Hamilton was first mooted, it was considered to a great extent commercial. However, this has now passed the experimental stage and evolved from a dream into a reality. About that time local capitalists interested themselves in the formation of a company for the generation of electrical energy to be transmitted to the City of Hamilton. Many prejudices had to be overcome and many seemingly insurmountable objects had to be brushed aside, and when it is taken into consideration that at that time neither in Europe or American had electricity been transmitted higher than 10,000 volts, this company found that it was absolutely necessary for the pressure tc be at least 20,000 volts or over, so that the cost of conducting the same would be within the financial set, to allow the Cataract Power Company to undertake the development of the enterprise, some of the difficulties can be imagined. After many experiments the work has been successful, and Hamilton is illuminated, the majority of her factories and her entire electrical railway system, both street and radial, amounting to about sixty-five miles of road, are operated by this silent but potent power, which has placed Hamilton in the position of being the electrical city of Canada.
The plant consists of six principal sections :
1. The hydraulic work beginning at the Welland Canal in Allanburg and terminating in the turbines in the generating station.
2. The generating system, consisting of the electrical generators mentioned in section No. 1, with the step up transformers and their accessories in the power house at DeCew Falls.
3. The transmission system, comprising two lines of poles running from the power house to the several sub-stations in the City of Hamilton and on the way thereto.
4. The sub-stations and their equipment in the City of Hamilton.
5. The distributing system in the City of Hamilton.
6. The traction department.

http://canada.yodelout.com/hamilton-ontario-electric-power/
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,431
45
48
The Beach Strip
#7
I think what we need is to establish a time line.



Dorothy Turcotte wrote that the chimney to the power house was removed once power was brought in, so to add to the confusion, I have attached a picture (which I know you cannot see) showing the power house located on the Burlington side of the Beach in the middle section of Brant's Pond. There is only one set of hydro towers on the lake side and I don't see any connection to the power house, there could be utility poles running along harbor side, but this is an aerial picture and I cannot see any if they are there.
The picture isn't dated, but obviously there is hydro power transmitting along the Beach and the airport near the Beach didn't open until 1920 (Gary Evan's date), so some dates or history is not correct. The rush for air transportation didn't really make big strides until World War 1.

I can speculate that since hydro electric power was new, there wouldn't be any sense spending large amounts of money for new towers on a invention that wasn't truly proven yet when wooden poles would be much cheaper.

________________________________________


And so now the question is, what does Dorothy Turcotte mean by “when power was brought in”? does it mean in 1898 when the Cataract Power Company began transmitting hydro electricity to Hamilton from Decew Falls, which the radial railroad immediately used? Or does it mean when the hydro towers were built on the harbour side of the beach? And then the question is, was it Ontario Hydro that built those towers when it purchased the Cataract Power Company in 1930?

But no matter when those towers were built, the wires that they carried wouldn’t have been connected to the HRER’s power house since they carried a very high voltage, and it doesn’t seem that the power house was ever converted to a step down transformer. So maybe Ontario Hydro built the line right in to Burlington, and on to Toronto

And Scott, , hydro electricity, wasn’t a new thing in 1898, it had probably been around for a hundred years. What was new, was the technology to transmit electricity efficiently over a long distence.
From another site;
"Hydroelectric power was also important during the industrial revolution at the beginning of the 1800’s and provided mechanical power for textile and machine industries.

Probably the most important year in hydropower history was in 1831 when the first electric generator was invented by Michael Faraday. This layed the foundation for us to learn how to generate electricity with hydropower almost half a century later, in 1878.

The first hydroelectric power plant, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, began to generate electricity already in 1882. The power output was at about 12.5 kW. 7 years later, in 1889, the total number of hydroelectric power plant solely in the US had reached 200."

It was new to Hamilton and we benefited from it greatly.
Early pictures of the radial bridge show no towers in sight, a photographer's picture taken from the chimney of the powerhouse is dated 1898 in Dorothy Turcotte's book, the picture or rather pictures, as it was taken in both directions and shows both sides of the Burlington Beach has no towers as well. But there are three sets of utility poles, the set closes to the lake is in front of the cottages and most likely service the cottage residents, they keep going into Burlington. Next is the main railway tracks, going further west is another set of utility poles that also keep going into Burlington, past the chimney going north, there isn't anymore homes to service, but there are two sets of poles.
Further to the west or to the harbour side, there is what looks like an incomplete set of tracks (Radial Line?) and then another set of pole that seem to be inline with the photographer's camera who is perched on the chimney, this line does not keep going and is not shown in the Burlington side photo, I would say that it ends at the powerhouse. So I would assume that this line was to power the Radial Railway.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
458
2
16
#8
scotto
11-09-2017, 06:32 PM

From another site;
"Hydroelectric power was also important during the industrial revolution at the beginning of the 1800s and provided mechanical power for textile and machine industries.

Probably the most important year in hydropower history was in 1831 when the first electric generator was invented by Michael Faraday. This layed the foundation for us to learn how to generate electricity with hydropower almost half a century later, in 1878.

The first hydroelectric power plant, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, began to generate electricity already in 1882. The power output was at about 12.5 kW. 7 years later, in 1889, the total number of hydroelectric power plant solely in the US had reached 200."

It was new to Hamilton and we benefited from it greatly.
Early pictures of the radial bridge show no towers in sight, a photographer's picture taken from the chimney of the powerhouse is dated 1898 in Dorothy Turcotte's book, the picture or rather pictures, as it was taken in both directions and shows both sides of the Burlington Beach has no towers as well. But there are three sets of utility poles, the set closes to the lake is in front of the cottages and most likely service the cottage residents, they keep going into Burlington. Next is the main railway tracks, going further west is another set of utility poles that also keep going into Burlington, past the chimney going north, there isn't anymore homes to service, but there are two sets of poles.
Further to the west or to the harbour side, there is what looks like an incomplete set of tracks (Radial Line?) and then another set of pole that seem to be inline with the photographer's camera who is perched on the chimney, this line does not keep going and is not shown in the Burlington side photo, I would say that it ends at the powerhouse. So I would assume that this line was to power the Radial Railway.

Here is some information on the development of A.C. electricity in the 1880s which facilitated the efficient transmition of power over long distences and was used at Decew Falls

The AC power systems was developed and adopted rapidly after 1886 due to its ability to distribute electricity efficiently over long distances, overcoming the limitations of the direct current system. In 1886, the ZBD engineers designed the world's first power station that used AC generators to power a parallel-connected common electrical network, the steam-powered Rome-Cerchi power plant.[23] The reliability of the AC technology received impetus after the Ganz Works electrified a large European metropolis: Rome in 1886.[23]

Westinghouse Early AC System 1887
(US patent 373035)
In the UK, Sebastian de Ferranti, who had been developing AC generators and transformers in London since 1882, redesigned the AC system at the Grosvenor Gallery power station in 1886 for the London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) including alternators of his own design and transformer designs similar to Gaulard and Gibbs.[24] In 1890 he designed their power station at Deptford[25] and converted the Grosvenor Gallery station across the Thames into an electrical substation, showing the way to integrate older plants into a universal AC supply system.[26]
In the US William Stanley, Jr. designed one of the first practical devices to transfer AC power efficiently between isolated circuits. Using pairs of coils wound on a common iron core, his design, called an induction coil, was an early (1885) transformer. Stanley also worked on engineering and adapting European designs such as the Gaulard and Gibbs transformer for US entrepreneur George Westinghouse who started building AC systems in 1886. The spread of Westinghouse and other AC systems triggered a push back in late 1887 by Edison (a proponent of direct current) who attempted to discredit alternating current as too dangerous in a public campaign called the "War of Currents". In 1888 alternating current systems gained further viability with introduction of a functional AC motor, something these systems had lacked up till then. The design, an induction motor, was independently invented by Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla (with Tesla's design being licensed by Westinghouse in the US). This design was further developed into the modern practical three-phase form by Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown.[27]
The Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant (spring of 1891) and the original Niagara Falls Adams Power Plant (August 25, 1895) were among the first hydroelectric alternating current power plants. The first long distance transmission of single-phase electricity was from a hydroelectric generating plant in Oregon at Willamette Falls which in 1890 sent power fourteen miles downriver to downtown Portland for street lighting.[28]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternating_current




________________________________________


HYDRO LINES ON THE BEACH - POLES AND TOWERS.

I've found a page that seems to indicate that originally the hydro wires that brought electricity from Decew Falls to Hamilton, were mounted on poles rather than towers. I'm still trying to find out when the towers were built.

Hamilton within the last five years has solved a problem which has been of great interest and assistance to manufacturers, viz., the transmission of electricity for a great distance and at a high voltage for power purposes. When the question of utilizing the waters of DeCew Falls, coming over the Niagara escarpment at a point about 35 miles southeast of Hamilton was first mooted, it was considered to a great extent commercial. However, this has now passed the experimental stage and evolved from a dream into a reality. About that time local capitalists interested themselves in the formation of a company for the generation of electrical energy to be transmitted to the City of Hamilton. Many prejudices had to be overcome and many seemingly insurmountable objects had to be brushed aside, and when it is taken into consideration that at that time neither in Europe or American had electricity been transmitted higher than 10,000 volts, this company found that it was absolutely necessary for the pressure tc be at least 20,000 volts or over, so that the cost of conducting the same would be within the financial set, to allow the Cataract Power Company to undertake the development of the enterprise, some of the difficulties can be imagined. After many experiments the work has been successful, and Hamilton is illuminated, the majority of her factories and her entire electrical railway system, both street and radial, amounting to about sixty-five miles of road, are operated by this silent but potent power, which has placed Hamilton in the position of being the electrical city of Canada.
The plant consists of six principal sections :
1. The hydraulic work beginning at the Welland Canal in Allanburg and terminating in the turbines in the generating station.
2. The generating system, consisting of the electrical generators mentioned in section No. 1, with the step up transformers and their accessories in the power house at DeCew Falls.
3. The transmission system, comprising two lines of poles running from the power house to the several sub-stations in the City of Hamilton and on the way thereto.
4. The sub-stations and their equipment in the City of Hamilton.
5. The distributing system in the City of Hamilton.
6. The traction department.

http://canada.yodelout.com/hamilton-ontario-electric-power/
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
458
2
16
#9
scotto
11-09-2017, 06:32 PM

From another site;
"Hydroelectric power was also important during the industrial revolution at the beginning of the 1800s and provided mechanical power for textile and machine industries.

Probably the most important year in hydropower history was in 1831 when the first electric generator was invented by Michael Faraday. This layed the foundation for us to learn how to generate electricity with hydropower almost half a century later, in 1878.

The first hydroelectric power plant, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, began to generate electricity already in 1882. The power output was at about 12.5 kW. 7 years later, in 1889, the total number of hydroelectric power plant solely in the US had reached 200."

It was new to Hamilton and we benefited from it greatly.
Early pictures of the radial bridge show no towers in sight, a photographer's picture taken from the chimney of the powerhouse is dated 1898 in Dorothy Turcotte's book, the picture or rather pictures, as it was taken in both directions and shows both sides of the Burlington Beach has no towers as well. But there are three sets of utility poles, the set closes to the lake is in front of the cottages and most likely service the cottage residents, they keep going into Burlington. Next is the main railway tracks, going further west is another set of utility poles that also keep going into Burlington, past the chimney going north, there isn't anymore homes to service, but there are two sets of poles.
Further to the west or to the harbour side, there is what looks like an incomplete set of tracks (Radial Line?) and then another set of pole that seem to be inline with the photographer's camera who is perched on the chimney, this line does not keep going and is not shown in the Burlington side photo, I would say that it ends at the powerhouse. So I would assume that this line was to power the Radial Railway.

Here is some information on the development of A.C. electricity in the 1880s which facilitated the efficient transmition of power over long distences and was used at Decew Falls

The AC power systems was developed and adopted rapidly after 1886 due to its ability to distribute electricity efficiently over long distances, overcoming the limitations of the direct current system. In 1886, the ZBD engineers designed the world's first power station that used AC generators to power a parallel-connected common electrical network, the steam-powered Rome-Cerchi power plant.[23] The reliability of the AC technology received impetus after the Ganz Works electrified a large European metropolis: Rome in 1886.[23]

Westinghouse Early AC System 1887
(US patent 373035)
In the UK, Sebastian de Ferranti, who had been developing AC generators and transformers in London since 1882, redesigned the AC system at the Grosvenor Gallery power station in 1886 for the London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) including alternators of his own design and transformer designs similar to Gaulard and Gibbs.[24] In 1890 he designed their power station at Deptford[25] and converted the Grosvenor Gallery station across the Thames into an electrical substation, showing the way to integrate older plants into a universal AC supply system.[26]
In the US William Stanley, Jr. designed one of the first practical devices to transfer AC power efficiently between isolated circuits. Using pairs of coils wound on a common iron core, his design, called an induction coil, was an early (1885) transformer. Stanley also worked on engineering and adapting European designs such as the Gaulard and Gibbs transformer for US entrepreneur George Westinghouse who started building AC systems in 1886. The spread of Westinghouse and other AC systems triggered a push back in late 1887 by Edison (a proponent of direct current) who attempted to discredit alternating current as too dangerous in a public campaign called the "War of Currents". In 1888 alternating current systems gained further viability with introduction of a functional AC motor, something these systems had lacked up till then. The design, an induction motor, was independently invented by Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla (with Tesla's design being licensed by Westinghouse in the US). This design was further developed into the modern practical three-phase form by Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky and Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown.[27]
The Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant (spring of 1891) and the original Niagara Falls Adams Power Plant (August 25, 1895) were among the first hydroelectric alternating current power plants. The first long distance transmission of single-phase electricity was from a hydroelectric generating plant in Oregon at Willamette Falls which in 1890 sent power fourteen miles downriver to downtown Portland for street lighting.[28]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternating_current




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Dorothy Turcotte wrote that the chimney to the power house was removed once power was brought in, so to add to the confusion, I have attached a picture (which I know you cannot see) showing the power house located on the Burlington side of the Beach in the middle section of Brant's Pond. There is only one set of hydro towers on the lake side and I don't see any connection to the power house, there could be utility poles running along harbor side, but this is an aerial picture and I cannot see any if they are there.
The picture isn't dated, but obviously there is hydro power transmitting along the Beach and the airport near the Beach didn't open until 1920 (Gary Evan's date), so some dates or history is not correct. The rush for air transportation didn't really make big strides until World War 1.

I can speculate that since hydro electric power was new, there wouldn't be any sense spending large amounts of money for new towers on a invention that wasn't truly proven yet when wooden poles would be much cheaper.
 

scotto

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Feb 15, 2004
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#10
There could be some explanation on the lack of information on the early radial bridge construction at the Hamilton Transit site;

"Nothing was written about the HRER's rebirth during the first months of 1896, an indication that the company had sunk so low in its fortunes that none of the Hamilton area newspapers considered it worth following. At the start of March 1896 the HRER began making applications to townships and towns to build the first section of the previously discussed Toronto to Hamilton line. For reasons unknown, the original plan of using Cannon St as the entry into the city had fallen out of favour. Instead, the HRER planned to run from James & Gore via Gore, Wilson, and Sherman to the city limits, then eastwards along the baseline road allowance (today's Burlington St) and the Grand Trunk Railway's main line before curving northwards on a long low trestle across Windemere basin. Then travelling along the road along the beach, crossing the canal via the Federal Government's then still under construction canal swing bridge, and then on to Burlington."

http://www.trainweb.org/hamtransithist/HRER.html
Also some info on the Powerhouse
The HRER powerhouse was built at the northern end of the beach strip, half a mile from the Brant hotel. Measuring 103 x 53 ft, the brick building had a 120 ft smokestack, with two 250 hp engines. Construction of the building began in early May. Goldie & McCullough in Galt was in charge of the construction of the boilers and the steam engines, and the generators were built by General Electric in Peterborough. The boilers arrived on June 6, and the steam engines to run the generators arrived in mid June. The electrical equipment was functional by mid August, and testing was completed a week later.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
#11
Some more info sent in by member David;

The company's step-down station is located at Victoria avenue, immediately beside the Grand Trunk Railway's right of way, about one mile within the city limits. It is a neat structure, built of brick with slate roof, and specially designed for this purpose. At this point the voltage is reduced to 2,000 volts, at which pressure the current is distributed through the city in four separate circuits.

The line wires are carried through the brick walls of the building in the same manner as at the power house. There is the same arrangement of lightning arresters, high voltage lines and two batteries of transformers. The transformers, however, are arranged so as to be artificially cooled at times of heavy load by means of an air blast. The transformers rest over an air duct in the floor and are provided with a ring of vertical air ducts passing up through the oil. The blast arrangement, which consists of a No. 6 Sturtevant blower, direct connected to a two-phase induction motor, delivers air directly into this duct, which then passes upward through the transformers.
Read the whole publication;
https://reference.insulators.info/publications/view/?id=11357
 
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