IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - 99

actually installed because General Electric Company (GE) had developed the
first commercial large-capacity Curtis
steam turbines during the time Waterside I was constructed. Therefore, the remaining planned capacity of the station
was provided by turbine-generators rather than by additional engine-generators.
The engines that were installed were
built by the Westinghouse Company of
Pittsburgh, and each one stood three
stories high with rotating parts totaling 45 tons. Their design, again, was by
John Van Vleck who was, by then, acting as constructing engineer for Waterside I. His design was based on Ferranti
engines, which he had observed in operation in London. Each engine consisted
of one high-pressure cylinder exhausting into a pair of low-pressure cylinders,
with an indicated rating of 5,500 hp.
However, operating experience eventually
showed that each engine could safely be
pushed to provide an output of 8,000, or
even 9,000, hp.
Each engine drove one 3,500 kW
(but good for at least 4,500 kW) threephase alternator at 75 rev/min. According to a 1904 Electrical Age article,
eight of these generators were built by
GE in Schenectady, New York, and the
remaining three by the Stanley Electric
Manufacturing Company in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. This article also said
that "the crankshaft is of the Bethlehem
make," meaning that this essential part
for the engines had been forged by the
Bethlehem Steel Company, Pennsylvania, rather than by a steel company
in Pittsburgh, because Bethlehem had
developed a reputation for providing
reliable large forgings of that nature.
The 11 engines installed must have
been very imposing in both appearance
and operation. A 1901 article in Electrical World described the main aisle
between the two rows of engines as
having "a strong resemblance to the
main aisle of some grand and imposing cathedral."
The Waterside I engine room would
not have been exactly quiet. A steam
whistle, fed from a 4-in steam line, was
used for communication by a coded
sequence of short whistle blasts. One

The appearance of the original control
room resembled the bridge of a ship,
with very large wheels used to control the
generator fields (see Figure 2). This is
a tad ironic, given that the engines had
derived from marine engine design. The
early instrumentation left something to
be desired. In a 1907 article in General
Electric Review about the New York

long blast was used in the event of an
emergency and would bring every operator to his post in under a minute.
The elevated control room at the west
end of the engine room was closed in
by large windows to cut down on the
engine room noise. This would also
protect the operators in the event of a
steam break.

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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - Cover3
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