IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - 106

figure 1. The new station of the Municipal Electric Light Company at Ainslie
and Rodney Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as shown in Electrical World,
circa 1889. The station was noted for its spacious design as compared to most
neighborhood power stations.

figure 2. The "well-lighted" interior of the new station was noted in Electrical
World, circa 1889, with the hope that it portended a future trend in power stations. The boilers appear to be a local product from the neighboring community
of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Electrical World magazine declared
that Brooklyn, after a slow start, had
public illumination equal to any in
106

ieee power & energy magazine

the world. The writer waxed particularly enthusiastic about Prospect Park
where the "sheets of ice reflect in

dazzling beauty the arc lamps strung
around the lake," an ice skating image reminiscent of a Currier and Ives
print. Loeser's Department Store, a
world-class mercantile emporium located on Fulton Street at the very center of Brooklyn commerce, boasted
103 arc lamps, each of 2,000 candle
power, supplied by a private generator.
It was declared by observers to be the
best lit and most welcoming commercial space anywhere.
Electric utilities developed rapidly.
In 1887, the Citizen's Electric Light
Company, from its two-story generating station at DeKalb Avenue and
Navy Street, supplied a total of 1,000
arc lamps and also supplied power to
a variety of businesses that operated
electric sewing machines, lifts, lathes,
and fans. Another significant load was
that of the fan blowers for church organs, appropriate for a city termed the
"City of Churches" for its large number
of houses of worship.
One of the most progressive companies was the Municipal Electric Light
Company in the Williamsburg area,
established in 1884 to supply arc
lamps. Three stations were erected,
with the most significant at the corner
of Ainslie and Rodney Streets. It was
to play a unique role in the development of power in Brooklyn and was
destined to remain one of the longestlived electrical installations anywhere.
Operation began in 1888, just about
the time that Thomas Edison's "vertical" stations designed for city lots were
being completed in Manhattan. With
land less expensive than in Manhattan,
Brooklyn stations tended to be larger
in footprint and capable of horizontal
expansion. The Ainslie Street station
was acclaimed in Electrical World for
its spacious, well-lighted interior, and
the hope was expressed that it marked
"the end of the placement of dynamos
in dark corners" (see Figures 1 and 2).
The downtown commercial center of Brooklyn was supplied by the
Citizen's Company and also by the
Edison Electric Illuminating Company
of Brooklyn, which was established
in 1889. The latter was but one of the
january/february 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover2
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover3
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover4
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