IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - 108

108

figure 3. The first station of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of
Brooklyn was located on Pearl Street
in downtown Brooklyn. Opened in
1889, the ornate structure included a
business office and a retail store for
electrical products (image courtesy of
the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, National Park Service, U.S.
Department of the Interior).

figure 4. Thomas E. Murray's first generating station was constructed at Gold
Street on the East River near the Brooklyn Navy Yard (photo from T.E. Murray,
Electric Power Plants: A Description of a Number of Power Plants Designed by
Thomas E. Murray, 1910, p. 267).

Progress was soon to overtake all those
stations as the efficiency of large-scale
generation and transmission made local,
or "neighborhood," power stations obsolete. In Brooklyn, that appeared in the
form of the 66th Street generating station
in Bay Ridge. Termed the "Union" station
as it was intended to supply all the smaller
companies, which had then begun to come
together under the Edison Company name,
it was a unique "double current" plant.
It supplied both 6,600-V, 25-Hz, threephase power to substation converters for
dc distribution and also two-phase power
at 62.5 Hz, 11,000 V to ac distribution
transformers in the sparsely settled southern part of Brooklyn. The odd 62.5-Hz frequency was due to the generation of both
currents in a common machine. Rated initially at 9,800 kW, operation commenced
late in 1897 and was said to be the first use
of 11,000-V transmission from a steamoperated generating station.
Thus, it came about that Brooklyn
power was divided. Customers were
supplied with dc in the more densely

developed area, an approximate isosceles triangle from the East River eastward to the East New York area, from
approximately 1 mi (1.61 km) to the
north of Broadway and 1 mi (1.61 km)
to the south of Fulton Street, and also
the area between Prospect Park and
the waterfront. Underground lines
were used to distribute dc current at
120/240 V. The lower waterfront area
was also supplied with dc. The sparsely developed southern Brooklyn area
below Prospect Park was supplied with
ac distributed on overhead pole lines
at 2,500 V, two phase to distribution
transformers that provided 120/240-V
power to customers. There were exceptions as local companies continued
to operate independently, especially in
Flatbush, Marine Park, and Gerritson
Beach until the 1920s. Little record
remains of those systems. The Edison
Company of Brooklyn also supplied
power to Governor's Island.
Prior to operation of the Union
plant, the Edison Company installed an

ieee power & energy magazine

ac tie line between downtown Brooklyn and the Coney Island resort area in
the summer of 1897. Required to meet
the summer load of hotels and amusement parks, it employed the technique
of "double conversion" or the use of rotary converters at both ends of the line.
Power generated as dc downtown fed
an "inverted" or reversed converter to
supply ac to a step-up transformer for
transmission over an 11-mi (17.7-km)
line to Coney Island. There a transformer reduced the voltage for the rotary converter that supplied dc to the
customers. The technique had been pioneered the previous year in Chicago to
reduce duplication of facilities and was
installed the following year in Manhattan to accommodate load peaks.

Leadership
The next advances were made under
the leadership of Thomas E. Murray,
an inventor, entrepreneur, industrialist,
and utility executive whose vision defined the New York utility market for
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
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - January/February 2016 - Cover3
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