IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2020 - 82

table 1. A summary of proposals.
Distribution and Transmission
AC

DC

PNEU TELO HYD

Proposal Submitters

1

X

Cuenod, Sautter & Co. with Faesch and
Piccard, Switzerland

2

X

Prof. Vigreux and M. Leon Levy, France

3

X

M. Hillairet and M. Bouvier, France

4

X

5

Prof. Riedler and M. Victor of Germany and
France

X

6

G.F. Deacon and Siemens Brothers, England
X

X

7

X

8

X

Ganz and Co., Hungary

9

Turbines only: no electrical

Escher, Wyss & Co., Switzerland

10

X

H.D. Pearsall, England

X

Prof. Lupton and Mr. Sturgeon, England

X

11
12 X

X

13 X
14

X

J.J. Rieter & Co., Switzerland

X

Prof. Vigreux and M. Leon Feray, France

X

Pelton Water Wheel Co., United States
Prof. George Forbes, England

X

Norwalk Iron Works, United States

Note: AC is single phase in all cases. PNEU: pneumatic system; TELO: telodynamic
system (wire rope); HYD: hydraulic system.

its adoption. In carrying steam to
great distances very important
losses occur from condensation
in the pipes. Compressed air is the
only general mode of transmitting
power; the only one that is always
and, in every case, possible, no
matter how great the distance nor
how the power is to be distributed
and applied. But compressed air is
also a storer of power, for we can
accumulate any desired pressure in
a reservoir situated at any distance
from the source and draw upon
this store of energy at any time;
which is not possible either in the
case of steam, water or wire-rope.
Because of this view, it was initially believed that a second powerhouse was
required at Niagara; it would be a hydropneumatic station.

The International
Niagara Commission
Adams called his group of experts the
International Niagara Commission and
convinced Sir William Thompson to
82

ieee power & energy magazine

be its head (see Figure 6). The International Niagara Commission consisted
of the following luminaries:
✔ William Thomson, president of
the commission, was a Fellow of
the Royal Society. A mathematical
physicist and engineer, he was an
electrical expert who was knighted Lord Kelvin for his work on the
transatlantic telegraph project. He
is probably best known for determining the correct value of absolute zero, whose units are stated in
kelvins in his honor. He was originally a strong opponent of ac.
✔ Coleman Sellers, a prominent
American consulting engineer,
was a past president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, professor of mechanics
at the Franklin Institute, professor of engineering practice at
the Stevens Institute of Technology, and an inventor who had
obtained more than 30 patents,
most dealing with mechanical
power transmission.

✔ Éleuthère Mascart, professor

and later chairman of general
and experimental physics at the
College of France, went on to become president of the Académie
des Sciences and vice president of
the British Institution of Electrical
Engineers, the first foreigner to
hold the position.
✔ William Unwin, a British civil and
mechanical engineer, Fellow of
the Royal Society, and president
of both the Institution of Civil
Engineers and the Institution
of Mechanical Engineers, was
noted for his extensive work on
hydraulics and steam engines.
✔ Theodore Turrettini, a consulting
hydraulic engineer, was a colonel
of artillery in the Swiss Army,
president of the city of Geneva,
and a director of the Swiss Society of Physical Instruments. He
was also a member of the Franklin Institute and responsible for
hydroelectric power stations on
the Rhone River and elsewhere.
The Commission produced a letter
of invitation stating in part (Adams,
vol. 1, p. 183):
You are therefore invited to submit projects for the development,
transmission and distribution of
about 125,000 effective horsepower on the shafts of water motors at the Falls of Niagara, to the
consideration of an International
Niagara Commission, holding its
sessions at Central Institute, Exhibition Road, London.
Proposals were to be filed in New
York by 29 August 1890 and in London
by 26 September of the same year. Table 1
is a summary of the proposals. On 29
January 1891, the commission met to
consider the proposals, and on 14 February, it reached its conclusions. No
first prize was awarded for a combined
hydraulic/electrical project because no
proposal was at a stage where it could
be adopted. However, there were awards
for various aspects of some proposals.
One submission by Switzerland's
Faesch and Piccard did receive an
award. They were subsequently awarded
july/august 2020



IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - July/August 2020

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Contents
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