IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2016 - 92

electrolytic action in a wet cell caused
material to be transferred from one plate
in the cell to the other. Removal of the
plates, and their subsequent weighing
by edison personnel, provided an indication of the total current usage by
the customer over a period of time (the
billing period). thus, they really were
ampere-hour meters.
It was said that the development of
thomson's mechanical watt-hour meter
was a major factor in the further development of electric power systems.
the meter itself won high honors at the
Paris electrical exposition of 1890.

figure 9. One of two Thomson
recording wattmeters mounted on the
switchboard. (Courtesy of Thomas J.
Blalock.)

of meter to record electrical usage by
his dc customers. this was a messy and
inconvenient form of a meter in which

Epilogue
today, the Pratt Institute power plant
and Milster still exist pretty much as described here. however, several years ago,
the plant was subjected to the inevitable
asbestos removal requirement. Unfortunately, it was discovered that many of the
electrical cables behind the switchboard
contained asbestos material in their in-

sulation. Consequently, these electrical
connections were all removed. the engines can still be run, and the generators
could still operate, but there are no longer
any dc loads, or essential cabling, to allow them to be functional.
the boiler room, however, still functions to supply steam and hot water
to campus buildings, using two 1941vintage, 210-hp Combustion engineering boilers (converted to oil firing in
1948) plus a 240-hp Foster Wheeler
boiler installed in 1953.

For Further Reading
C. Milster, "Pratt Institute Power generating plant (brochure)," American Society
of Mechanical engineers, Apr. 20, 1977.
"Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York,"
Sci. Ameri., vol. LIX, no. 14, pp. 210-
215, Oct. 1888.
J. W. hammond, Men and Volts:
The Story of General Electric. Schenectady, New York: General electric
Company, 1941.
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