At the early part of the twentieth century when the motion pictures of the Westinghouse Works were filmed, the Westinghouse companies worked on several projects which brought them great notoriety. This was especially true of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company which obtained contracts for several highly visible projects, namely the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in New York, the South Side Elevated Railroad Company in Chicago, the Niagara Falls Power Company, and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
When the decision was made to convert the Manhattan Elevated Railway from steam power to electricity, the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company was awarded the contract after it designed in competition with other companies a special generator and auxiliary equipment capable of running such a huge installation. The contract eventually awarded called for eight alternating current generators, each having a capacity of 5,000 K.W. along with auxiliary electrical apparatus.
Prompted by the success of the design made for the Manhattan Elevated Railway, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company decided to employ the same type of electrical device for the rapid transit subway being built in New York. Westinghouse supplied nine large generators to power this project, each having an aggregate capacity of 45,000 K.W. The parts for these machines were so large that special railroad cars had to be built in order to transport them from the Westinghouse Works to New York. A promotional book put out by the Westinghouse Company at this time stated that the generators for these two installations were the largest that had ever been built up to that time:
Westinghouse supplied equipment for another elevated railway, the South Side Elevated Railroad in Chicago. For this contract, Westinghouse supplied four 800 K.W. and three 1,500 K.W. Direct Current Engine Type Generators, resulting in what the Westinghouse Company called one of the most economical generating stations in the world.
In 1893, the Westinghouse Company was asked to supply parts for the conversion of the waters of the Niagara Falls into electrical power. The plant erected for this purpose was the first to use units of such a great size to send electrical power out over distances. A book written by the Westinghouse Company described the apparatus used in the Niagara Falls project as follows:
The operation was fully functional by 1895.
For the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 held in St. Louis, MO, the Westinghouse Company not only had large exhibits set up in the Electricity, Machinery, and Transportation buildings, but also installed four 2,000 K.W. alternating current generators with the necessary auxiliary apparatus for the service plant of the exposition. During this exposition, the Westinghouse Company also ran the motion pictures made by AM&B of the Westinghouse Works daily in an auditorium.
(Sources for photos and information: Works of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, 1904; The Westinghouse Companies in the Railway & Industrial Fields, 1905)
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