Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Edison Illuminating Company

The Edison Illuminating Company Station "A" was one of the first establishment to provide electricity to the homes and businesses of the City of Detroit, from its opening in 1886 until 1900. Coal burning boilers drove steam engines which were connected to dynamos on the second floor.

It was in this power plant that Henry Ford, who worked here from 1891 to 1899, made $40 a month as an engineer.
While working here, Ford spent his spare time working on his idea for a gasoline-powered car - the eventual 'Quadricycle'.
When a Beck engine broke down, Ford repaired it by rebuilding the cross-head and putting on additional supports to keep it from twisting and breaking.

Because of this successful job, he was made machinist for the company and, on November 16, 1893, he was made Chief Engineer.
While acting in that capacity, he was chosen to attend the company's annual convention in 1896 in New York, where he first met Thomas Edison.

Built as a one quarter scale replica in Greenfield Village in 1944, some of the original equipment to be found from the original building are two Armington and Sims engines, the original Jumbo Dynamo from the New York building, and the Beck engine which Henry Ford repaired.
According to a reader of this blog, RP Mayer, this building was originally known as the Substation when placed in this Village in 1944. "The substation is actually another name for the Edison Illuminating Company’s Station A, which still exists in the village. If you look at the old map, this is the same location as the present building."

For more information on Edison at Greenfield Village, please click the links below:
Edison Fort Meyers Laboratory
Edison Homestead
Edison Illuminating Company
Edison Menlo Park Laboratory
Edison Menlo Park Glass House
Edison Menlo Park Machine Shop
Edison Menlo Park Woodworking Shop
Edison Menlo Park Office and Library


1 comment:

William Kennings said...

Enjoyed very much the post on Edison Illuminating CO. - Detroit Station A (Washington Blvd and State Street). 1975 - 1977, I know this building very well, as I worked there running the coal-fired Backcock & Wilcox Boilers (usually ran about 45 lbs pressure yet they could handle 125 lbs if I ran all 5 engines at once which was rare- lots of work) and ran all of the steam engines. The Beck is located in the front window. The Beck and the small A&S located between the boilers were my favorite's. Detroit Edison provided the funds to purchase: Coal, Oil, and maintenance of the equipment. "Old John" was in charge and had worked at Edison from 1923 - 1966 and then worked at Station A from 1966 - 1978 (he passed away that Winter). Dr. Paul Moga worked there from 1970 - 1976 and was Super (3rd Class Steam). We had a steam whistle atop the building and at Noon and Two O'clock we'd blow it (also, at the AMTRAK train that would pass by). In 1979, Station A was shut down and became only a silent display. Oh, it was the "Best of Time's" when the steam was up and the machines were running... 40+ years later... Many great memories. LOL, I still have my old green Power Dept name tag. Again, Thank You. Bill Kennings - Oscoda, MI.