Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Edison's Progress" (1880)

The following newspiece was reported in the Brockport republican on 23 September 1880, apparently citing a story from the New York Sun:
Edison's Progress
Mr. Edion's hundred--horse power engine is getting its finishing touches in the Porter Allen Engine Company's shops, Philadelphia, and in about three weeks it will be in position in Menlo Park. The engine will make 600 revolutions a minute. The cylinder is nine inches in diameter. With this pondrous machine Mr. Edison expects to produce the power that will enable him to light up the 800 lamps for which the workmen have just laid eight and one-half miles of mains.
Forty–five men have begun work in the nearly completed factory where the lamps are made, and more will be added in short time. They will turn off about 700 completed lamps a day for the present, but Mr. Edison expects to increase the number to 1,200.
Mr. Edison's new test of the light will be made about Oct. 1. He says that there is no defect in thermostruction of the lamps; that the carbon tips of Japanese bamboo are perfect and that the new trials of the light is not to be an experiment to see if it will burn, but is to test, on a large scale, its actual economy as compared with gas.
Mr. Edison has not experimented with the light for the past six months, but his time has been occupied in preparing for what he terms the commercial introduction of the light. Every detail as to wire, glass, wood, iron and other materials, and the best and most economical ways for fashioning them, he has gone over hundreds of times, his idea being, he says, to have the light a perfect success to begin with, and to leave no improvement to be desired. He does not want his invention looked upon in a few years as a crude effort in a new field, like the first sewing machine and the prioneer reaper.
Of the early introduction of his light in the city the inventor speaks with positiveness. Spread on his table are working diagrams of the two districts in in which it is proposed to begin work. The first district is as follows: From Peck slip through Ferry street to Spruce, to Nassau, to Wall, to South, thence to the place of beginning. The second district is as follows: Through Mail street to Park place, to West, to Rector, to Nassau, to Spruce.
There will be one station in each district where the power will be generated. This station will occupy a room about 25x100 feet in size. The building may be a cheap structure in the rear of other buildings, so that the item of rent or purchase money will not be considerable. Canvassers are now at work in the two districts getting in the names of tenants who will try the new light. They report that the owners of large buildings are very ready to have the experiment tried. As has been heretofore accounced, the purpose of the Electric Light Company is to sell power as well as light. Mr. Edison says they expected to sell more power than light, and perhaps eventually to make enough on power to be able to give the light away. Quarter-horse, half-horse, one-horse and five-horse and seven-horse power machines, he anticipates, will be in great demand for keeping ventilators in motion, swinging fans in restaurants running sewing machines and turning lathes, and so on.
Since Mr. Edison has considered his light as successful commercially, he has given its practical use by all sorts of people a good deal of attention. He says the popular prejudices and customs are not the least difficult things with which he has to deal. His aim has been, therefore, to make the new light as nearly as possible like gas in its operation. His was of making a practical test is to call in a servant girl from a neighbouring house, or a laborer from a field, and pointing to a lamp say: "Light that; now turn it off; light it again." Every difficulty in the way of the awkward experimenter is carefully noted by the inventor, who at once sets to work to obviate it. A single illustration will show how closely he has studied these minor matters. In making the first lamps he had the thumbscrew, which corresponds to that of a gas fixture, turn in the opposite direction. Everybody who took hold of it for the first time tried in vain to twist it the wrong way. Mr Edison took the hint, and the new lamps are lighted precisely like those of gas fixtures. In outward appearance, too, they resemble has lamps as closely as they can be imitated.
Should the Menlo Park trial, soon to be made, demonstrate all that is expected, Mr. Edison says that the company will be selling the light to consumers in New York by the first of January, 1881, at about fifty cents per 1,000 candles. The ordinary standard of measurement for the new illuminating power. Three thousand candles gave the light of 1,000 cubic feet of has, so that the equivalent of 1.000 feet of has in the electric light will cost $1.50. The bamboo burners are calculated to last in steady use for six months. Extra ones will be furnished to consumers put up in boxes, with sockets complete, for fifty cents each. The figures named by Mr. Edison are subject to change, but he says the only change will be to lower prices as the use of the light is extended.
Mr. Edison's electric locomotive which has been running over the track at his factory at forty odd miles an hour is dismantled at present. He is fixing up an experimental freight locomotive, and he is going to test it on steep grades.
Should Mr. Edison's inventions have the commercial success that he anticipates Menlo Park will be threatened with the loss of its name and fame. The company associated with the inventor are already looking for factory sites in Metuchen and Rahway, where better facultures will be available.—N. Y. Sun.

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