Power house of the Canadian Niagara Power Company, 1885


DECEMBER 14, 1905 Nature Magazine number 1885 Vol 73 CANADIAN ELECTRIC POWER STATIONS AT NIAGARA. In January 2 (1885) of this year, in the power house of the Canadian Niagara Power Company, on the Canadian side at Niagara, the largest units used in the development of water-power were started.This great power house is situated in Victoria Park, and all the work of development is done under consent from the Government of the Province of Ontario and the commissioners of the park. Fourteen years ago ground was on the New York side at Niagara for a power development by means of a wheel-pit and tunnel.The 105,000 horse-power thus developed has been a great inspiration to the growth of the American city, and Canadians looked forward to the time their hopes are being realized, for three strong companies when they should profit by a similar development. Now are actively at work on the Canadian side developing power from the water that speeds toward the Horseshoe Canadian Fall.

It was in 1892 that the Canadian Niagara Power Company secured its first rights to develop power in Canada, and since then it has paid the park of its privileges, while its first horse-power was developed commissioners more than 225,000 dollars in the retention on the date above mentioned. The Canadian Niagara Power Company is allied to the Niagara Falls Power Company of the New York side the river, but in its Canadian development it has given Niagara Falls Power Company of the New York side of men of science and electrical engineers the most wonderful installation to study yet known in the World of any water power development.In the big power houses on the New York side the unit of development is horse-power, but on the Canadian side the unit is 10,000 horse-power. It was in 1890, at a meeting of the International Niagara Commission, held in London, that a unit of 5000 horse power was adopted for the development on the American Ten years have elapsed since Rudolph Baumann, a Swiss engineer, turned the wheel that started the first unit on April 4, 1895, and since that the installation has been doubled in size and output capacity, and is in every way a success.




Now comes Canadian Niagara with its units of 10,000 horse-power, the largest in the world. Mr William H. Beatty who is president of the Canadian Niagara Power Company, turned the small wheel that controls the flow of water from the penstocks to the turbines, and as he admitted the flood of water the monster generator began to revolve, and within a few minutes was making 250 revolutions a minute, the speed as which it is to be steadily operated. Unit 2 was also started, making 20,000 horse-power available in the Canadian Niagara Power Company, on the Canadian side at Niagara, the largest units used in the development station, and by May 1st three additional units of the same of water-power were started giving off a total of 50,000 horsepower from the five machines. In all eleven units with be installed so that it’s final output will be 110,000 horsepower or 5000 horsepower more than 21 machines in two power houses of the Niagara Falls Power Company on the American side of the river. In the wheel-pit and tunnel method of developing power at Niagara a great slot several hundred feet long, is excavated in the earth to a depth of about 180 feet and 21 feet wide. From the bottom of the wheel-pit a tail race or tunnel is driven through solid rock a distance to the lower river or gorge. This tunnel is built in the form of a horseshoe, and is about 20 feet wide by 25 feet high. It is lined from end to  end with vitrified brick and concrete, while the wheel-pit is also carefully lined.

From the upper river a canal of short length diverts water from the main stream to a forebay at one side of the power house. Near the bottom of the wheel-pit the turbines are installed, and these are connected to the generators in the power station over the wheel-pit by vertical shafts or tubes. From the forebay to the turbines penstocks IO feet in diameter run to the turbines, and as the gates are raised the water pours from these penstocks into the wheels that give motion and life to the generators. As the water passes through, or is discharged from, the turbines, it falls into the tunnel, and then Hows through this tail race’ to the lower river and gorge.


It diverted from the main stream but a very few minutes, but in that time it serves to aid man in gaining control of thousands of electrical horse-power. It is agreed between the power companies and the commissioners of Victoria Park that all power. generated m the park limits must be transmitted outside the park boundaries for application and use, andso the electric current from the station referred to will pass to a trans- former station not far distant, where, for transmission purposes, it will have its voltage raised to 40,000 or 60,000 volts, in order that it may successfully and economically be sent to Toronto and other distant places to meet the demand for electric power from Niagara.Toronto has long been anxious to be connected by a transmission line with the power development at the falls, and now a line for transmission purposes has been about completed, so that electric current from the generators in the station of the Canadian Niagara Power Company may be used in the operation of the trolley cars and lighting systems of the Canadian city nearly go miles away from Niagara.

The Electrical Development Company of Ontario, Ltd., is also constructing 8 wheel-pit and tunnel power development in Victoria Park. The works of this company will be a short distance above the site of the development of the Canadian Niagara Power Company, but, for all this, the tunnel it is building will be slightly shorter than the tunnel of the company last named, because it will run right under the river-bed, over which the upper rapids toss, to a point behind the falling sheet of water of the Horseshoe Fall, where it will empty into the lower river. From the bottom of this wheel-pit there will be two short lateral tunnels that will carry the water from the pit the.main tunnel at a point 165 feet from the bottom of the This company projects at development of about 125,000 horse-power, and the machinery it will instant will command general attention.

The Ontario Power Company is another concern that has secured a franchise for the development .of power in Victoria Park.Its method of development :will be quite different from that of the other two companies referred Its power house. a concrete and iron structure, has been built at the water’s edge, in the gorge, a short distance below the Horseshoe Fall, and water will be carried to it by penstocks concealed from view in tunnels that have been driven through the rocky bank from a spillway or open relief on top of the bank. From this spillway great steel flumes will extend to the forebays, which are situated far up the river.

There will be three of these steel flumes, each 18 feet in diameter and more than 6000 feet long. Each will divert 3900 cubic feet of water every second, which is an amount estimated to ,be sufficient to develop 60,000 electrical horse-power in the station at the water’s edge. Thus from the three steel Humes and the water supply thus afforded, no less than 180,000 horse-power is to be developed. This power will pass from the generators to a transformer station located on the bluff in the rear of Victoria Park more than 250 feet above the power house, and more than 550 feet back from it. ORRIN. E. Dunlap

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