2600 Catherine Street, Philadelphia PA 19146
© John Mayer,
Workshop of the
World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).
Designed by John T. Windrim
for the Philadelphia Electric Company, Schuylkill
Generating Station A-1 was the first large-scale,
centralized power plant in the Philadelphia region.
Original equipment included two steam engine
generators—one, a 2,000 kw unit, the other a 5,000
kw unit. Thirty-two coal-fired boilers, fed by hand,
supplied the steam for the turbines. In 1906, after only
three years of operation, the original turbines were
replaced by three new 5,000 kw vertical turbines. In
1935, boilers were converted to oil, in part to eliminate
problems with the uncertain coal supplies caused by
mining strikes. 1
Station A-2 was added to the site beginning in 1914 with two more generators—one a 30,000 kW, 25 cycle generator to supply current for the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company and the Pennsylvania Railroad; and the second, a 35,000 kW, 60 cycle machine, was used for power production. The Pennsylvania Railroad's requirement of single-phase current from Station A-2, presented a difficult engineering problem for the electric company. Charles Steinmetz, then a scientist and engineer with General Electric, designed a phase-balancer to solve the problem.
In 1950, the Schuylkill Generating Station began co-generation of steam and electricity, initially using exhaust steam to supply steam for heat in the city's distribution networks.
1 Philadelphia Electric Company, Milestones, (Philadelphia, 1981), pp. 11-13. See also J. Cohen, Historic Resource Survey Form, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1981.
Update May 2007 (by Joel Spivak):
© Philadelphia Year Book, 1917.