Edison Electric Illuminating Co

#17 – Edison Electric Illuminating

power-generation station with one of the world's only high-pressure topping turbines, which set new records in the late 1920s

The Edgar Station high-pressure topping turbine and boiler set a new record for economy in the mid-1920s by producing electricity at the rate of 1 kilowatt hour per 1 pound of coal, when it was common to burn 5 to 10 pounds. Boston Edison achieved this feat by operating a boiler and turbine unit at 1,200 pounds of steam pressure and exhausting into a 350-pound steam header. This "high-pressure" unit, the only one of its kind in the world, was developed under the supervision of Irving Moultrop.

Another first was the x-raying of steel piping and turbine casings to ensure a flawless subsurface, which became standard procedure. The days of 12,000-ton colliers unloading coal at 800 tons an hour are history, but the station stands as a monument to the efficiency and reliability of Boston engineering. The units were shipped to South America in the late 1970s.

Adapted from "5000-kilowatt Steam Turbine-Generator" article in Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering authored by ASME International History and Heritage.

Edison Electric Illuminating Photo Edison Electric Illuminating Company,
Charles L. Edgar Station.

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Landmark Location

Bridge Street at Fore River
Weymouth, Mass.

Visiting Info

Ceremony Notes

May, 1976