The collection consists of bound photograph albums and loose photographs documenting the construction of the Adams Power Station (hydroelectric plant) and allied structures of the Niagara Falls Power Company, 1899-1919.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of bound photograph albums and loose photographs documenting the construction of the Adams Generating Station #2 (hydroelectric plant) and allied structures of the Niagara Falls Power Company, 1899-1919. The images depict generators, wheel pits, governors, plant interiors, river views, transmission lines, turbines, and unidentified people.
The albums are arranged numericaly from one to thirty. Albums 13, 19 and 20 are missing. Each photograph has a number, date, and caption located in the lower left of the image. Typescript indices are included at the beginning of each album and the full index is linked to this finding aid.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Photograph Albums, 1899-1919
Series 2: Photographs by Subject, 1899-1908
Biographical / Historical:
In 1853, the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company was chartered. The company purchased the water rights and began construction of a canal (1860-1861) and was the first company to generate hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Falls Power Company was founded on September 19, 1889 after being re-organized and renamed from it's predecessor company, the Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company. Edward Dean Adams, a New York financier became president of the company. Adams created a subsidiary company, the Cataract Construction Corporation to build a power tunnel before deciding on a method of power distribution. Adams also secured the help of financiers, J.P. Morgan, John Astor, and William Vanderbilt.
In 1893, alternating electrical current (AC) was selected as the standard to used and the Cataract Construction Company began using AC for power generation and transmission. From 1892 to 1894, the Niagara Falls Power Company built two powerhouses, Powerhouse #1 (1892-1894) and Powerhouse #2 (1901-1903). In 1895, the Niagara Falls Power Company began placing contracts with the Westinghouse Company for long distance electric transmission development and implementation.
In 1927, by resolution of the board of directors of the Niagara Falls Power Company, the power-houses and sub-stations were renamed in appreciation of the men who pioneered the power industry and developed it. Niagara Power Stations Number One and Two were renamed the Edward Dean Adams Statuon. Also known as the Adams Power Station. The Adams Power Station built in 1895 was not the first hydro power station at Niagara, but it was one of the largest hydroelectric power generators of it's time and it was the first large scale application of AC power in North America. General Electric and Westinghouse collaborated on the project. Engineers Thomas Evershed, George Forbes, Benjamin G. Lamme, Oliver Shallenberger, Nikola Tesla, William Stanley, Dr. Louis Bell, and Charles P. Steinmetz contributed.
http://www.edisontechcenter.org/Niagara.htm (last accessed on May 3, 2016)
Adams, Edward Dean. Niagara Power History of the Niagara Falls Power Company, 1886-1918, Volumes I-II. Niagara Falls, N.Y., printed for the Niagara Falls Power Co., 1927
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History's Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (now Division of Work and Industry) by the Niagara-Mohawk Power Corporation, through E.B. Strowger, System Project Engineer in 1965.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.