Edison: His Life and Inventions - Vol. 2

By Frank Lewis Dyer; Thomas Commerford Martin | Go to book overview

XIII
EDISON'S ELECTRIC RAILWAY

AS narrated in Chapter XVIII, there were two electric railroads installed by Edison at Menlo Park--one in 1880, originally a third of a mile long, but subsequently increased to about a mile in length, and the other in 1882, about three miles long. As the 1880 road was built very soon after Edison's notable improvements in dynamo machines, and as the art of operating them to the best advantage was then being developed, this early road was somewhat crude as compared with the railroad of 1882; but both were practicable and serviceable for the purpose of hauling passengers and freight. The scope of the present article will be confined to a description of the technical details of these two installations.

The illustration opposite page 454 of the preceding narrative shows the first Edison locomotive and train of 1880 at Menlo Park.

For the locomotive a four-wheel iron truck was used, and upon it was mounted one of the long "Z" type 110-volt Edison dynamos, with a capacity of 75 amperes, which was to be used as a motor. This machine was laid on its side, its armature being horizontal and located toward the front of the locomotive.

We now quote from an article by Mr. E. W. Hammer, published in the Electrical World, New York, June 10, 1899, and afterward elaborated and reprinted in a volume entitled Edisonia, compiled and published under the auspices of a committee of the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, in 1904: "The gearing originally employed consisted of a friction-pulley upon the armature shaft, another frictionpulley upon the driven axle, and a third friction-pulley which could be brought in contact with the other two by a suitable lever. Each wheel of the locomotive was made with a

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