background preloader

Early electric power transmission

Facebook Twitter

Prior to electricity, various systems have been used for transmission of power across large distances. Chief among them were telodynamic (cable in motion), pneumatic (pressurized air), and hydraulic (pressurized fluid) transmission.

Cable cars were the most frequent example of telodynamic transmission, whose lines could extend for several miles for a single section. Pneumatic transmission was used for city power transmission systems in Paris, Birmingham, Rixdorf, Offenbach, Dresden and Buenos Aires at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Cities in the 19th century also used hydraulic transmission using high pressure water mains to deliver power to factory motors. London's system delivered 7000 hp ( 5 megawatts) over a 180-mile (290 km) network of pipes carrying water at 800 psi. These systems were replaced by cheaper and more versatile electrical systems, but by the end of the 19th century, city planners and financiers well aware of the benefits, economics, and process of establishing power transmission systems.

In the early days of electric power usage, widespread transmission of electric power had two obstacles. Firstly, devices requiring different voltages required specialized generators with their own separate lines. Street lights, electric motors in factories, power for streetcars and lights in homes are examples of the diversity of devices with voltages requiring separate systems. Secondly, generators had to be relatively near their loads (a mile or less for low voltage devices). It was known that long distance transmission was possible the higher the voltage was raised, so both problems could be solved if transforming voltages could be cheaply performed from a single universal power line.

Early electric power transmission: specialized systems. Early high voltage exterior lighting. Early direct current lighting. Availability of large-scale generation.

Induction coils advantage of alternating current

Introduction of the alternating current transformer. High voltage direct current transmission. Victory for Alternating current.