Now bear in mind that I have not researched this and it may not be absolutely correct, but this is the way that I remember it from having witnessed it during my visits to my Grand Mother’s home, in the village of Marcellus, and my brief visits to the old power house. The village had their own generating and distribution system. They would start up the steam engine driven alternating current generator at dark each night and run it until about eleven o’clock and then shut it down until the next evening. That was the way that it was done except on Tuesdays. Even in those days (1918) many of the ladies had electric flatirons, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the flatiron was the first electrical appliance introduced to the American household. The plant would be started up on Tuesday mornings and would run until about noon. The reason being that most of the housewives did their laundry on Monday and then they could do their ironing on Tuesday mornings.
I have no idea how long this procedure went on, but eventually, the system was sold to the Michigan Gas and Electric Co., which was later taken over by the American Electric Power Co. with local head quarters in Three Rivers. I can’t be real sure, but I think that the engine that drove the alternating current generator was a Hamilton Corliss. It was many years later that I made the connection between a Corliss Engine and the one that I saw in that old powerhouse. I want to talk more about the Hamilton Corliss steam engine, but I think that I had better save it for a section of it’s own.