HISTORY OP TE . CONSOLIDATED GAS KL.&TRIO
LIGHT AND POY/ER COMPAHY OP BALTIMORE
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riSTCKY r* T-TJ CCTSCIIDATJI: S.'.S 43 .,OI?RIO LIGHT ACT PC 723
CCI.TANY C? BA1TI?'0HJS .
L'.rJK C' 1 J'"., COMPANY
The Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Com-
pany is, as its name indicates, an organisation resulting
from the merging of several similar companies. These com-
panies date from the year l8l6 when the first gas eompany
in the United States was organized in Jaltimore.
In I8l6 Rembrandt Paale was the proprietor of a
museum in Baltimore where scientific novelties were dis-
played. As an additions 1 curiosity lor. Peale installed a
system of the then unknown gas lights, with which to il-
luminate his museum. This display attracted many visitors
and caused much favorable comment, encouraged by the
reception the gas lights had received, Peale apolied to the
Hay or and City Council of Baltimore for permission to organ-
ize a company to lay pipes in the streets and light the
city by means of gas. His proposition was favorably re-
ceived by the Mayor and Council and in a very short time
an ordinance was passed which authorized Peale and his
associates to form the "Gas light Company of Baltimore"
and to contract for lighting the city with gas. Thus was
formed the first gas company in the Inited States, and from
this simple beginning has developed the great Consolidated
Company of to-day.
Jhe gaa manufactured by this first company was coal
gas. It was made by burning coal in cast-iron retorts, the
gas being driven off and conducted away from the retort by a
pipe. It was then cooled and stored in gas holders, Jhis
gas was used exclusively for over 5^ years, or until the
introduction of water gas.
The Gas light Company continued to operate, with-
out competition, until 1871 when the "People's Gas Company"
was formed. This company also manufactured coal gas.
In 1873 patents were granted to Professor Thaddeus
Iowa on his process for making water gas, and in 1874 "the
first water gas plant was installed at Phoenixville, Pa. In
a short time plants were also erected in several other places.
Jhese plants proved so successful that in I876 the
"Consumers' Mutual Gas Light Company" was organized in
Baltimore for the purpose of introducing the new gas. In 1877
the plant was completed and distribution begun. Professor
Henry IVurtz of Foboken, N.J., an eminent chemist, was
asked to investigate and report upon the quality and charac-
teristics of the water gas. In his report the statement is
made, as follows:
"I have no hesitation in pronouncing this to be
the cleanest gas thr t has come within my observation, this
observation having been very extensive."
The water gas was made by passing steam over
anthracite coal, heated to incandescence. In order to make
the gas burn with a luminous flams it was mixed with, -vaporized
oil. It proved to be so much cleaner and cheaper than coal
gas that the plant erected by the Consumers' Company contin-
ued in operation until 1904 whs n it was closed down.
There were then three gas companies operating in
a city which afforded barely enough business for one com-
pany. To prevent the inevitable rate wars and consequent
poor service the companies combined in 1880 to form the
first Consolidated Gas Company of Baltimore.
In 1382 another competitor, the 'Equitable Gas
light Company", entered the field. It at first Produced a
gas made by distilling wood, but later changed to water
gas. After a short time a coal gas plant was added. The
ife of the Equitable Company was short, as in 1385 i* w & s
absorbed by the newly organised " Chesapeake Gas Company"
which made water gas by a new process which was supposed to
reduce the quantity of carbon monoxide in the gas.
In 1888 this company and the old Consolidated
Company were merged to forma new Consolidated Gas Company
which is to-day the Consolidated Gas ISlectric Light and
This merger endeo competition in the gas industry
in the city of Baltimore as no more gas companies were or-
ganised and the legislature has since passed a law prohibit-
ing any more competition in Baltimore.
Soon after water gas had made its appearance
electric lights began to compote with the gas lights and in
1881 the first Baltimore electric light company was formed.
This was the "B r ush Electric light Company", named after the
inventor of the Brush series arc-lamp system.
As was the case with the gas industry, competition
was encouraged ani in 1889 the first competitor appeared,
followed in rapid succession by several others, none having
other than a transitory existence. In 1899 all existing
electric light companies were consolidated to form the
"United Electric Light and Power Company." This company
operated for several years without competition, and during
this period service was good and rates were lower than in
many other cities of the same size. In 1904 a new company
entered the field and struggled along for a short period
during which there oc cured a disastrous rate war, which un-
settled the electric light and power business, crippling
progress and impairing service.
In 1906 the Consolidated Gas Company absorbed all
the existing electric companies and a small gas plant operated
by the Suburban Gas Company at Highland town, thus forming
the "Consolidated Gas Electric light and Power Company."
Since 1906 Ijhere have been no more gas or electric companies
and the Consolidated Company has been free to develop its
equipment and improve its service. ?he tremendous progress
the company has made since its formation in 1306 is described
in the article following.
EEVS1C : OF TH3 COMPANY'S BQUIPttSUT,
?he first equipment used by the company was the old
gas plant in back of Peale's ruse urn. In this building was
made the first gas ever used for lighting in Baltimore, that
which illuminated the curies on display in the old museum.
After the organisation of the Gas light Company the "Davis
Street '..'orks" were built at Saratoga and Ilorth Streets.
The gas holders were located inside of the building and the
tanks containing the holders were built of wooden staves held
together with heavy iron hoops. Tim largest of these holders
had a capacity of 85900 cubic feet. This plant was used until
1847 when a new plant, was erected at L'orth Holliday Street,
between Saratoga and Pleasant Streets, having a oapacity of
275.^90 cubic fe=ft, ovur three times as much as the largest
holder previously used, This plant operated until 1856. The
year before this plant was closed the Gas light Company
erected a new plant at Spring Gardens, and this is still in
use to-day, _'he next competing company, the .eople's Gas
Company, constructed a coal gas plant at the foot of "cott
Street, having a capacity of 1,000,000 cubic feet,
: th the introduction of water gas in 1877 by i-he
Consumers' l.utual -as Light Company a new plant was constructed
at Lancaster Street and Harris creek, in Canton. At the
start its capacity was 1,'JQO, 000 cubic feet, but four years
later the capacity was increased to 2,000,000 cubic feet,
showing the great popularity of the new gas.
in 1882 the Equitable Gas Light Company erected a
plant at Severn and .bayard streets of about 1,000,000 cubic
feet capacity. is plant was originally used for producing
wood gas but it was later altered to produce water gas. "Jhe
equipment was later augmented by a coal gas plant which was
used when t}B water gas plant was unable to produce a suf-
ficient quantity. This property was taken over, in 1385, by
the Chesapeake '-as Company and the plant operated as before
except that limestone was substituted for fire brick, with
the intention of reducing the quantity of carbon monoxide in
the water gas, 'Jhe company did not add anything to the exist-
ing a'Toaratus .
ha plant of the Suburban S-as Company, at highland-
town, was relatively small, having a capacity of only 100,000
;en the Consolidated Cas Company vas formed in 1888
the new company continued to use the plant of the Chesapeake
Company at Jayard and Severn Streets, the old plant at Uanton
once owned by the Consumer's Mutual, and the plant at Spring
Gardens which was built by the original &as Tight Company and
which had been in use since 1855* In 1^02 an improved water
gas apparatus was installed at the Spr in~ Sar&ene Plant and
shortly thereafter all other -olants were close down.
lince that date additional apparatus has been added
and to-day the plant is a complete and modern water gas works,
having a capacity of over 5 ^i"} 9 0,000 cubic feet. Also, there
is still sufficient room to allow an increase in capacity to
at least twice the present capacity, should such an increase
become necesrary. The entire Soring Gardens Plant covers about
57 acres and includes bl structures.
In order to provide for future expansion a piece
of land, near Turner's Station in the eastern suburbs, has
been purchased for use as a site for a second gas manufact-
uring plant when the development at Spring Gardens is complet-
ed. It is 52 acres in extent and has a deep-water frontage
of 1200 feet.
Lie all the gas manufactured by the company is
made at Spriner Gardens, an additional supply of coke-oven
or by-product gas is received at the Spring hardens Plant
thru a pipe line from the I.Irryland Steel Company, at
Sparrows Point. The pipe line is 12-fe miles in length and
passes over Bear Creek, which is 37°0 feet wide. Part of
this line, which' is 24 inches in diameter, is laid on the
bottom of the creek. At Spring n -ardens this by-product
gas, better known as coal gas, is purified and mixed with
water gas before being distributed to the consume rs.
The distribution system now covers 120 square
miles, with 1089 feet of mains, of which the largest is 4
feet in diameter. This distribution system was partly
made up of the trunk mains formerly used by other compan-
ies. These have been woven into the nresenu distribution
The company maintai-ns several gas distribution
stations, among' Which are the Front Street Station in the
center of the city, the Arlington Station at the Western
Maryland Railroad, the .iaysrd Street Station in the south-
west district, ths Canton Station, and a few others of less
The electrical equipment obtained by the compeny
in 1906 when it absorbed a number of small electric companies
consisted of several small steam power generating stations,
most of which were inefficient and unreliable. In 1>08,
Mr. Herbert A. V/agne r came to Baltimore to tahe charge of the
electric operations of the Consolidated Company. His first
work was to shut down all these small plants and concentrate
the company's electric power in one plant. This was done by
developing the V/estport Steam G-ene rating Station until it
could supply as much power as the consumers needed. The
result of this change was a decrease in operating expenses and
a corresponding rate reduction. The decrease in rates pro-
duced an increase in the demand for paver.
At this time the McCall's Ferry Power Company, which
was constructing a plant at Holtwood, Pa. to use the Susquehanna
River to generate power, went into the hands of a receiver.
Mr. J, .. Aldreci was appointed by the court to act as
receiver and in this capacity he completed the construction
of the plant at Holtwood, Pa., and organised the Pennsylva-
nia Water and Power Company. At the sai;:e time Mr. Aldred
and his associates bought a controlling interest in the Con-
solld^ted Company of 3altimore. His next step was to bring
the power from the river plant to a substation at iiighland-
town in 3ast Baltimore and from there to the system supplied
by the '..'estport Steam Plant of the Consolidated Company.
Le work was completed in 1910 and furnished a combined
capacity of 92,000 horsepower.
In 1921 the Consolidated Company purchased the
output of the Pratt Street Plant of the united Railways and
.lectric Company, thus increasing the total capacity. The
capacity of the '.Vestport Plant has been increased from about
50,000 horsepower when completed to a total of about 247,000
horsepower. The capacity of the hydro-electric plant at
noltwood has grown from about 60,000 horsepower to more than
180,000 horsepower. This increase in power at Foltwood was
partly due to the erection of a steam station with a capacity
of 30,000 horsepower, to operate in conjunction with the hydro-
electric plant which has a capacity of 150,000 horsepower. The
company's total output previous to December, 192 6 was about
427,000 horsepower, an increase since 1910 of about 4/3 times
the 1910 output.
In December of 1326 the new Gould Street Power
Station was ^ut into operation. At present only one unit is
in use but when the station is completed it will represent an
investment of v 10,000,000 and will have a capacity of 213,000
horsepower. This will increase the company's total capacity to
The power from the I oltwood plant is transmitted over
40 miles of double steel tower line, at 70, 000 volts, to a
substation at Highlandtown where it is stepped down to 13200
Tolts and distributed to other substations. At the I.cClellan
Street substation the volt age is still further reduced and
transformed by rotary converters to direct current which
supplies the busines - district. In the business portion of
the city, service is further insured by one of the largest
storage batteries ever built. At Ilonument and Constitution
Streets a large substation supplies energy at 13200 volts to
four different classes of service, including the .daltimore
and Ohio Railroad and other large consumers having their own
substations. Tba Consolidated Company also has a number of
other substations distributed through the city, some of which
are equipped to supply direct current.
0A3 RA'JIJS A I- J ^?.VIC3
e history of the gas rates used by the Consoli-
dated Company may be divided into three principal periods.
The first period began with the establishing nt of the
industry when gas was charged for at a flat price per burner
per month, burners were supplied to consumers in three sizes,
12, 14 , ana 18 dollar burners. If a customer wished to pay
V 12 per quarter I three months) for his gas he was given a
V 12 burner. If he wished to pay mare he was supnlied with one
of the larger sizes. Gas was then sold at v4 per thousand cubic
feut, with a discount of 12^- per cent, for cash.
» 3 second period began with the installation of
gas meters, wbe n straight meter rates were adopted. The
rates varied at times with the amount of monthly consumption
by the customer. This period covers the entire history of gas
rates until January 1, I9l6t ^ 1868 gas had been reduced to
v3«55 P 9 r thousand cubic feet, this price including the govern-
ment tax of 2? cents and subject to a discount of 1/11 if
paid within 29 days. in 1878 the introduction of water gas
caused the price to drop to yl.yO per thousand cubic feet,
!:, roci that time to the present the price has been reduced sever-
al times and has finally reached the present rate of 85 cents
per thousand cubic feet.
The third period began in 1916 with the adoption by
the Consolidated Company of the principle of differential rates.
By this new rate standard the consumers are charged a certain
amount per thousand cubic feet until the consumption reaches
a definite maximum. For any gas consumption above this maximum
a different and lower rate is charged. 'J he result of this lower
rate for excess use of gas was a decided increase in gas con-
sumption. Industrial concerns, during the first year of dif-
ferential rates, showed a monthly increase of as high as 60 per
cent, and many ordinary consumers used some gas at the lower
The purpose behind this development in fixing ges
rates is expressed by Mr. Aldred, the chairman of the board of
directors of the Consolidated Company, in a statement made to
the Public Service Commission: "The policy of the Consolidated
:T)eny and its nanagems nt ha s been the fixed policy of
reducing rates as fast as is consistent with maintaining the
company's credit on the high basis necessary for it to obtain
capital at low rates." Also, President '.agner says: "iha new
gas rates give to the people of Baltimore a gas service which
for low cost, uniformity of quality and pressure, and and
dependability and adequacy of supply has never Deen equalled
in any community . ,r
The statements of these two officials are supported
by the fact that the Consolidated Company, from the beginning,
has always maintained its price level as law as conditions
would permit. Also, for 100 years there has never been any
failure in the surely of gas, even during the great tsaltimore
fire of 1904 when thousands of service mains were broken by
falling buildinrs. At the time of t he fire only the Soring
Gardens plant was in operation. Tim Bayard Street and Canton
plants had been closed down a short time before. In order to
compensate for the large amount of gas lost from broken mains
the Canton station was again put in operation, in this way the
city received an ample supply of gas during the fire, when
nearly all other services were interrupted, in addition to
the fire there have been numerous other emergencies, such as
the blizzard in 1899 and the anthracite coal strike in 1902.
inca the control of the Consolidated Company was
taken over by Mr. J. 3. Aldred and his associates, who are still
at its head, the growth of the company has "been phenomenal
and its expansion is by no means completed, Under their
able management the Consolidated company has become one of
the greatest organizations of its kind in the count iy.
History of illuminating Gas in Baltimore -
Bdwi rd d, Thompson,
ialtimore Gas and electric news.
Yearbooks of the Consolidated Gas Electric
Light and Power Company of Baltimore.
m ? itbom-Ho\UM
PS Old Retort HaaseOiiiMetj
Old Purify Hoaoe- Hollida^ 5Wftrte MMfidffl i 5ltxj0 ^- Old Retort House- Hotlidau StUartfc
Wkstport Power Plant of Thk Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power COMPANY or Baltimore
'Hit Consolidated Company is completing a 53.333 horsepower extension to its steam-driven power plant at Westpcrii bringing the capaciiy of this plant to iiQ.OQQ
horsepower, Wettport is the largest electric rower plant south of Philadelphia and one of (he most efficient in America, h is Located or a tract of 14 acres of fast land
with r.nl and deep water facilities. There arc 46 buildings arid structures on the property.
The Hydro- Kj.ectric Plant of the Pennsylvania Water & Power Company at Holtwood, Pa.
A large part of the electricity distributed by the Consolidated Company is generated by the Pennsylvania Water and Power Company at its development on the Sus-
quehanna River at Hottwood, Pa. Baltimore has enjoyed the advantages of power from this source since 1910. j)imii£ 192+ the capacity of the hydro-electric plant was
increased by 40,000 h-p-j. giving a total generating capacity of 150,000 h.p. This is the largest hydro-electric plant south of Niagara and east of the Mississippi.
Spring Gardens Gas Works of the Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company c
All of ihe gas used in Baltimore is. distributed from this plant, which covers 57 acres. It Is one of the Earnest and mt
s gas plants in America.
Consolidated Gas Electric
Light and Power Company
Oil Tan It a
Oil Pier and Pipe Line
Oil Tanker Promoted Cod Km
Gas Storage Holders. One in Section Showing Water Tank for Sealing and Inlet and Outlet Pipes
Stable and Storehouse Proposed Service Building Relief Holders
Gas Generator House No, 5 Purifier House No. 3 Station Meter House
Boiler House No. I Boiler House No. 2 Machine Shop and Boiler Shop
Kxisting Coal Pier Gas Generator Houses Nos. I and 2 Boiler Water Softening Plant and Exhausters
Tar Separating Tanks and Tar Stills Condensers Exhausters and Station Meter House
Cooling Colli Purifier House Mo. t
Tar Storage Oxide Storage Revivified Oxide
Coal Storage Purifier House No. 1
AiKPiAiTE View of the Hum Trnsion Cw.nss-C"«us:TKv Transmission Links from Hoitwooo to Baltimorp,
Twelve aluminum wires suspended from a double line of sieel towers spaced about S<x> feet apart tranimit power to Bjliimnre, ;l J i at ante of 40 mik-s, at 70 f oc»
vohft. or about iTjqq limes the voltage of the electric current In your home. At Baltimore the pressure is stepped down to 13,200 volts by transformers in the High-
land town Sub-station of the Pennsylvania Water & Power Company and the power ie delivered to The Consolidated Company for distribution throughout the city.
CONSOUIttrED CAS EICTRK DOTTft POWER COMRWV
S| TtHwtpiiY WftED tWIH EltCTftlCfTT
BALTIMORE AND VICINITY.
bfrtMI •-:**, (dCUl ~Wl*
A Map of the Territory Served with Electricity and Gas by the
Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company
Map of Baltimore with Miniature Elevations or Company's Principal Statiohi
Weekly PRESSORS Cuil — March VJ to April J, i(^i6 > showing uniform pressure main rain e-i] about 4 miles from worki
From the Federal Gazette and Baltimore Advertiser
Wednesday, June 19, 1816
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1 inch o.Fth* C.CouneiV
AW 1*1 ' I9lh Jqiic. !
■ • .
Fran thtftu tf the Ftd*r*t Gazette in p*iifiti*rs *f tht Maryland HiiUruat StiirtJ
F*C-Sirnile of advertisement ot th<t 1816 ordinance .grunting a franchise to the Gas Light Company
ot BaUimur* ami of Rembrandt Peak's aaVeriiaement of the display
of gaa lighting at his Museum.
CoNSOLIDATED Gas ELECTRIC LlGHT AND POWER COMPANY
OF THE COMPANY'S PROPERTY
Years 1910 to 1927 Inclusive
5, 2 43,7°7-94
* Includes purchase of Power Plant of Street Railways Company.