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A thesis presented to Phi Mu, 
an honorary engineering fraternity, 
for the requirements of initiation 
for Charles R. Dodson, a candidate 
for the fraternity. 

Surrjnary of the History of Washington Suburban Gas 
Company formerly, the Hyattsville Gas and Electric Company. 

The Hyattsville Gas and Electric Company was organized 
by a group of Baltimore men and incorporated in 1906 by a 
special act of the State Legislation. Mr. Alten S, Miller 
who had connections with the Baltimore Gas Company planned 
and constructed the plant and was. the company's first 

The Company had a fair amount of success and its 
sales gradually increased. 

Humphreys and Miller, Inc. purchased the Company in 
19 IS and sold it to a holding company in 1924. 

The charter of the Company was very broad, carrying 
the right of condemnation and covered a territory having 
a radius of fifteen miles from the center of Hyattsville. 

In 1924 the Company had no bonded indebtedness, but 
the right to issue bonds had been obtained. 

The Company was handicapped by the World War, but it 
survived only to be compelled to increase the gas rate 
several times which caused considerable litigation. 

The Company is controlled by the Public Service 
Commission and is at the present time owned by Stevens 
and Wood, a New York Mrm, 

History of the Washington Suburban Gas Company. 


One oannot help but be astonished to realize that 
less than eighty years ago, the not unusual span of life 
of one man, that the streets of Washington, D. C. were 
not lighted at night. The idea seems almost preposterous 
as one strolls along any of the streets of Washington, at 
a late hour, today. It is hard for anyone to comprehend 
the marvelous changes in present day living conditions as 
compared to those to which our grandfathers were accustomed. 
It is true, however, that some street corners were equiped 
with oil lamps that were pitifully insufficient, in fact, 
they gave absolutely no illumination and were of no help 
to the unfortunate person that happened to be abroad on 
Washington's "streets" at night. The streets of Washing- 
ton were notorious and it w s a lucky person that reached 
his destination without having fallen into a puddle of mud, 
or slipped and fallen into the gutter. 

It is much interest in Gas lighting history to note 
that the "Intelligencer", a Washington paper, of May 51, 
1816 tells that Mr. Benjamin Ilenf ry had contrived to light 
his home and the street in the front of his house by a gas 
light. Also that in 1817 we find that the ballroom of the 
old "Davis Hotel" was ^brilliantly illuminated" by gas lights. 


This is the first indication of the need of better 
lighting in Washington. We find also that other cities were 
experiencing the demand for light illumination. The American 
people are too industrious and ambitious to be satisfied with 
working in the daytime; they must have light at night. But 
yet, the City Council of Philadelphia, in 1822 , rejected an 
application of a company to light the streets because "the 
Council had no desire to encourage an innovation so dangerous, 
so offensive, and one likely to injure the business of candle- 
makers, and oil dealers." 

But Washington was peculiar for its dark streets and many 
serious accidents resulted.... i From 1330 to 1842 there was not a 
street lamp lighted in Washington. Finally, after much 
agitation, the government lighted Pennsylvania Avenue. 

James Crutchett, an inventor, had produced a gas from 
oil, known as "solar gas" from a plant on the capitol grounds 
and had succeeded in lighting the grounds and placing a light 
fifty feet above the center of the capitol building. 

On July 8, 1848 a gas company which had bought Crutchett f s 
rights was chartered, and by using the government pipe line on 
Pennsylvania Avenue, they contracted to light the capitol, 
Pennsylvania Avenue, and the President's house with gas at 
$8.00 per 1000 cu. ft. This was a government contract and as 
yet the city of Washington had done nothing to light i|s streets, 
for it had spent all its money in planting trees. 

Finally the city did install some lights, but these were 
lighted only on moonless nights and when used were turned off 
at midnight. 


The above is the "beginning of lighting by gas. By the 
beginning of the twentieth century conditions were revolution- 
ized in large cities and small towns were commencing to find 
the need of more illumination at night. This situation was 
recognized by business men who saw an opportunity to supply 
the need of the people and at the same time, establish a pro- 
fitable business for themselves. 

There. was a group of men in Baltimore, Maryland, headed 
by Mr. Thomas Hay ward of the Bartlett-Hayward Company, of 
New York, who 4.&1W an opportunity to organise a company to 
build a gas plant and produce gas to supply the town of Hyatts- 
ville and its vicinity. The town of Hyattsville was within 
a mile of Washington, D. C. and the residents were of a class 
that wanted modern conveniences and lighting. 

Alten S. Miller, vice-president of the Bartlett-Hayward 
Company of New York City, was put in charge of the affairs 
who with the aid of Thomas J. Hayward and N. P. Bond managed 
to draw up a special act of incorporation and have it passed 
by the Maryland State Legislature on March S3, 1906, 

The act incorporated the Hyattsville Gas and Electric 
Company and named Wallace A. Bartlett, C. A. M. Wells, 
Wm. A. Guesta, Perry H. Yeitch, Thomas J. Hayward, and Alten 
3. Miller as a corporate body entitled to the rights of a 
corporation, such as, to operate and hold property: to have a 


capital stock of five hundred shares with a par value of one 

hundred dollars each; with the right to increase the same by 

the proper procedure; that the Company could manufacture gas 

and electricity within a radius of fifteen miles of the center 

of Hyattsville, but they could not sell electricity until one 

year after the sale of gas amounted to ten million cubic feet 

per annum; that the Company should 

have the right of eminent domain 

and condemnation for its corporate 

purposes; that the Company could 

borrow money and issue bonds; and 

the act was to take effect from 

the day of passage. The Act in 

full is recorded in the Laws of 

Maryland, 1906, chapter 160 and is 

given in full on the next page. 

By the conditions of the Act a 

board of directors was elected in due time. 

The next step was to obtain a franchise from the town of 
Hyattsville to build and operate a gas plant within its limits. 
The people of Hyattsville were more than willing to grant per- 
mission and a special meeting was held. At this special 
election on May 19, 1906 the Mayor and Common Council enacted 
an ordinance authorizing and empowering the Hyattsville Gas 
and "Electric Company to construct its gas plant and lay its 
mains for the distribution of gas, The franchise further 
stipulated a gas rate not to exceed $1,50 per 1000 cubis feet. 


^6sr / C - <6_^ jf &J '?» C 

to incorporate the 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland that Wallace 
A. Bartiett, C. A. M. Wells, Wm. A. Guesta, Percy H. Veitch, T. J. Hayward, 
A. S. Miller, and their associate successors and assigns be and they are 
hereby created and made a body corporate by the name and style of the 
HYATTSVTLL5 GAS A ELECTRIC COMPANY, and by that name shall have perpetual 

Sec. 2. AND BE IT ENACTED, That said Company, by that name, shall be 
capable in law to bus and to be sued, to make and use a common seal, and alter 
the same at pleasure; to acquire by purchase or otherwise, and to hold, use 
and dispose of or deal with in any manner, not inconsistent with law, any 
property, real or personal, whether situated in or out of this state, which 
may be deemed necessary or desirable to enable said Company to carry out any 
of its operations, or fulfill any of the purposes named in this Act, and 
generally to do any other act or thing which may be deemed necessary or 
desirable to promote the purposes for which said Company is formed. 

Sec. 3. AND BE IT ENACTED, That the Capital Stock of said Company 
shall consist of five hundred shares, of the par value of one hundred dollars 
each, with the right at any time to Increase the same in the manner now provi- 
ded by the General Incorporation Liws of the State; and the above named 
incorporations, or a majority of them, shall have power to open books for 
subscriptions to said stock at such time and place as they may deem expedient, 
and when ten of said shares have been subscribed to and twenty- five per cent 
of the par value thereof has been paid in cash to said incorporators, the 
subscribers to said capital stock shall meet and by a majority vote shall 
elect five directors to serve until the next ensuing election or until their 
successors have been duly elected; and when said directors have been so 
elected they shall proceed to elect officers, and shall thereupon h;*ve and ex- 
ercise, in the name and on behalf of the Company, all the rights, powers and 
privileges granted to the Company, by this Act. 

Sec. 4. AND BE IT ENACTED, That within fifteen miles of the center of 
Hyatt sville, Prince George County, Maryland, the said Hysttsville Gas & 
Electric Company shall have full power and authority to manufacture, distribute, 
supply, sell or otherwise dispose of electricity for the purpose of illumination, 
heat or power and for the transaction of any business in which electricity, over 
or through wires, may be supplied to any useful purposes, and within said limits 
the said Company shall have the power and it is hereby authorized to construct, 
lay, srect, maintain and operate, under, on or above the ground, wires, poles, 
conduits, tubes, pipes and other workB and appliances which may be desired or 
required by said Company for said purposes or any of them and to this end to use 
land, rights of way or franchises owned, controlled or acquired by it and the 
public highways of Prince George and Montgomery Counties, provided, however, 
that the seid Company shall not be authorized or empowered to exercise the 
franchises to sell or otherwise dispose of electricity until one year after it 
shall have constructed a plant for the manufacture and ssle of gas capable of 
making ten million cubic feet per annum. 

Sec. 5. AND BE IT ENACTED, That within a radius of fifteen miles of 
the center of llyattsville, Prince George County, Maryland, the ssid Hyattwville 
Gas & Electric Company shall have full power to manufacture, distribute, supply, 
sell or otherwise dispose of gas for illumination, hent, power or other purposes 
and for the transaction of any business in which gas or its by-products may be 
applied to any useful purpose, and within said territorial limits said Company 
shall have the power and it is hereby authorized to construct, lay, maintain 
and operate, under, on or above the ground, conduits, tubes, pipes and other 
works and appliances which may be desired or required by said company for said 
purposes or any of them and to this end to use l?nd, rights of way or franchises 
owned, controlled or acquired by it and the public highways of Prince George 
and Montgomery Counties, provided, however, that the use by the said company of 

the public highways of Prince George and Montgomery Counties shall be under 
such regulations as to maintenance and repairs as the Boards of County 
Commissioners of Prinoe Oeorge and Montgomery Counties or other Boards having 
charge and control of the public highr/p.ys of said counties shall prescribe. 

Sec. 6. AND BE IT ENACTED, That the said company shall havs the power 
to borrow money for its co rporate purposes, and to issue its bonds therefor 
and to secure the same by mortgages or deeds of trust on any part or all of its 
property and franchises; and said company shall possess all the powers and be 
subject to all the restrictions conferred on or provided for gas and electric 
companies formed under and by virtue of the General Incorporation Lows of the 
State of dryland, except in so far as said powers and restrictions may be 
inconsistent with the previsions of this Act. 

Sec. 7, AND BE IT ENACTED, That in cese the said company can not egree 
with the owner or owners or other persons interested in any land, easement, or 
rights which the scid corporation may have the power to acquire for its corporats 
purposes, as aforesaid, or if such owner or owners or other pernons interested, 
as aforesaid, Or any of them, be femme covert, without power to contract with 
relation to said property, or under age, or non compos mentus, or under pny 
other legal disability, or be absent from the county when the same may be needed, 
the said company may proceed to condemn and acquire the same in the manner 
provided for in Section 248 to Section 254, both inclusive, of Article 23 of the 
Code of Public General Laws of the Ste.te of Maryland. 

Sec. 8. AND BE IT ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect from the date 
of its passage. 

- 2 - 



Alten S. Miller was elected president of the Company and 
Thomas Hayward was chosen to be 3ec:'et;-ry-Treasurer . 

Stock in the Company was offered for sale and sold to 
people in Baltimore. A quantity of stock was sold but it was 
evident that more money would be needed to bu# the necessary 
equipment for the manuf -.cture of g~-s. It was, therefore, 
decided to increase the oapitalizati n of the Company by the 
board of directors and at an early meeting of the stockholders 
on November 6, 1906 at which every stockholder voted and it 
was unanimously decided to increase the capital stock from 
500 shares to 10U0 shares at $100 each, The proper notice 
was sent out making ^nown the increasing of the authorized 
capital of the Company from $50,000 to $100,000. 

Since the company was in reality an enterprise Instigated 
by the Bartlett-Hayward Company of New York, it had no paid 
offices as president, treasurer, and so forth, therefore, no 
money was spent for salaries. By 1910 there were but thirteen 
stockholders in the Company all of whom were residents of 

The planning of the operation of the Company and the 
design of the manufacturing plant was done by T. J. Hayward, 
N. P. Bond, and A. S. Miller,. In fact it was really these 
three men who accomplished all the engineering, legal and com- 
mercial service, design of plant, and the passage of the 
special act to incorporate the Company. 


Since **^* A. S. Miller had been connected with the Con- 

solidated Gas, Electric Light and Power Company of Baltimore 

their purchasing agent bought the necessary materials and 

supplies at the same pricea paid by his company. Also they 

bought some apparatus for the plant that had been previously 

used for a short time in other plants and tho as good as new 

cost very much less. 

The Company purchased eight aci 
of land on the north side of Hyatts- 
ville on some low land near the £>.*( 
railroad spur. The largest stock 
holder of the company contracted 
for the construction of the plant. 
While the plant was being built 
customers for the gas were solicited 
by the house to house method and by 
the time the company was ready to 
distribute gas about 800 customers had been obtained. 

The plant was designed and equipped to manufacture coal 
gas or producer gas by means of four benches of six retorts, 
each fixed at half depth; that is, fired fajom one side only 
by negro stokers. The gas was taken from the retorts to the 
purifier and then stored in the holder to await consumption. 

A small office was kept on Roger's Row, in Hyattsville, 
for local business, the Company was represented also in 
Baltimore but had its main business and executive office in 
New York City. 

7A/f 7*1 AN T A3Tr/S TODA V 


By the terms of the franchise the rate charged for the gas 
was $1,50 per 1000 cu. ft., but the Hyattsville pumping station 
obtained gas for $.90 per 1000 cu. ft. on a consumption of 
100,000 cu. ft. per month. The Company did not require de- 
posites from its customers and the first rate remained in 
effect for many years, 

G-as wt^s now being produced at Hyattsville and mains were 
laid for the distribution of the gas wherever there were suf- 
ficient users to warrant the expense. 

The most difficult part of 
the initiating of the enterprise 
haa been overcome and the Company 
had but to develop its natural 
growth in accordance with economic 
laws. The first epoch in the 
history of the Company was passed. 

It is interesting to note that 3 ovtH £WZ> a/r £VV$/A^7?loOA» 

at the incorporation of the Hyatts- 
ville G-as and Electric Company 

there was in existence no public body whose duty it would be 
to overlook and check all public utilities in the state in be- 
half of the people. In 1910, however, such a body was organized 
to be known as the Public Service Commission of Maryland. This 
body materially affected the activities of the Gas Company. 


The first work of the Commission was to obtain complete know- 
ledge of all existing public utilities in the state. There- 
after, all affairs of each utility w_:re to be reported to the 
commission and it was to act as mediator in all disputes of 
the fttility with the consumers and also to have power to 
authorize any changes in the management or finances of a 
utility. Since this is true, we have but to look in the re- 
cords of the Public Service Commission in order to obtain a 
complete andup to date history of e.-;ch nubile Utility Company 
in the state. With this in mind I have perused the Commis- 
sioner's filifes to obtain an authentic outline of the history 
of the Yfashington Suburban Gas Company, formerly known as the 
Hyattsville Gas and Electric Company. 

I have already outlined the early beginnings of the Company 
and its original incorporation and their work in financing, 
designing, and constructing the plant for the manufacture of 
gas . 

The first report of the Gas Company to the Public Service 
Commission was in the form of a resume of the first few years 
of its existence. This report was conclusive up to and in- 
cluding the month of June 1911. We find in this report that 
860 shares of capital stock had been sold for cash at par 
value and that all butr^BOQ had been invested in physical 
property. The chief engineer of the Public Service Commission 
reported that the plant was substantial, well constructed, 
and efficiently and economically operated; that the gas was of 


good quality and that the consumption had increased steadily. 
We also learned that no money had been spent for salaries of 
the Company's officers, dividends, or fees, but that all earn- 
ings had been applied to the extension and improvement of the 
Company's property. The financial reports showed that the 
Company had issued no bonds, but that it still owed $53,000 
to stockholders who advanced the money for construction pur- 
poses. The net income to the Company through the year 1910 
is $15698. 50. It was not until 1910 that the net income 
approached a fair income u oon the capital when it amounted to 
$8,263.49 for that year. We noticed, however, that no allowance 
was made for depreciation or officer's salaries in their re- 
port. The value of the physical property, at this tine, was 
estimated at $150,000 which included the expenditure of four 
years und the investment of the stockholders amounting to 
$100,000. The report also showed that the Company was not 
distributing any electricity but confining its efforts to the 
manufacture of gas, 

A tabulation of the report is as follows for 1910: 

Capital Stock #86,000 

Floating debt and bills payable, July 51, 1909 .. .#52, 000 
Bonded indebtedness $00,000.00 

A report for each year of its existence through 1910: 

Year Gas made in cu. ft. Gas sold in cu. ft. Ne* income 

Last five 

months of 2252100 1,970,400 _ $241.00 


1908 10,229,100 9,670,800 2,749.05 

1909 14,706,400 13,963,500 4,382,10 

1910 18,599,900 17,6^4,800 8,265.49 

Net total #15,698.50 

This report showed a rapid increase in net income for 


each year and steady growth in business. Officials of the 
Company were making every effort to improve the Company and 
to enlarge the plant so as to give better service. 

The franchise given by the town of Hyattsville to the 
Company stated a gas rate of $1.50 per 1000 cu. ft. but it 
was known to consumers in Hyattsville and vicinity that the 
rate on gas in Washington, D. 0. was $1.00 per 1000 cu. ft. 
and the rate in Baltimore, Maryland was $1.00 per 100 cu.ft. 
with a 10% reduction for prompt payment. This cause a some 
dissatisfaction and the Mayor and 
Common Council of Ht. Ranier, Md. 
and others filed a formal complaint 
with the Public Service Commission 
on March 30, 1911 to determine 
whether the present rate was too 
high and also to determine what \ i 
would bp a fair and just rate to 
charge. The Gas Company was re- 
presented in the case by John 
Semmes , a lawyer who acted as 

7rR£3Zi C/7?£ 'Pts/*?^ 

executor of John Hayward and took care of the Bartlett-Hayward 
interest. He explained to the Public Service Commission 
that the Company was young, operated in a sparsely settled 
territory, and that cost of mains, and other supplies were 
more than in the city. He showed that the Company had plans 
for a new gas holder, new pipes, and additional apparatus which, 


when obtained would lower the cost. Re emphasized that the 
Company paid no salaries to its officers nor allowed for de- 
preciation. The Public Service Commission reviewed the case 
on November 8, 1911 and dismissed the case by stating that it 
would not be just or proper at this tine to require the gas 
Company to reduce its rate. It is to be noted that the con- 
sumers made no complaint of the quality of the gas or service. 

Shortly after this trouble, the Gas Company was purchased 
by a firm known as Humphreys and Miller, Inc. who took the 
Company'., note for $58,000 on January 2, 1912. At this time 
the Company had 1200 customers, twenty miles of gas main and 
their net earnings were about $15,000 r>er year. The Company 
was making about fourteen million cubic feet of gas per year 
which carbonized about 1200 tons of coal. The Company, in 
1913, put out 32,000 gallons of tar and had 42,000 bushels of 
coke for sale. The Company was experiencing a constant growth 
in all departments and was, no doubt, a good investment. 
However, the Company had accumulated a debt by 1915 of $65,000 
in the form of a note from the Bartlett-Hayward Company of 
$3,000, one from the First National Bank of Hyattsville due 
on June 1, 1915 of $4,000 and the note of $58,000 payable on 
demand to Humphreys and Miller, Inc. The investment in the 
plant was #177,613*34 and on March 15, 1915 the property was 
valued at |266,552. The Company had declared a 9% cash dividend 
on May 1, 1914 and this was the only year that the Company aid 
not show a surplus of from $2,000 to $9,000 instead there was 


a deficit of $1,446.86. 


The Gas Company recognized its position and filed a 
petition with the Public Service Commission on March 16, 1915 
asking for authority to issue $101,000 of its first mortgage 
bonds at 6% to refund its obligations, the capitalization of 
its earnings used in the acquisition of property and for other 
capital purposes. The Company stated that they did not want 
to sell the bonds at onoe, nor to acquire more property. The 
Company report showed that the additions to the fixed capital 
between January 1, 1912 and February 28, 1915 amounted to 

The order of the application was published in the Hyatts- 
ville "Independent" on April 3, and April 10, 1915. 

The Public Service Commission reviewed the application 
and on July 28, 1915 authorized the Hyattsville Gas and Electric 
Company to issue first mortgage bonds at 6$, not exceeding 
$87,000 to pay bills of $65,000 and to pay $21,749.07 to the 
stockholders for expended earnings. The remaining money was 
to be put into the plant. 

The World War broke in on the activities of the Gas 
Company and materially affected its operation, although the 
management tried to carry on at the old rate of charge. The 
Company reached the highest peak of its earning in 1916 when 
the net was $15,500. The number of customers had increased 
and several more miles of main haa been laid. In January 1917 


the Company had declared a 9$ dividend to the stockholders. 

During the war and subsequently the Company f s service was 
below standard and an increasing cost of materials and labor 
was noticed. In fact, the Company suffered losses in 1918, 
1919, and 1920 amounting to $19,004.08. The Company had not 
paid the stockholders a cent since January 30, 1917 and it was 
apparent that it was operating at a loss. 

These conditions caused the management of the Gas Com- 
pany to increase the price of gas and the new rate was filed 
to become effective August 1, 1919. But even this new rate 
did not remedy the condition, and in the year ending June 30, 
1920 the Company failed to earn its operating expenses, and 
stated that the increased cost of coal, labor, and freight 
would serve to further the deficit at the old rate. Accord- 
ingly, on August 31, 1920 the Gas Company filed with the 
Public Service Commission arate schedule to become effective 
on October 1, 1920 increasing the rate to $2.00 per cu. ft. 
for the first 1000 cu. ft. and $1.75 per 600 cu. ft. for all 
gas in excess of 1000 cu . ft; there was also included a 
"rqpiness to serve" charge of fifty cents per month for each 

The people of Hyattsville and the vicinity learned of the 
proposed rate and on October 13, 1920 filed a formal complaint 
with the Public Service Commission against the new schedule. 
General hearings were held in Baltimore and at Mr. Ranier and 


the Public Service Commission employed a gas engineer from the 
Bureau of Standards to study and investigate the conditions of 
the plant, 

Mr-. Alten S. Miller, the president of the Gas Company, 
was out of town during these discussions so the work was 
handled by Robert 0. Luqueer, the secretary-treasure^ from the 
New York office, Mr, Luqueer put the Company r s case before the 
Public Service Commission. The objection to the new rate 
sehedul seemed to be the "readiness to serve" charge but the 
Public Service Commission showed that it was an authentic 
practice and one favored by other state Commissions. 

The Public Service Commission found that the Company T s 
finances were in good order, that maximum economy was practiced 
and that the quality and service of the gas was good. There- 
fore, the Public Sercice Commission issued an order on May 16, 
1920 to remain in effect for a period of two years, to become 
effective on June 1, 1921 that the maximum rate was to be 
$1,85 per 1000 cu. ft. for the first 10,000 cu. ft. and §1,60 
j>er 1000 cu. ft. for all gas in excess of 10,000 cul ft. also 
there was added a service aharge of fifty cents per meter. 

The people , however, were not satisfied and believed 
that the gas Company was not operating to charge the least 
rate. A complaint was filed by the Mayor and Common Council 
of Hyattsville against the Gas Company on April 10, 19^2 to 
require an appraisal of values of the Company r s property. 


An order was issued on September 22, 1922 showing the Company 
to have 1700 consumers, to be manufacturing 40,000 M cu. ft. 
of gas per year, and the total physical property was valued 
at $233,051.00. 

A tabulation of facts concerning the Company is as 
follows r 

No. of Consumers 

Miles of pipe 

Mas made 

Coal carbonized 

Tar made 

Coke for sale 

Net earning 

1912 to 1921 

1912 to 1921 
1908 to 1921 
1908 to 1921 

1913 to 1920 
19013 to 1921 
1907 to 1916 
1916 to 1921 

1200 to 1700 

20 to 26 
10 to 43 million cu. ft 
1000 to 4300 tons 
32,000 to 50,000 gal. 
$0.0 to $15,500 
$15,500 to $3,500 

The records of the Company show there was a decrease in 
earnings and that there w s constant trouble concerning the 
price of gas with the community organizations in the sections 

In 1922 the Company had 1914 customers in Hyattsville, 
Mt. Ranier, Riverdale, College Park, and contiguous territory 
on the boundary of the District of Columbia. It had 27.2 
miles of main and in 1923 the amount of gas sold was approxi- 
mately 45 million cu. ft. The profits in 1922, because of 
the unusual conditions, were slightly above $9,000. At this 
time, the Company had great difficulty in securing capital 
for extensions, so an increase of business was not encouraged. 
The Company felt the needof plant additions and a new holder 
which would increase business and income. 

Mr. Alten S. Miller was not satisfied and to quote his 


own words, "I sold my interest because the Publis Service 

Commissi .m of Maryland ordered an unremunerative selling 

price for gas and as a result it was not possible to sell 

bonds or stock on the property. I accepted an offer of a 

holding Company to purchase the property and when I sold I 

resigned as president and/other officers with me." He 

further stated, "Politicians tried to make capital out of the 

Company's form of rate and the Public Service Commission set 

a rate that did not return 5$ on the value of the property. 

I was not in a position to go into extended litigation and, 

therefore, sold out at a very substantial sacrifice. " 

Thus we find that the Gas Company had no bonded in- 
debtedness in 1924 though the right to issue bonds had been 

Jermyn and White of Scranton bought the C mpany and in 
Movember 1924 took Its note for $167,718. This firm set 
about to increase the value of the Company; and they mort- 
gaged the Company to the extent of $277,000 at 6^$ due in 
1948 with the Pennsylvania Company for Insurance of Lives 
and Granting Annuties on February 1, 1925, They next filed a 
petition with the Public Service Commission on ffiaroh, 5, 1925. 
for authorization to issue $ 277, 000, principal amount of its 
first mortgage 6^bonds. The order was issued March 17, 1925 
granting permission, but that at the end of each six months 
the Company must file a report with the Public Service 
Commission showing to what useathe money was being spent. 


On March 17, 1925 the application of the Eastern States 
Public Utilities Company was received and permission was 
granted by the Public Service Commission for it to acquire 
the capital stock of $86,000 for 2580 shares of the capital 
stock also to acquire the first mortgage of $277,000 on the 

The new owners set about to enlarge the Gas plant and 
the first step was to buy a new gas holder. A 500,000 cu. ft. 
holder was bought and installed for $52,000. 

The next step was to modernize the method of manufacture 
of gas since the process being used was clumsy and there was 
little control over the quality of the gas. Machinery was 
installed to make carburetted water gas by the "cracking" 
of oil. This plant required less ground area, less capital 
expenditure for materials as coal. The carburetted water 
gas is more flexible as to output and heating value and 
the plant could be shut down or started in a few hours. 

A meeting of the board of directors was held on 
April 30, 1927 and an amendment was passed to change the 
name of the Gas Company to the "Washington Suburban Gas 

The Gas plant had been greatly improved and, since 
the present owners were of a speculative nature, they sold 


th e Company at a large gain. 

On July 6, 192? the Public Service Commission issued 
an order to allow the Pennsylvania Gas and Electric Company 
to buy the Company for $373,000 in cash and authority to 
acquire the $277,000 bond for $127,000 in cash and a note 
for $150,000. 

The new owner held a banquet in Hyattsv:lle and in- 
vited the town politicians and promised them a better and 
cheaper gas, also to remove the so thought obnoxious service 

The new rate was put into effect, but it was soon 
apparent that gas was costing the people more than before. 
The Mayor and Common Council filed a petition with the 
Public Service Council and on May 31, 1928 it issued an 
order to bring back the old rate. 

The present owners completed the work of remodeling 
the plant and built a siding up to the coal bunker. 

The Company is thoroughly modernised and efficient; 
it is backed by Stevens and Wood of New York City, which 
is a holding Company and controls the Pennsylvania Gas and 
Electric Company. 



The material for this paper was 
obtained principally from the Public 
Service Commission of the State of 
Maryland; also from the records of 
the G-as Company; by letters from 
Mr. Alten S. Miller, former president 
of the Company; letters from Mr. Ro- 
bert Luqueer , former Secretary- 
Treasurer of the Company. I also 
had interviews with Mr. Leonard, the 
present manager and Mr. MacFarland, 
an employee. Some matter was obtained 
from the "Hyatt svi lie Independent" 
and the "Intelligences", an early 
Washington newspaper. 

Contro/ 7?OOA7