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.
LARLY ISTORY 0? GAS LIGHTING IN WASHINGTON', D. G.
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
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.
PLANS FOR ORGANIZATION OF HYATTSVILLE GAS AND EL2CTRIC COMPANY.
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.
INCORPORATION OF GAS COMPANY BY ACT OF LEGISLATURE.
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,
PROVISIONS OF ACT
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.
THC FIH3T G}A3 HOLZULp*
^6sr / C - <6_^ jf &J '?» C
to incorporate the
HYATTSVILLE GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY.
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 -
OFFIOERS ELECTED AND STOCE SOLD.
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
DESIGN OF PLANT
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.
CONSTRUCTION OF PLANT AND OFFICE.
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 $.90 per 1000 cu. ft. on a consumption of
100,000 cu. ft. per month. The Company did not require de-
posites from its customers and the first rate remained in
effect for many years,
OPERATION OF GaJ PLANT,
G-as wt^s now being produced at Hyattsville and mains were
laid for the distribution of the gas wherever there were suf-
ficient users to warrant the expense.
PROGRESS OF THE COMPANY.
The most difficult part of
the initiating of the enterprise
haa been overcome and the Company
had but to develop its natural
growth in accordance with economic
laws. The first epoch in the
history of the Company was passed.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSI N.
It is interesting to note that 3 ovtH £WZ> a/r £VV$/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 COMPANY r S REPORT TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION.
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
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.
FIRST RATE COMPLAINT.
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.
GAS COMPANY IS SOLD TO HUMPHREYS A?;D MILLER, INC.
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.
GAS COMPANY OBTAINED PERMISSION TO ISSUE BONDS.
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.
PROGRESS OF COMPANY DURING AND AFTER THE WORLD WAR.
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.
FIRST RATE INCREASE
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
SECOND RATE V.AR
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
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.
DISSATISFACTION ;.ITH PUBLIC SERVICE C0M"IS3IGN f 3 DJtDIR,
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
A tabulation of facts concerning the Company is as
No. of Consumers
Miles of pipe
Coke for sale
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 $9,000. At this
time, the Company had great difficulty in securing capital
for extensions, so an increase of business was not encouraged.
The Company felt the needof plant additions and a new holder
which would increase business and income.
HUMPHREYS AND MILLER, INC. SELL COMPANY TO 3CRANT0N FIRM.
Mr. Alten S. Miller was not satisfied and to quote his
own words, "I sold my interest because the Publis Service
Commissi .m of Maryland ordered an unremunerative selling
price for gas and as a result it was not possible to sell
bonds or stock on the property. I accepted an offer of a
holding Company to purchase the property and when I sold I
resigned as president and/other officers with me." He
further stated, "Politicians tried to make capital out of the
Company's form of rate and the Public Service Commission set
a rate that did not return 5$ 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.
GAS COMPANY AGAIN SOLD.
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
IMPROVEMENTS MAPS IN GAS COMPANY'S PLANT.
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.
NAME OE GAS COMPANY CHANGED.
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
COMPANY IS AGAIN SOLD.
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
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
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