Monday, July 20, 2009
1910 to 1914 The Pre-war Years.
Experience with the earlier compressors had led to an improvement in design and efficiency. The Ragged Chutes Air Plant ran at 82% efficiency.
There are several inherent advantages to this system. The air is drier than that obtained from mechanical compressors because of its close proximaty to cold water. It does not contain the oil and fumes associated with mechanical compressors. The initial cost is about equal to that of other compressors however operating costs are almost nil. In its day the rates charged were 25 cents per 1000 cu. ft. This was substantially less than other air companies in the area. As a result, Cobalt Power was able to buy out the others.
The Cobalt plant has worked almost continuously since 1910. In 1950 the plant was shut down to overhaul the intake pipes. 86 tubes were repalced due to corrosion. Again in 1961 the tunnel was dewatered to facilitate some repairs to the air pipe. This in itself is truly remarkable and pays tribute to Taylor's inventive genius and design skills.
Within a few short years Taylor had disagreements with his financial backers over operating policies so he resigned and left the business. The plant was later sold to the Northern Ontario Power Company.
Ontario Hydro now owns the plant, which has since been destroyed by fire, and has no plans to rebuild it at this time. No more plants can be built privately today, as the waterways are now controlled by the government. ( * Special note: The plant has since been destroyed by fire. All that remains are the tubes)
During the 1930's, the Tennesseee Valley Authority, using Taylor plans, built a 50,000 H.P. plant. One of the designers misread a measurement by a decimal point and plant efficiency was reduced to 10%. This illustrates how accurate the original Taylor design had been.