Powerhouses of the Sierra Nevada, California (Images of America Series)

( 1 )

Overview


The historic powerhouses of the Sierras have been powering much of California's growth for the past hundred years or so. Located in canyons where water can be dropped thousands of feet from ridges above, they were California's first source of electrical power. The oldest powerhouses were built by survivors of the original gold rush, who turned metalworking and pipe-fitting skills to the task of generating electricity. The resulting machines were curious amalgamations of steam valves, riveted pipes, waterwheels, ...
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Overview


The historic powerhouses of the Sierras have been powering much of California's growth for the past hundred years or so. Located in canyons where water can be dropped thousands of feet from ridges above, they were California's first source of electrical power. The oldest powerhouses were built by survivors of the original gold rush, who turned metalworking and pipe-fitting skills to the task of generating electricity. The resulting machines were curious amalgamations of steam valves, riveted pipes, waterwheels, and rudimentary electrical devices imported from the East Coast. These views show how miners chipped out a small ledge on a granite cliff hundreds of feet below Spaulding Lake dam to create an anchor point for a powerhouse that seems embedded in the rock itself. They also celebrate the genius of mining-camp tinkerer Lester Pelton, who, in 1880, invented a more efficient waterwheel capable of spinning a generator shaft at high speed. His invention bore his name, and the basic design is used to this day throughout the world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738547572
  • Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
  • Publication date: 5/23/2007
  • Series: Images of America Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 687,814
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author


Photojournalist Steve Hubbard has written extensively on this fascinating subject and spent several years researching private collections and those of Pacific Gas and Electric Company to present the story of how these powerhouses came to be.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     6
Introduction     7
The Visionaries and Their Newfangled Apparatus     9
Anatomy of a Powerhouse     25
Camp Life in the Mountains     39
The Builders     55
Folsom Powerhouse     89
Wise Powerhouse     99
The Bear River System     105
The Lonely Life of the Ditch Tender     117
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Splendidly written and illustrated, this book serves as a marker

    Splendidly written and illustrated, this book serves as a marker to all current engineers that, despite all their fancy Computational Fluid Dynamics algorithms and state-of-the-art materials science and metallurgy, they can still only manage to build a turbine/generator that lasts only 20 years. Over a hundred years ago, these early pioneers of electricty and power transmission designed and built hydro powerplants in the harshest  of environments (literally, not figuratively; they didn't have the luxury of obsessively worrying about the planet), using the most common of tools (the steam-driven drill was a breakthrough, then; saved time).  These were the Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs of their era, and electricity then was what the Internet is now: the next frontier.  They conquered it with common sense, superior intellect, and a simple mantra: "When in doubt, build it stout."  MANY of these historic powerplants are still in operation today, some with the original equipment!  Amazing!mantra

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