In early 1882, U.S. industry was still heavily dependent on the water wheel, and many housewives cooked on wood-burning stoves. Power was made where it was used because there was no effective means of transmitting energy long distances. But 1882 was a year of dramatic changes. The world was just beginning to grasp the implications of a new, incredibly versatile form of energy—electricity.
POWER magazine was launched that year, not too long after introduction of the first practical steam engine by James Watt in England. The steam engine enabled development of industries based on mechanical—rather than human or animal—energy. Soon, just about every manufacturing plant had its own steam-engine power plant. During this paradigm-shifting period, POWER participated in the development of the engines that powered the Industrial Revolution.
From the beginning, POWER had to keep editorial pace with a fast-developing technology and a market strongly influenced by the fantastic economic growth of the post–Civil War period. New products and scientific advances proliferated, and the magazine’s pages reflected the changing world around it. Each issue was packed with drawings and discussions of new inventions and their applications.
The images included in the Tweets that follow came directly from the pages of POWER magazine, offering a glimpse into the past and a visual history of how the power industry has changed since 1882.
From the pages of POWER magazine: The boiler shown in this image exploded in Roswell, N.M., on the morning of December 21, 1911. “One man was seriously injured and 15 others experienced a miraculous escape.” #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/wFaqeD3fBi
— POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) April 12, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: The #Wisconsin state capitol building was constructed from 1906 to 1917. The building and grounds were initially furnished with heat, light, power, and water by the plant shown here, which included four coal-fired boilers. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/ue3nbpa5DU
— POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) April 5, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: Using fossil and #renewable energy to complement each other is not a new thing. In 1912, the Windsor Locks, Ct., plant pictured here was used to supply peak loads when #hydropower was inadequate or water levels were low. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/rTfxWGqE8u — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) March 15, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: The San Joaquin #hydropower plant (circa 1911) included four 4,000-kW generators driven by Doble impulse wheels, operating under a static head of 1,405 ft. It supplied power to Fresno and six other #California counties. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/tFsMcGgcV8 — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) March 8, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: Boiler explosions like the one that destroyed this sawmill near Joliet, Illinois, are much less common today than in the 1900s. Investigators said the safety valve “had not blown for a long time” based on appearances. #TBT #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/WXfxz0ZyHL — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) March 1, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: POWER has always taken pride in giving readers detailed and useful information. A 1912 issue provided construction details for a Brownhoist suspended coal bin. #TBT pic.twitter.com/HeVrq28PG5 — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) February 22, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: The @GE_Power 15-MW vertical, four-stage Curtis-type turbo-generator shown here was put into service at the Manchester St. power station in Providence, R.I., in 191. The cost totaled $340,000. It used 150# steam and 75F superheat. #TBT pic.twitter.com/q58Z089Tff — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) February 15, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: The 29 boilers and 159 furnaces in the boiler room of the #Titanic required about 180 men to operate. The image shown here, from the April 30, 1912, issue of POWER, is of the 13 engine room survivors. #TBT pic.twitter.com/vvawf8vjmF — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) February 8, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine (circa 1907): The engine room of the Falk Co. power plant in Milwaukee, Wis., included a 550-kW main generator and a 125-kW auxiliary generator, both driven by Allis-Chalmers horizontal cross-compound Corliss engines. #TBTpic.twitter.com/xJ7bQKmXZz — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) February 1, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: The engine room of San Diego Electric Ry. Co.’s generating station at Arctic and E streets is shown in this image (circa 1912). A cross-compound Allis-Chalmers Corliss engine is shown connected to a 1,200-kW Westinghouse generator. #TBT pic.twitter.com/IrPIpgSY7f — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) January 18, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: Kansas City’s Turkey Creek Pumping Station included six Aultman & Taylor oil-burning water-tube boilers of 350 HP each. Some of the boilers are shown here in 1912. #TBT pic.twitter.com/NM5KtiYM4N — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) January 11, 2018
From the pages of POWER magazine: Built in 1904, the Missouri River Power Station stood at the corner of 2nd St. and Grand Ave. in Kansas City, Mo. Emission controls have come a long way since then! #TBT pic.twitter.com/S6RVurc5IB — POWER magazine (@POWERmagazine) January 4, 2018