Blog en-us Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 MSTimages/header.jpg Thomson Houston 1880’s Dynamo Generator Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 MST


View the Video on you Tube

The Edmonton Power Historical Foundation is excited to have this Thomson Houston dynamo running again in time to commemorate the 125th anniversary of electric lights in Edmonton. The first generator to provide electric power in 1891 in Edmonton was a Thomson Houston, albeit an alternating current unit. On December 22, 1891 along the main street of Jasper Avenue in the tiny village of Edmonton, North West Territories, the electric lights came on. 


After replacing the bearings, repairing the broken wiring and cleaning the commutator and brush gear we attached an electronic speed control to power the unit as a motor.


This rare vintage DC dynamo built sometime in the 1880"s had a rated output of 30,000 Watts at 110 volts.

Due to the fragile insulation, we are unwilling to spin it at the recommended generation speed of 1150 rpm. Instead, we are applying 12V DC at about 35 amps to display it running, but at a safer speed of 50 rpm.


The spherical (or ball) armature is a unique feature of Thomson Houston DC dynamos of this period. Other distinctive features are the iron bars to connect the field poles and the unusual brass wire mesh brushes.


It is rather impressive that after 125 years the unit still runs.


Generator Synchronization Interactive Display Tue, 15 Mar 2016 00:00:00 MST

A Generator Synchronizing procedure is used to safely connect an A.C. generator to another running generator or to the grid.

 Before closing the breaker several conditions have to be met on the incoming machine:

  • The frequency must match the running system

  • The Voltage must match the running system

  • The phase angle of the incoming generator must match the phase angle of running system precisely at the moment the breaker is closed to tie the systems together.

This panel has double running and incoming frequency and volt meters, a rotary analog synchroscope (also lamps) to match phase angle, an oscilloscope to visualize the process, and controls to change the incoming voltage and frequency.

Mercury Arc Rectifier Sat, 5 Mar 2016 00:00:00 MST

View a Video of an Operating Rectifier

Mercury Arc Rectifiers were used to convert Alternating Current (AC) power to Direct Current (DC) power. They were used by Edmonton Power starting in the 1920s until they were phased out in the 1990s.

Mercury Arc Rectifiers were used mainly to provide DC power for Edmonton's street cars and trolley buses.

Note: the photo the bulbs on the right were taken at Fort Edmonton Park 2012-09-13 at 5:36 PM

they last ran in Oct of 2012


Reated item: meter

Belliss and Morcom Steam Engine Wed, 24 Feb 2016 00:00:00 MST

The Belliss and Morcom Steam Engine represents several steam engines used in the 1903 generating station.

A steam engine is an external combustion heat engine that makes use of the heat energy that exists in steam and converting it to mechanical energy.

Steam engines were used as the prime movers in pumping stations, locomotives, steam ships, traction engines, steam lorries and other road vehicles. They were essential to the Industrial Revolution and saw widespread commercial use driving machinery in factories and mills.

Most steam engines have been superseded by internal combustion engines and electrical motors. However, steam turbines, which are technically a type of steam engine, are still widely used for generating electricity.



Nameplate from side of Engine End view of Generator

See Animation of steam plant

Video - Edison Bipolar Dynamo (Generator) Mon, 15 Feb 2016 00:00:00 MST

View the Video on you Tube

An Edison Direct Current 6 kilowatt, 125-volt, bipolar dynamo/generator comes alive in the Edmonton Power Historical Foundation ( Museum.

We restored a vintage 1890 Edison dynamo which now runs as a direct current electric motor.

The armature and field coil electrical integrity checked out okay, and

the field coils were wrapped with manila rope. The base, frame, and wood terminal boards were refurbished and painted.

To display the dynamo running at slow speed (0-150 rpm), a PWM speed controller powered by a 12-volt battery was connected. Two vintage voltmeters, an ammeter and two switches were incorporated into the display. A timer circuit stops the unit after a 40 second run. Visitors seem to enjoy starting the unit with the vintage switch, watching the armature slowly accelerating to 60 to 85 rpm.

This Edison Bipolar Dynamo (direct current generator)  arrived at the museum in October 2014, from Grand Forks B.C.          

  • Edison General Electric Co.  
  • Schenectady Works
  • No. 803  
  • 6 Kilo Watts  
  • 125 Volts D.C  
  • Edison System Patented 1879 - 1882
February 2016 Newsletter Mon, 25 Jan 2016 00:00:00 MST


Edmonton Power Historical Foundation

 February 2016

~ Newsletter ~

    Work on our # 10 Rossdale Turbine display is complete except for a few minor touches, but there is still a lot of other work to keep us busy. Our volunteers have completed the video of the Edison Bipolar Dynamo to be used on our website and during museum shows. Also we are working on a title and description for a "YouTube" presentation. We are busy working on updating our website. The home page photos have been updated. Photos have been added to the "Museum Turbine" section in "Galleries". A new item, "DC Traction" has been added to Galleries, and another new item, "rural/low voltage battery is a work in progress. The "transmission" section is being updated as well. Check out the website, , (

     December 22, 2016 is the 125th anniversary of electric light in Edmonton. Our application to light the High Level Bridge in honor of this milestone has been successful. The bridge will illuminate white and yellow starting around sunset and go dark around 1:00 AM.

     This fall we acquired a 1901 Emerson ½ horsepower electric motor. Apparently Emerson only manufactured 3500 of these motors and that only 15 of these are still known to exist. One is currently on display in the Smithsonian. We have done a lot of work to get this motor to the state its in now. We have had success in getting it to run, but it still requires a little more work. 



The EPHF Annual General Meeting was held at the Mill Woods Golf Course on October 29, 2015. The first order of business was the election of directors, with Paul Collis, Geoff Wagner, Joe Moran, John Byron and Ed Spezowka being re-elected.


     2016 Events

  • LWAS will be hosting the following events.
  • May 21 - Tractor Pull. This event will no longer include a swap meet due to lack of participation.
  • July 23 & 24 - Annual Exposition.
  • September 10 - Fall Harvest & Tractor pull.


    We require a list of volunteers who are willing to act as tour guides for our event shows and school tours. Three to four guides minimum are required per tour. Could interested members please let Paul Collis know @ 780-471-4285 or email  (

     For directions to our site and more information on our museum please visit our website, (

Spring Show Fri, 15 Jan 2016 00:00:00 MST

The EPHF Museum will be open for its Spring show on May 20, 2017

Our museum is located on the grounds of the Leduc West Antique Society Grounds, five km west of Leduc off Highway 39. Go North on Range Road 260 (Cohne Dale Road) about a mile , the museu is on your right. Map at bottom of home page

Come out and join us for a day of fun and to check out all our interactive exhibits.

Museum Opening Sun, 10 Jan 2016 00:00:00 MST

2017 EPHF Events:



On May 20, 2017 EPHF Museum will be open for it's Spring Show in conjunction with the Leduc West Show.

July 22 and 23, 2017 for our Summer Show in conjunction with the 27th Annual Leduc West Exposition.

EPHF will be open September 09, 2017 Fall Harvest Show and Tractor Pull.

Come out and see us.