The new company built what would now seem
like an unusual boiler plant. Forty-eight, 250 hp
boilers were installed-16 on each of three floors.
Three miles of mains were laid during the first
year, using mineral wool as insulation.
The first customer was the United Bank Building at Broad and '!\Tall Streets which peculiarily
began taking steam on March 3, 1882 for power,
pumping and elevator operation-not heating.
The great blizzard of 1888 settled any doubt
that remained as to reliability of the service.
The steam system in Lockport and New York
City were comparatively high pressure. However,
there were at the time many small electric companies with plants located in business and industrial districts in which electric generators were
driven by reciprocating engines and exhaust steam
wasted to the atmosphere. Engineers saw a chance
to utilize this waste steam at a profit. Service was
provided in many cities and towns, especially along
the Lakes. The number of steam companies
D. W. Loucks-1949
G. H. Tuttle-19S0
A. T. Veness-19S1
In time, however, three changes in the electric
business affected and for a time almost knocked
out the steam business.
1. Electric turbines replaced reciprocating engines in the generating of electricity. There was
no longer any exhaust steam available for heating,
and condensing water did not have a high enough
temperature for heating.
2. Larger electric plants became the rule, replacing groups of smaller ones and these plants
were moved away from congested areas as electric
transmission became possible over greater distances.
3. As generation of electricity became less expensive in larger plants, the smaller ones in town
from which steam was obtained became obsolescent.
Steam, which had been regarded as an inexpensive by-product and sold by the electric companies at a very low price, had to bring a return
or at least balance expenses. Some ultilities quit.
Others were able to raise their rates.
The district heating industry had been in need
of a means of exchanging information pertaining
to the management and operation of district heating systems almost from the beginning. The customary method of exchange of information was
for equipment salesman to pass along knowledge
which they picked up on their travels. They did a
good job, but there was no means of making a
permanent record and no definite plan for increasing the fund of knowledge.
The old Ohio Electric Light Association held
a meeting in the popular old Boody House (with
a fireplace in each of its 133 rooms) in July 1909.
During this meeting David L. Gaskill of Greenville, Ohio OELA Secretary, was asked by W. A.
Wools of Columbus if a group interested in district
heating could hold a meeting during the afternoon
(July 9), when the auditorium would not be in use.
All facilities were readily offered.
The record shows that at least the following
were on hand:
A. N. Cope, Springfield, Ohio
Edward F. Gwynne, Delaware, Ohio
Colonel D. J. Hard, Cleveland Power &
Grant Miller, Toledo, Ohio
A. C. Rogers, Toledo, Ohio
W. A. Wolls, Columbus Railway Power &
At the meeting a decision was reached and the
groundwork laid to hold a convention at the
Southern Hotel in Columbus the following October.