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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/569

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The Czar of the Power-House

���By the mere pushing of a few buttons on his desk the man who controls the deUvery of current from a great power-house can stop all street cars, put out all lights and shut down hundreds of businesses dependent upon the power

��TIIM man who controls {hu oiiti;()iiig current from a central power-house is a Czar whose domain may co\'er all territory within a radius of one hun- dred to five hundred miles of the station. By the mere pusliingof a few buttons on his desk he can sto|) all street-car systems and every inlerurban railroad. He can put out every light, cool every electric ilaliron, cause mills to shut down — in fact deaden every acti\ity in his territory dependent upon electric power. The men down in the great power plants await his call. At a signal from him they let loose or restrain huge turbines — machines in some cases each capable'of putting forth ten or tweKe thousand horsepower, more sometimes than half a state uses in all its industrial acti\itics. Outside men patrol the long transmission lines. If trouble develops in any one district an automatic signaling system apprises the dispatcher of the fact, and by means of teleiihones at his elliow he

��mobilizes the men. All energies are bent toward making immediate repairs.

If a lightning and rain storm is ap- proaching, a wireless s^-stem acquaints him of its coming. Lightning is the dis- patcher's principal enemy. Often the wireless system tells of approaching storms, e\en though the sky be clear.

Only in times of emergency does the load-dispatcher exert his full powers. Huge central stations are often under contract to supply uninterrupted service. Sometimes they incur heavy penalties if contracts are not carried out. The dispatcher is simply a man made in part responsible for the smooth work- ing of the system. When the street cars, elevatetls, and subwa>s are taxed to the utmost in carrying home-going crowds, he is the man who has had extra boilers put in service and extra engines started in order to carr>' the suddenly increased load. So, too, he prepares for the many lights of evening.

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