ASME-Landmark:Edgar Station, Edison Electric Illuminating Co.


The Edgar Station high-pressure topping turbine and boiler set a new record for economy in the mid-1920s by producing electricity at the rate of 1 kilowatt hour per 1 pound of coal, when it was common to burn 5 to 10 pounds. Boston Edison achieved this feat by operating a boiler and turbine unit at 1,200 pounds of steam pressure and exhausting into a 350-pound steam header. This "high-pressure" unit, the only one of its kind in the world, was developed under the supervision of Irving Moultrop.

Another first was the x-raying of steel piping and turbine casings to ensure a flawless subsurface, which is still standard procedure today.

The station is named for Charles L. Edgar, an electrical engineer, who studied under Thomas Alva Edison and served as president of Boston Edison for 32 years. During his presidency, Edgar Station set a United States commercial record for the efficient use of high-pressure steam for electric generation.

When the station was fueled by coal, its yards held nearly 300,000 tons of coal. The slanting coal chute spanning the access street to the Fore River Bridge is a landmark for lost travelers. Today, Edgar Station's coal yards have been replaced with residual oil storage tanks, although the long-familiar coal chute remains. And while the days of 12,000-ton colliers unloading coal at 800 tons an hour are history, the station stands as a monument to the efficiency and reliability of Boston engineering. See ASME website for more information