- Collection ID:
Hartford Electric Light Company.
Foster Wheeler Corporation
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Babcock and Wilcox Company.
Emmet, William Le Roy, 1859-
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Work and Industry
1920 - 1961
- Physical Description:
The Emmet Mercury Boiler Records contains information about General Electric Company and Hartford Electric Light Company's development, installation, and use of William Le Roy Emmet's mercury boiler units. The mercury boiler units used mercury fluid along with steam power to improve cycle efficiency in converting coal or oil to electric power. The collection contains articles, news clippings, reports, instruction manuals, log books, data sheets, photographs, and drawings related to the experimental unit installed at Dutch Point, Connecticut, and the first commercial use of a mercury boiler at the South Meadow Station in Hartford, Connecticut.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection documents the construction, operation, and demolition of mercury boiler generating units developed by William Le Roy Emmet and installed by the Hartford Electric Light Company in Hartford, Connecticut. The collection contains articles and research about the use of mercury and the development and implementation of mercury boilers. Also included is general correspondence between Hartford Electric Light Company and General Electric Company, operational logs, collected data, instructional guides, inspection reports, and photographs and drawings for the Dutch Point Mercury Boiler and the South Meadow Station.
The collection is arranged into four series.
Series 1: Background and Research on Mercury Boilers, 1920-1961
Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1950
Series 3: Dutch Point Mercury Boiler Operational Records, 1923-1949 Subseries 3.1: Data Sheets and Reports, 1923-1927
Subseries 3.2: Log Books and Instructions, 1924-1949
Subseries 3.3: Photographs and Drawings, 1923-1927
Series 4: South Meadow Station Operational Records, 1928-1961
Subseries 4.1: Data Sheets and Reports, 1928-1961
Subseries 4.2: Log Books and Instructions, 1928-1955
Subseires 4.3: Photographs and Drawings, 1928,1955
The mercury boiler was developed by a General Electric Company's engineer, William Le Roy Emmet, to use mercury fluid in conjunction with steam power to improve cycle efficiency in converting coal or oil to electric power. An experimental mercury-steam generating unit was installed by Hartford Electric Light Company in 1923 at Dutch Point, Connecticut. In June 1927, ground was broken for the South Meadow Station in Hartford, Connecticut, and Babcock and Wilcox Company was contracted for the boiler. This unit was the first commercial installation in the nation and was based on the data collected from the Dutch Point unit. The Dutch Point unit was damaged during the course of operations and was permanently shut down by Emmet in September 1927. Emmet requested that all efforts be focused on the South Meadow Station. In August 1947, the first commercial unit at South Meadow Station was taken out of service and disposed of, and a second unit was installed and put into use on January 1, 1949. The engineering company, Foster Wheeler, was used to help design the second unit. During inspections in 1959 and 1960, it was discovered that the second unit had a wastage issue, and the unit was then operated at half load capacity for the remainder of 1960. On January 4, 1961, the second unit was removed from operation, and on April 19, 1961 it was officially retired. The mercury was removed and sold to Woodbridge Chemical Corporation. The decision was made to not to replace it with another mercury unit.
Processed by Sara Wheeler, July 2017; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Emmet Mercury Boiler Records, 1920-1961, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Work and Industry in 2006.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012