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Maine Memory Network

Electrical Beginnings

Hydro turbine and electric generator, 1904

Hydro turbine and electric generator, 1904

Item 75556 info
Maine Historical Society

As manufacturing in Maine increased, so did demand for power. The early forms of water, steam, and wind power were transformed or replaced when electrical technology became practical in the 1890s, and when demand and competition necessitated change.

Later generation of electricity that could be used away from the river itself required a dam on a river where there is a large drop in elevation.

A water intake, or penstock, allows the water to flow through the dam from top to bottom, where it turns a propeller or turbine. A governor controls the amount of water flowing through the system to keep the turbine spinning at a constant rate.

A shaft connects the turbine to a generator, which produces electric current as it spins. Power lines then connect to the generator and carry electricity into the electric grid.


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