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Distribution: Employees & Safety

This slideshow contains 28 items
1
Cumberland County Power & Light crew, Portland, ca. 1915

Cumberland County Power & Light crew, Portland, ca. 1915

Item 74749 info
Maine Historical Society

It was employees, many unidentified in these images, whose work built the foundations of electrical service in the state.

The nature of work in the electric industry has changed over the past 120 years. Early workers relied on horse drawn wagons, mechanical technology, and their own agility, while workers today use bucket trucks, advanced digital equipment, and far more comprehensive safety devices.

Members of the Portland Cumberland County Power & Light crew at left, pose on truck No. 6-12.

The employees are, from left, Walter Pierce, Frankie Lambert, Bill Girard, Ray Benson, and Guy Hunter -- all on the bed of the truck; and Herman Prevost , Sid Boudnay, and Charley Foren, standing on the ground.


2
Electrical line crew, 1900

Electrical line crew, 1900

Item 18992 info
Maine Historical Society

Colonel William H. Williams supervises a line crew in the Augusta area, ca. 1900.

Herbert Rideout is standing on the top of the pole.


3
Electric line crew, ca. 1910

Electric line crew, ca. 1910

Item 74444 info
Maine Historical Society

Workers on an unidentified electric utility line crew and several managers or other officials pose in front of their wagon.


4
Portland Railroad Co. trolley and workers

Portland Railroad Co. trolley and workers

Item 74439 info
Maine Historical Society

Posing with Portland Railroad Co. Car #175 are, from left, Frank Roderick, Eben Walker, superintendent of St. John Street; David Welk, Bill Witham, Lawrence Ebbesen, Jim McCusick, Frank Larrabee with Bill Bailey, the cat; Fat Houghton, Larry Steele, Tripp, Charley Weatherbee, and Adolph Gallant.


5
York County Power Co. employees, Biddeford, 1914

York County Power Co. employees, Biddeford, 1914

Item 74438 info
Maine Historical Society

Employees of York County Power Co. are, from left, Ferdinand Octavius Bouthilette, also known as Pat Brown, the Biddeford Appliance credit manager; Ella E. Tarbox, bookkeeper and later office clerk; Marjoline Patten, office bookkeeper; Albert Cartier, store salesman and office boy; Elna Campbell, office bookkeeper; Frances E. Googins, supervisor of office bookkeeping; Jeremy G. Shaw, one of the company's founders; William E. Shaw, son of the founder and manager of the Biddeford office; Frances Buzzell, office bookkeeper; and Eve Cartier, Biddeford Store cashier.

Jeremy Shaw founded York Light & Heat Co., which was incorporated March 12, 1891. The utility later became York County Power Co., then became part of Cumberland County Power & Light in 1914, and finally, part of Central Maine Power Co.


6
Power company employee badge, ca. 1915

Power company employee badge, ca. 1915

Item 74748 info
Maine Historical Society

A Cumberland County Power & Light Co. employee badge bears the number "11" and the words "Meter Maintenance."

Badges helped the public ensure that people reading meters and working on lines were legitimate power company employees.


7
Electric workers labor agreement, Portland, 1917

Electric workers labor agreement, Portland, 1917

Item 74751 info
Maine Historical Society

A labor agreement between Portland-based Cumberland County Power and Light and its railway employees, delineates wages, hours, holidays, and more.

The workers were part of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America.

In 1917, a first year conductor made 29 cents per hour.


8
Cumberland County Power and Light employees, 1927

Cumberland County Power and Light employees, 1927

Item 74442 info
Maine Historical Society

Cumberland County Power and Light was incorporated in 1909 and served southern Maine until its merger with Central Maine Power in 1942.

The CCP&L showroom and the signage on the vehicles all promote the "Easy" brand of appliances.

Writing on the car roofs announces, "Try One Free." One sign notes the company's 50th anniversary, harkening back to the founding in 1877 of the Cumberland Illuminating Company.

Larger companies acquired smaller ones before CCP&L was formed.


9
Electric linemen on pole, 1930

Electric linemen on pole, 1930

Item 74753 info
Maine Historical Society

Two unidentified electric linemen pose on a power pole in 1930.


10
Wendell B. Willett identification card, Saco, 1942

Wendell B. Willett identification card, Saco, 1942

Item 74754 info
Maine Historical Society

Wendell B. Willett (1918-2008), a lifelong resident of Saco, worked for Cumberland County Power & Light and the Central Maine Power Company for over 40 years.

His identification card shows his image and his job, "meter reader."

He attended the Thornton Academy where he was a member of the basketball team, served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and later served as the Saco police and fire commissioner for the City of Saco.


11
CMP, IBEW labor agreement, 1947

CMP, IBEW labor agreement, 1947

Item 74822 info
Maine Historical Society

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local B-333, and Central Maine Power Co. reached a labor agreement in 1947.

The CMP workers had been employees of Cumberland County Power & Light until the company became the southern division of CMP in 1942.


12
Grace Auber, Augusta, 1948

Grace Auber, Augusta, 1948

Item 74445 info
Maine Historical Society

Grace Auber (1893-1992) of Gardiner was honored in 1948 for 30 years of service in the payroll department at Central Maine Power's headquarters in Augusta.


13
John B. Vigue, 1949

John B. Vigue, 1949

Item 74752 info
Maine Historical Society

Jean Baptiste (John) Vigue, born 1890 in St. Georges, Quebec, joined CMP in 1909 when it was still known as Messalonskee Electric Company.

Vigue, left, is being honored for 40 years of service with CMP. Two of Vigue’s sons, Albert and Donald, also worked for CMP.

Vigue gained a reputation for speed and vigor as a lineman, and according to one estimate, helped build roughly 700 miles of transmission in his 43 years of service.

During the construction of transmission lines from Lewiston to Solon one winter, the linemen slept in eight-man tents pitched amidst four feet of snow. The nights were extremely cold and the men had only a portable woodstove to keep them warm.

Late one night, Vigue and his tent mates woke up to see the stars shining overhead – the top of their tent had caught a spark and smoldered down to the level of the snow.

From then on, linemen were put up in hotels in town.


14
Eugene Baker, Augusta, 1957

Eugene Baker, Augusta, 1957

Item 74443 info
Maine Historical Society

Eugene Henry Baker, who started working at Central Maine Power Co. on July 29, 1917, was honored for 40 years of service in 1957.

Baker (1890-1968) had worked as an electrician at a CMP store and later became the Substation Operator in Augusta.

He is shown at the substation.


15
Human-powered generator, ca. 1975

Human-powered generator, ca. 1975

Item 74440 info
Maine Historical Society

An unidentified employee of Central Maine Power Co. demonstrates an exercise bicycle outfitted with electric light bulbs.

As the man pedaled, the bicycle generated power to light the bulbs.


16
Rubber top hat, ca. 1910

Rubber top hat, ca. 1910

Item 74840 info
Maine Historical Society

This early lineman’s uniform hat is rubberized to protect against electric shock, but offers little protection from falling objects.


17
Electric shock first-aid poster, ca. 1910

Electric shock first-aid poster, ca. 1910

Item 74854 info
Maine Historical Society

Safety

The growth of the electrical industry in the United States coincided with an increased awareness of workplace safety as an economic and humanitarian concern.

By the 1880s electric companies understood that electrical current could kill people and cause fires.

Safety equipment and protective devices such as fuses and circuit breakers were introduced, and in 1894 the Underwriters Electric Bureau introduced safety standards and building codes.


18
Electrical first-aid kit, ca. 1914

Electrical first-aid kit, ca. 1914

Item 74852 info
Maine Historical Society

Several organizations lobbied for increased education, safer equipment, and more support of workers injured on the job.

This kit, developed for electrical workers in 1914, is contained in a glass bowl "because it permits a more sanitary outfit than could be obtained by the ordinary wooden or metal box usually employed for first aid kits."

The bowl also doubles as a washbasin.


19
Electrical first-aid booklet, 1915

Electrical first-aid booklet, 1915

Item 74853 info
Maine Historical Society

Private companies such as the United Gas Improvement Company of Philadelphia also participated, printing and distributing first-aid directions for workers and developing kits of medical equipment suitable for specific industrial needs such as electric shock or gas inhalation, all in an effort to make "Safety First" the cornerstone of American industrial practices.

The United Gas Improvement Co. produced this first-aid booklet.


20
Electrical worker tool belt, ca. 1920

Electrical worker tool belt, ca. 1920

Item 74841 info
Maine Historical Society

Heavy leather tool belts like this one were used by electrical linemen working overhead on utility poles.

The large rings were used to attach climbing and safety straps.


21
CMP First Aid Team, Rockland, 1929

CMP First Aid Team, Rockland, 1929

Item 74441 info
Maine Historical Society

Members of the Central Maine Power Co. Eastern Division First Aid Team from Rockland, dressed in white with bowties, are, from left, Carl Stevens, captain; Lloyd Jameson, Leon Fickett, Gordon Taitt, and Eugene Tripp.

The team members were linemen.

The company stressed safety for its employees and trained those dealing with the power supply in electric-related first aid.


22
Electrical 'danger' sign, ca. 1930

Electrical 'danger' sign, ca. 1930

Item 74851 info
Maine Historical Society

This "Danger of Death, Keep Off" sign is part of the emphasis on safety.

Organizations such as the National Safety Council, the National Associated Safety Organizations, or the American Society of Safety Engineers lobbied for increased education, safer equipment, and more support of workers injured on the job.


23
Electrical worker pouch, ca. 1930

Electrical worker pouch, ca. 1930

Item 74509 info
Maine Historical Society

Roland S. Rand, Central Maine Power Co.'s district manager for the Lewiston-Auburn region in the 1950s, carried this pouch, which contained a pair of leather gloves and a pair of rubber gloves.

All were part of a lineman's safety equipment.


24
Rubber electrical worker gloves, ca. 1935

Rubber electrical worker gloves, ca. 1935

Item 74508 info
Maine Historical Society

Rand used these rubber gloves that have a CMP logo on them.

Rand carried the gloves, along with a pair of leather ones, in a canvas pouch with his name on it.


25
Electrical worker leather gloves, ca. 1930

Electrical worker leather gloves, ca. 1930

Item 74513 info
Maine Historical Society

Rand also carried these leather gloves in the canvas bag with his name on it.


26
Hard hat, ca. 1953

Hard hat, ca. 1953

Item 74839 info
Maine Historical Society

The industrial hard hat was developed in the 1920s. Early models were made of steel or aluminum and patterned after the "doughboy" helmets worn by soldiers in World War I.

Non-conductive fiberglass and plastic eventually replaced metal as the preferred material, especially for use around electrical lines.


27
Electrical worker climbing irons, ca. 1954

Electrical worker climbing irons, ca. 1954

Item 74838 info
Maine Historical Society

William Bashlin of Grove City, Pennsylvania, started the W.M. Bashlin Company in his garage in 1926 to develop equipment for electrical linemen that was comfortable as well as safe.

These climbing irons, or gaffs, are padded and adjustable to fit snugly on the legs of linemen of all sizes.


28
'Spring' CMP safety poster, ca. 1980

'Spring' CMP safety poster, ca. 1980

Item 74855 info
Maine Historical Society

A safety poster from Central Maine Power Co. announces, "Surprise! It's Spring!" and gives tips for safety around power lines.


This slideshow contains 28 items