electrically operated harness

Brockton's historic Station 1, which is still in operation on Pleasant Street in downtown Brockton, was built in 1884. There are numerous interesting stories relating to how Edison was involved in its electrification. For example, in response to an "off-hand suggestion" made by Fire Chief Hautaway, Edison not only personally wired the building to feature the convenience of incandescent lighting, but to lessen the crew's critical "getaway time" time to a fire, as well. Whenever an (electrically transmitted) alarm was received, Edison's newly invented light bulbs illuminated the entire building. Then - of equal significance and pride to the safety conscious leaders of the "wood-built" city - the horses were released by a sequence of electronic impulses that dropped lead weights onto the latches to their stalls. After being freed, each animal was expected to line up within the "tracers" in front of the apparatus it usually hauled. Next, the harnesses suspended above the horses (seen above) were lowered onto their backs by an electric motor and pulley system. As the gear was being manually fastened, the station's doors were flung open by an electrically triggered counter balance. Finally, in record time, the crews were off to answer the call - at least in theory. Unfortunately, the scheme was never given a fair trial because Edison's assistants lost their patience with the balky tendencies of some of the horses. Interestingly, Edison was never personally convinced that the problems associated with this fascinating component of his overall model for the electrification of Brockton could not have been overcome.

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