Nikola Tesla, almost as if he came from Central Casting, was at once a dashing genius and an eccentric scientist and engineer. Poly-phase alternating current and radio were among his contributions that turned the industrial world on its ear. He proved that by stepping up generated electricity to very high voltage, you could transmit it over power lines for long distances without the power losses of the low voltage DC current that Thomas Edison felt was the way to go. Westinghouse, using AC current, began making power grid systems in the early 1890’s and left Edison in the dust, till he changed his tune.
Engineer Ahmerian Decker came to California in 1891 and became involved in the electrical project. Decker and his partners, Cyrus G. Baldwin and Henry Harbison Sinclair, opened the San Antonio Light and Power Company in 1892 using Westinghouse technology to transmit power over the 14 miles to Pomona. Though transformers and AC motors of the era were crude and not very efficient, the system worked and became California's first long distance power transmission.
So by the 1890’s, this was another major step in the foundation of things needed to allow the development of Southern California, along with oil, rail, harbor, and the biggie yet to come…water.
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