Interview with William H. Buchanan, 1974 July 25 [audio]

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  • Generating electricity for the powder yards; Story about an exploding safety valve; Snakes on the Brandywine
    Partial Transcript: "Generators... there were three of them..."
    Synopsis: [There is a lot of background noise that makes it difficult to understand Buchanan. The audio seems to begin mid-interview.] Buchanan talks about his fathers job as an electrician tending to the generators at the powder yards. He describes the electrical equipment and power distribution at Hagley. He talks about the time he thought the boiler was going to explode, but it was just a bad safety valve. He confirms that there was a Corliss steam engine at Hagley. He says that there used to be a lot of snakes in the area. He says that copperheads used to live in the area near the carpenter shop and talks about when a person he knew was bit by one.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Corliss steam engines; Electircity; Electricians; Generators; Snakes
  • Looking at a 1910 image of the power house at Hagley Yard; Steam engine at Hagley; Local electrical grid
    Partial Transcript: "There were three generators..."
    Synopsis: Buchanan examines a 1910 image of Hagley's power house. He offers his thoughts about the layout of the building as well as the turbines and generators present in the building. The interviewer and Buchanan try to address a discrepancy with the image. They believe that there were three turbines and three generators, while the image shows three turbines and two generators. Buchanan talks about the steam engine in the power plant and explains when they would use it. He talks about the interior of the power plant and the network of power lines that extended from the Hagley area to du Pont family homes as far away as Winterthur. He says that it was his job to read meters, and that the company gave him a motorcycle to do his job. He says that the horses were afraid of his motorcycle. He continues to talks about the generators in the power plant.
    Keywords: Electricity; Generators; Hagley Yard; Horses; Motorcycles; Powerlines; Turbines
  • Keeping the millraces and pipes clean; Local area; Seeing Alfred I. du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "...This race is dirty..."
    Synopsis: [Background noise makes it difficult to understand Buchanan.] He talks about keeping the millraces and pipes to the turbines free of debris. He talks about the placement of some waterwheels that no longer exist. Buchanan and the interviewer walk around the site, and are often hard to understand. He says that they ran the generators when the water level was low. He talks about the local area and about building a garage on Breck's Lane. Buchanan talks about meeting Alfred I. du Pont as a child. He continues to talks about the power plant, but his narration is hard to follow.
    Keywords: Chicken Alley; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Free Park (Del.: Village); Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Millraces; Pipes; Turbines; Water