Total Pageviews

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The argument for reintroducing an 1890's invention to deliver 21st century power

Air plant Cobalt Ontario 1910

Charles H. Taylor 1859 - 1953 a man ahead of his time.
This information is devoted to the inventive genius of Mr. Charles Havelock Taylor, my great grandfather. The information contained in this historic account is taken from engineering journals, family photo albums and the personal memoirs of two families.

1895 to 1914 From the Smallest Observation Came a Great Invention

In 1895 while building a dam in Buckingham Quebec Taylor noticed that air bubbles that were trapped in the water as it flowed over the spillway were carried under the ice and formed ice domes. When he broke one of the domes with a pipe he realized that the air was pressurized. Insignificant as this may appear to some, Taylor's mind was quick to grasp the industrial possibilities of this phenomenon. He made a working model of a compressor in a warehouse in Montreal. Glass tubing was integrated int the model so that all could see the operation of the machine and as experiments progressed modifications could be made to enhance efficiency.

Charles courted prominent businessmen from the period and, after a demonstration of the models ability to generate compressed air, he was able to build the first of his Air Plants with monies obtained from the investors and the Taylor Air Compressor Company was started.

The first plant to be built was at Magog Quebec for the Dominion Cottom Mills (later to become dominion Textile). It was a 155 horsepower compressor delivering air at 52 lbs. per sq. inch. It was 60% efficient and was still in operation in 1953. It was not untill the mid 1970's that an engineer from the US advised Dominion Textile to upgrade their weaving equipment rendering the compressor obsolete.

Then in 1898, at Ainsworth B.C., he organized the Kootney Air Supply Company and built a 600 H.P. compressor supplying air at 100 p.s.i. this required the construction of a 1354 foot closed wooden flume to develope enough water pressure. It was intended to supply the Kaslo Mining Co., a new copper mine.

The Great Northern Railroad did not build its promised spur line to the mine and so the compressor closed down. Taylor paid the $60,000 dolar construction costs to the financial backers out of his own pocket. This was a severe setback to his plans.

An order from the Dominion Government for a 45 H.P. compressor for the Peterborough Lift lock on the Severn Trent waterway in 1899 helped the company out.

These were the glory years for Charles Taylor not only was he given the honour of building a plant for the great Peterborough Lift Lock but news of his inventive genius had reached Europe.

Charles made many business trips to Europe in the late nineteenth century, and belonged to many of the best social clubs in London and Paris. He saw the Worlds Fair in 1897 at Paris France and was much impressed with the Eiffel Tower and the Hall of Mirrors.

He bought one of Toronto's first cars, a 1911 Ford, at a time when driving was an adventure. A time when gasoline was obtained only in the city center and roads were limited.

In 1901 a Fourth compressor was built in the State of Washington. Then in 1906, a general purpose compressor was constructed in Norwich Connecticut. That same year Taylor was commissioned to build a 550 Horsepower compressor for the Victoria Copper Mine in Rockland Michigan which delivered air at 117 p.s.i. Other plants were built in Tarica, Peru and in Germany.

The largest and most ambitious Air Plant was the Ragged Chutes plant at Cobalt Ontario. Taylor visited Cobalt in 1905 and determined that the conditions and the mining industry were ideally suited to his invention. Work on the plant was completed in 1910.

To finance his company he invited many prominent New York bankers to Cobalt and treated them to a fabulous hunting and fishing expedition that included a huge barbeque of choice moose steaks. Needless to say they were duly impressed with his ability as a host and engineer that he was able to secure their financial backing.

For more information go to

Today's news 

Hydraulic air compressor project has green light

Comments and supporting information

Letters to the editor 

Tidal energy idea not new
June 2 - To the Editor:

The Portsmouth Herald’s May 27 front-page article about capturing the tidal energy of the Piscataqua River by subsurface turbines reminded me of a unique scheme for producing power from the Great Bay tidal basin that was explored by a Hampton native Lawrence B. Hoyt in his 1913 MIT undergraduate thesis.

In it, he examines converting the potential tidal energy of Great Bay, which he estimates to be about 50,000 gross horsepower, into useful power by means of Taylor Hydraulic Air Compressors, modified to operate efficiently at low head and in reversible tidal flows. The energy they produce is in the form of high-pressure compressed air, which is then used for a variety of power needs.

William L. Thoen
Ipswich, Mass.

Excerpt from patent # 4797563

Document Type and Number:
United States Patent 4797563
Link to this page:
Electrical power is generated by means of an hydraulic air compressor that produces compressed air from a water stream. The compressed air is delivered directly to burners of a turbine without significant additional compression and after preheating using waste heat from the turbine exhaust. The turbine is used to drive a conventional electrical generator for producing power.
Richardson, Timothy M.
Application Number:
Filing Date:
Publication Date:

States in Part


It has previously been proposed to use energy derived from a stream of water to generate compressed air. Hydraulic air compressors have been in existence since approximately 1890 when they were used throughout North America and in Europe to provide compressed air for mining camps. These plants operated for several years and were proven to be highly reliable in supplying high pressure compressed air for mining and industrial applications. The last commercial operation is believed to have been located at Colbalt, Ontario, Canada and to have been finally closed in 1981.

Hydraulic air compressors of the type referred to are commonly known as "Taylor Hydraulic Air Compressors". Reference may be made to the following United Stated patents issued to Charles H. Taylor, namely Nos. 543,410, '411 and '412 all issued July 23, 1895 and entitled "Hydraulic Air Compressing Apparatus"; 618,243 issued Jan. 24, 1899 for "Hydraulic Air-Compressing Apparatus" and 892,772 issued July 7, 1908 for "Hydraulic Air Compressor".

An earlier patent of interest is U.S. Pat. No. 199,819 issued Jan. 29, 1878 to J. P. Frizell. This patent discloses a method of compressing air in which the air is introduced into a column of water descending through a shaft or pipe and is allowed to flow through a tunnel into and out of an ascending shaft or pipe.

Power plants having associated subterranean air storage reservoirs are disclosed by U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,643,426 (Janelid) issued Feb. 22, 1972; 3,797,234 (Schwartz) issued Mar. 19, 1974; 4,343,569 (Schwarzenbach) issued Aug. 10, 1982; and 4,391,552 (O'Hara) issued July 5, 1983.

Emails received this weekend

Mr. Charles Taylor is my hero, 

Firstly, for having his hydraulic air compressor working for the benefit of the mining industry that was in need of a lot of compressed air.

Secondly, for having this compressor for me in order to produce compressed air for my Air Bucket Turbine (My Patent;


Sadly, the Canadian Researches Counsel NRC/CNRC didn’t understand yet the benefit of Mr. Taylor’s’ compressor that can transform any hydraulic power of any waterway to compressed air power that can be used in my machine where the output energy of my system backed up by Mr. Taylor’s compressor, will produce much more energy than energy produced by using the hydraulic power in conventional water turbines.

As an example; in ragged chute the compressor was using 22.7 cubic meter of water in order to produce 40,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air at 8.625bars, while the average water flow of the Montreal River is about 67.5 cubic meter. 

Thus, if we build a Taylor’s type Hydraulic Air Compressor capable of containing the full average water flow of the Montréal River, the produced compressed airflow would be, around three times the produced 40,000cfm which is (40,000 x 3 = 120,000cfm).

Doing the calculations of the output power of an air bucket turbine using 40,000cfm at 8.625bars will produce around 6 megawatts of electrical power before energy lost deduction.

Thus, with 120,000cfm an output electrical energy will be around 18 megawatts before energy lost deduction.

Now, if we deduct whatever amount of lost energy, the positive output energy would be more than 12 megawatts. (A spreadsheet of calculation is available to anybody needing it; my e-mail is: 

The present output energy of the conventional turbines of the hydro electrical power station that is using the full water flow of the Montréal River is about 7 megawatts.

Here I ask the Government, why we don’t use Mr. Taylor’s Hydraulic Air Compressor to producing more energy out of our water ways in a time we are crying to find new sources of renewable energy. 

Another very important issue makes me proud of Mr. Taylor, that is;

The power of the Ragged Chute’s Hydraulic Air Compressor is about 5,500hp, and the produced airflow volume was 40,000cfm at 8.625bars or more. Thus every 1hp produces 7.27cfm at 8.625bars (40,000cfm / 5,500hp = 7.27cfm)

While every 1hp, produces 4cfm at 100psi or (6.7bars) in the most performing conventional compressor. .

Thus, how cam 1hp produces in Mr. Taylor’s compressor almost double airflow volume than in conventional compressors regardless of the difference of pressure.

My Biggest question to the scientific community; 

Where is the first and second low of thermodynamic, in Mr. Taylor’s Compressor and in the conventional compressors?

And because Mr. Taylor’s compressor is a reality, than, I thing the books of physics have to be updated in order to give Mr. Taylor his due in science. 

Inventor; Afif Abou-Raphael 

No comments:

Post a Comment