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By 1881, the power company had built a small generating station and began providing a small amount of electricity to light the village of Niagara Falls and to provide power to several of the mills. It operated a flour mill for two years before the company went bankrupt and all its assets were sold at public auction.On September 4, 1882, the first coal fed commercial power station, located on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, went into operation providing light and electricity power to customers in a one square mile area; the electric age had begun.Joncairs did not invent the waterwheel, however before he arrived, the power of Niagara was being used for nothing more than washing.In 1805, Augustus & Peter Porter of Buffalo, New York came to Niagara Falls. The Porter brothers purchased the American Falls from the State of New York at a public auction.
When Schoellkopf had taken control of the hydraulic canal, power was transmitted by a combination of belts and drive shafts.He was the youngest of seven daughters and three sons.Early in his career, Joseph Schoellkopf came to Buffalo, New York with 0 and started a tannery business.With this purchase, they acquired the water rights to the eastern rapids above and below the falls as well.The Porter's built a water powered gristmill and tannery along Joncairs' old ditch.