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Duquesne Light Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Duquesne Light Company

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Duquesne Light Company was formed in 1912 by the consolidation and merger of three constituent companies, the oldest of which was organized in 1890. Duquesne Light was a leader in providing electric energy to a variety of customers in southwestern Pennsylvania. The company's principal offices were located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The company's business was the production, purchase, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy. The company served Pittsburgh and surrounding municipalities in Allegheny and Beaver Counties, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh district was a highly industrialized area particularly noted for its output of steel, pig iron, coal, and coke. Among many other important industries located in the area were glass factories, food products plants, ferrous and nonferrous metal foundries, oil refineries, steel fabricating plants, and a number of plants manufacturing railroad equipment, electrical machinery and equipment, plumbing accessories, chemicals, automobile parts, canning and packaging containers, rolling mill containers, and plastics.

From 1886 to 1896 many competing electric companies formed in the Pittsburgh area. The two biggest competitors were Allegheny County Light Company and East End Electric Company. Allegheny County Light ultimately absorbed its chief competitors as well as smaller lighting companies throughout the district. In 1897 the Philadelphia Company was formed into a holding company to consolidate the Pittsburgh area's energy and transportation interests, including electric, natural gas, and street railway companies. In 1898 the Philadelphia Company acquired Allegheny County Light Company.

In 1903 investors formed Duquesne Light Company to compete for business. Duquesne consolidated other small electric companies in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. In 1912 Duquesne became a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Company. Duquesne Light unified the region's power and light industry, and in 1914 the company's first industrial rate was established.

In 1917, anticipating a coal shortage in WWI, Duquesne acquired Harwick Coal and Coke Company as well as its own riverboat. In 1954 the Atomic Energy Commission awarded Duquesne Light Company the contract to construct and operate the nation's first central station nuclear power plant.

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